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Zimbabwe's Mugabe Offers Feisty Response to ‘Successor’ Question

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe addresses his staff during a surprise birthday celebration event at State House in Harare, Feb. 22, 2016.

“Do you want me to punch you to the floor to realize I am still there?”

The speaker was not a boxer trash-talking before a fight. It was Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, who is 92 and known for pugnacious comments.

This one, to an interviewer from state TV, was in response to a question about retirement plans and who would succeed him.

“Why ‘successor’ when I am still there?” Mugabe said in the interview aired Thursday night. “Why do you want a successor?”

Mugabe, who has led Zimbabwe since the country was formed in 1980 from the ashes of white-ruled Rhodesia, says he has no plans to hand over power and ruled out grooming his politically ambitious wife, Grace, as his chosen successor.