Mr Mugabe, who will celebrate his 93rd birthday next month, is due to run for office again

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Mugabe has been leader since 1980

Zimbabwe’s ruling Zanu-PF party has accused South Africa’s firebrand opposition politician Julius Malema of being “hired to talk on behalf of Western powers pushing for regime change”  in the southern African nation, the state-run Herald newspaper reports.

The attack on Mr Malema – once a staunch ally of Zanu-PF – came after he called President Robert Mugabe, 92, a “grandpa” who should retire.

The newspaper quoted Zanu-PF national secretary for adminstration Ignatius Chombo as saying:

“The statement he made exposed the degree of stupidity in him.

“The statement by Malema was very unfortunate – unfortunate in that he was trying to talk negatuive about a man whose superlatives are too many to mention.

“He is now being hired to talk on behalf of the Western powers pushing for regime change agenda.
South African opposition radical party Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema addresses the supporters attending the official local election manifesto launch at Soweto's Orlando Stadium in Johannesburg on April 30, 2016.Mr Mugabe, who will celebrate his 93rd birthday next month, is due to run for office again.

Mr Malema has campaigned strongly for land reform in South Africa, and has previously praised Mr Mugabe’s for seizing white-owened farms.

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