Robert Mugabe Compares Himself To Jesus Christ During 88th Birthday Interview
Robert Mugabe, leader of Zimbabwe, dismissed persistent rumours that he is dying of cancer by comparing himself to Jesus Christ during an interview on state radio, reports the BBC.
Scoffing at suggestions he was suffering from ill health, he joked:
"I have died many times - that's where I have beaten Christ. Christ died once and resurrected once."
Speaking to state-owned radio station Radio Zimbabwe on his 88th birthday, he said he was as “fit as a fiddle.”
The Roman Catholic president was referring in part to reports that surfaced after a Wikileaks cable from 2008, released last year, that claimed that the Zimbabwean leader was suffering from prostate cancer and had less than five years to live.
Hoping to hold re-elections before 2013, there are rumours that Mugabe's ailing health is forcing Africa's oldest leader to rush the voting through.
However Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, with whom Mugabe jointly rules, after the violent and tempestuous elections of 2008, has demanded that a new constitution be in place first.
During his 32 years as the head of the African state Mugabe has been condemned for massive human rights abuses, making any comparisons between himself and the Christian Messiah even more controversial.
However Mugabe shows no signs of giving up his grip of power. In another interview, Mugabe even offered some health advice to those watching, having lived as twice as long as the average Zimbabwean.
"There are things one must do for oneself. Don't drink at all, don't smoke, you must exercise and eat vegetables and fruit,'' he said during the interview on state television.
"At this age, I can still go some distance, can't I?" he added, reported AP news agency.