I don't think I'll stand for re-election, says Mugabe

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The Independent Online

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe said in a TV interview broadcast today that he doesn't plan to stand for re-election, but added that he doesn't have a successor in mind.

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe said in a TV interview broadcast today that he doesn't plan to stand for re-election, but added that he doesn't have a successor in mind.

Mugabe also appeared to dismiss the need for talks with Zimbabwe's opposition movement, which disputes his victory in the March 2002 presidential vote. Opposition leaders and independent observers maintain Mugabe used intimidation and vote-rigging to win the poll and continue his 24 years of authoritarian rule.

"If there is business to negotiate about we will welcome negotiations," Mugabe told Sky News TV. "But if there is no business I don't see why we should talk about negotiations."

The opposition "are in parliament, they get their voices heard in parliament, their criticisms are made there and that's the normal way of running a democratic system."

Asked whether he planned to stand in the next presidential election, expected in 2008, Mugabe replied: "I don't think so, I also want to rest and do a bit of writing."

He said he did not have a successor in mind.

Mugabe heaped scorn on British Prime Minister Tony Blair, a strong critic of Zimbabwe's alleged human rights abuses.

"That man (Blair), I don't know how Britain came by him," Mugabe told Sky News. "You can see some of the mad things he has done and the world now is in turmoil."

The Zimbabwean leader also attacked Blair and U.S. President George W. Bush for going to war in Iraq.

"They knew they were wrong by deciding to attack Iraq, they deceived the world with lies, lies of mass deception, by telling them that there were weapons of mass destruction, and they thought the world was going to be cheated for all time," Mugabe said. "And there you are now, the chickens have come back to roost."

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