Former cabinet minister Moyo wants to replace Mugabe next year

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Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe gestures during his 93rd birthday celebrations in Harare, Zimbabwe, February 21, 2017.

HARARE ? A former Zimbabwe cabinet minister announced that he would be running for president in next year’s elections.

Nkosana Moyo, who served as Industry and International Trade minister at the turn of the millennium, told journalists at a press conference in the capital Harare on Thursday, that he had heeded calls by Zimbabweans to run for the presidency.

“I must heed the call to run for President of Zimbabwe, a call from diverse Zimbabweans,” said Moyo, who would be the leader of his party, the Alliance for the People’s Agenda.

Moyo said President Robert Mugabe had run his leg of the relay and it was time to imagine “a different way of being for our country and set about creating it”, at the same time dismissing sanctions as being the reason for the destruction of Zimbabwe’s economy.

“We are what we are because of what has been done to our people by our own system,” he said.

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The former minister said he hoped to capture an electorate “disillusioned with current parties” and to mobilise support from those who had given up on voting.

“When you look at the data on voter turnout, you will realise that Zimbabweans who vote are less than those who are not persuaded, that is worth their while... if the options remain the same, the majority of Zimbabweans who have found these options unattractive in the past will stay away as before,” he said.

Moyo denied ever being a member of the ruling Zanu-PF party, saying even though he had served as a cabinet minister, he had remained independent.

“I have never been a part of Zanu-PF and so let it be clear, I’m not a Zanu-PF project. I left government because they were doing things wrong,” he said.

An economist, Moyo cast doubt about going into coalitions, saying they might not work.

“If I take a litre of petrol and a litre of water, I may end up with something that is unusable.”

Moyo surprised all when he deserted his post in May 2001 after serving in Mugabe’s cabinet for only 10 months, after which he resigned by fax from South Africa, where he had retreated.