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President Robert Mugabe's wife today urged her 93-year-old husband to name his chosen successor, fuelling renewed speculation about the race to take over from the world's oldest national leader.

Mugabe has always refused to publicly reveal his favoured heir, but 52-year-old Grace Mugabe - who is seen by some as a potential candidate - called for an end to the uncertainty.

"President, don't be afraid. Tell us who is your choice, which horse we should back," she told a
meeting of the women's league of the ruling ZANU-PF party.

"If you tell us the horse to back, we will rise in our numbers and openly support that horse. Why should our horse be concealed?" she said in a speech switching between English and local language Shona.

"I live with this elder. He has wisdom. He is not talkative but he knows what he wants," she said, adding "Mark my words, his word will be final."

Mugabe appears to be in increasingly fragile health, but has said he will stand in elections next year that could see him remain in power until aged nearly 100.

He has ruled Zimbabwe since independence from British colonial rule in 1980.



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