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Mugabe Rejects Reports of his Retirement


Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has rejected reports that he might retire. The Zimbabwean leader says he will serve out his full term in office, saying it would be "counterrevolutionary and foolhardy" for him to step down just a few months after winning a new term in office.

He was responding to news media reports that members of his ruling party, ZANU-PF, had been negotiating a so-called "exit plan" for him with the main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change.

Mr. Mugabe spoke to reporters in Lusaka, Zambia, where he was attending an award ceremony for former Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda.

The Zimbabwean president said there was "no truth" in the media reports, and he had never heard of the proposal before he read about it in the papers.

On Monday, both ZANU-PF and the opposition party denied that any such talks were taking place, although MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai did say he was approached last month by a former military officer who claimed to speak for two senior ZANU-PF politicians. He said he did not take the meeting very seriously.

Analysts were skeptical of the reports from the beginning. Some analysts believe there may well be behind the scenes negotiations about how to end Zimbabwe's political and economic crises. But they also say it is highly unlikely that Mr. Mugabe would agree to anything that makes him look weak.

Official talks between the ruling party and the opposition collapsed last year after Mr. Mugabe won a controversial presidential election. The opposition has challenged his victory in court, and the international community has largely condemned the poll as deeply flawed by violence and intimidation.

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