NEWS

Malema To Mugabe: Grandpa It's Enough

The EFF leader was once an ardent defender of the dictator from up north but has taken to calling him out.

23/01/2017 13:16 SAST | Updated 23/01/2017 20:29 SAST

Watch the video above: Malema: We Cannot Imagine South Africa Without White People

Julius Malema has called for the President of Zimbabwe Robert Mugabe to step down, and for Zimbabweans to stop allowing the 92 year-old leader to "overstay his welcome".

Malema has praised Mugabe in the past and been a firm supporter but has begun distancing himself from the dictator recently, denouncing Mugabe's 36 year rule. He continued this sentiment on Monday.

"Those who are leading that struggle, they overstay and destroy that legitimate programme," he said, referencing Zimbabwe's largely failed land reform programme.

The issue of Zimbabwe arose during a press conference on Monday, called by the Economic Freedom Fighters to announce its plans for the year.

"We cannot have all Zimbabweans being cowards," said Malema. "President Mugabe has reached a stage where he can't do anything to you. He's finished."

He added that Mugabe should "celebrate" that he was not a South African president as he would have been removed a long time ago.

The nonagenarian Mugabe has been president of Zimbabwe since 1987, and was prime minister before that since 1980. There has been violence and irregularities at elections that have seen him returned to power.

Malema has in the past been a supporter of Mugabe and his own party proposed a land reform programme that would see all land revert to the state and be leased to users.

"We say this out of love, not because we hate him. We celebrate Mugabe, we celebrate what he has done. But grandpa it's enough," he said to laughs from assembled journalists. "You must let go and let others continue with that legacy."

He urged younger members of Mugabe's party, Zanu-PF to stand up -- disregarding the opposition MDC in Zimbabwe as "imperialist puppets" in place to undermine the country's land programme.

"We are not seeking anything to reverse the land question in Zimbabwe. There are many other young radicals in Zanu-PF, young who can continue the legacy. They must be brave enough to say to Mugabe: Resign.

"So why do you want to continue with such leadership? You are making mockery of a genuine African leadership by allowing President Mugabe to overstay his welcome as president."