'Mugabe won't go'

HARARE - Despite his advanced age and the mounting economic woes the country is grappling with, President Robert Mugabe is not leaving office yet, with his closest ally in Zanu PF Didymus Mutasa yesterday declaring that the 90-year-old veteran leader is here to stay.

Mutasa told the Daily News on Sunday in a brief interview yesterday that they wanted to entrench Mugabe’s grip on power such that they are considering coming up with laws that criminalise the discussion of Mugabe’s succession publicly and in the media.

He also warned journalists against publishing stories on Mugabe’s health saying the regime will deal ruthlessly with such scribes.

Mutasa told the Daily News on Sunday that journalists and people who fuel speculation on Mugabe’s health should be punished severely.

“Such news (discussing Mugabe’s succession) will lead us to arrest journalists, vanhu vanonyepa ngavabatwe vachiendeswa kumajeri, (People who lie must be jailed) working on the stories,” said Mutasa, whose party commands a two thirds majority in Parliament and can therefore pass such draconian legislations.

Critics say discussing Mugabe’s succession or his retirement — even though he is showing signs of strain — is now taboo not only in the ruling party but across the country because Zanu PF cannot fathom a future without him.

Mutasa, a close confidante of Mugabe, has in the past made it clear that people are wasting time eyeing the aged leader’s post saying the Zanu PF hierarchy and constitution explain that vice president Joice Mujuru will take over in the event of the president’s incapacitation.

He insists that for now Mugabe will not go anywhere and said no discussion around the veteran leader’s succession would be entertained at the party’s congress in December.

But commentators were quick to dismiss Mutasa yesterday. Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition chairperson Dhewa Mavhinga said Mutasa was living in the past.

“Zanu PF should stop threatening and intimidating journalists who have constitutionally-enshrined media freedoms. No amount of harassment or intimidation will make Zanu PF’s big problem of succession go away. Instead of deflecting attention, Zanu PF should be busy working hard towards an orderly resolution of the succession problem,” said Mavhinga, a critic of the ruling party.

Given his advanced age, it is not clear if Mugabe will still be around to choose a successor, but analysts warn that his failure to appoint one presents a very dangerous scenario for his party.

Mugabe’s repeated trips to Singapore for regular check-ups have only added fodder to the speculation that he would soon appoint a successor, but infighting in his party has made such a move contentious.

Mugabe says although he has names of the likely candidates to succeed him, it is only the masses that will make the ultimate selection.

Frontrunners to replace him are Mujuru and Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa who  have been manoeuvring to take control of party organs critical for ascendancy come the elective December congress.

Interestingly, the impending congress offers Zanu PF a chance to map the way forward in preparation for 2018, but the top brass is adamant that they are no vacancies, especially in the coveted presidium — presently occupied by Mugabe, Mujuru, party national chairperson Simon Khaya Moyo and Mutasa.

Senior Zanu PF officials have in the past weeks been secretly lobbying for leadership renewal at the upcoming congress, questioning the point of having an elective congress if the party was averse to change.

On the other hand, the opposition — although fractured — has been piling pressure on Mugabe to step down with Simba Makoni leader of Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn (MDK) last week saying the veteran leader should retire because he is trapped in the past.

Makoni, a former Zanu PF politburo member said whenever he meets Zanu PF officials, they would be discussing about change but are afraid to come out.

But Mugabe is taking no notice, and is plodding on, impervious to the distress calls from an economy that is teetering on the brink of collapse resulting in the crumbling of social services delivery such as health.

In his early years in power, Mugabe expanded public education and health services that were the envy of the continent and is celebrated by his ardent supporters as a champion of black empowerment, a liberation hero and a crusader against neo-liberalism.

His populist policies, particularly the land reform programme led to an economic meltdown that began in 2000 and continues unabated as his clueless government fails to provide answers.

Unemployment has soared to an estimated 85 percent.

Hundreds of long-established companies have closed down, often blaming Mugabe’s new black empowerment laws that compel companies to give black Zimbabweans 51 percent control.

Mugabe has blamed the economic slump on Western travel sanctions, imposed on him personally and his closest associates.

Comments (19)

If Mugabe loved this country and if he was a zimbabwean he would have gone long ago like the likes of Nunjoma John Kuffo the late and great Nelson Madiba nad many others who loved their countries. Now as people have rightly pointed out that this granny is a son of a Malawian migrant who married magumbo from chief Mugabe in masvingo does not care because this is not the country of his fathers . Anywhere we zimbabweans hate him the sooner god take him away the better for this country ,

Siamababa - 11 May 2014

Mutasa , just shut up, we the people of Zimbabwe are sick and tired of your VOMIT which you dish out daily. Let us be clear NO ONE is afraid of you, without Mugabe you are NOTHING , nothing ,nothing. That's why you have to hold on to him until the end , which by the way wont be long now, whether you like it or not. TAONA NA

ronaldos - 11 May 2014

What can Mutasa say having said himself Mugabe must go way back in 1993 in Gwanda and he was immediately suspended from the party. so he know very much that he is a marked man any statements that are not pro Mugabe by him will mean chased away from the party in other ways he is singing for his meal or else how can a sane person say a 90 year old is not retiring .

Diibulaanyika - 11 May 2014

Bob has no intention of going anywhere. Now and then he may make some misleading statements to the press but the guy just loves power too much. Didymus Mutasa is very right though what he says is politically incorrect. It's all in God's hands now.

Diddy Mutasa - 12 May 2014

300 rounds of ammunition may solve that problem.

Emperor - 12 May 2014

This is 2018 now. Nothing has changed. Only that their main actor kicked the bucket. Those tipped to take over died in car accidents and fires but someone worse took over. Nikuv decided to plough back into society and built a university offering 1 degree only ie Bachelor of Science in Elections Management. The opposition court case has been thrown out as usual. At least the opposition guys look much better fed than us suffering masses who have to survive on maputi and air pies. TODINI? SENZE NJANI? WHAT SHALL WE DO? Make your opinion known BUT DO IT SAFELY. Visit https://www.facebook.com/pages/Zimbabwe-Freedom-Force/1417023395232800?ref=hl. Don't forget to like the page.

Cry Freedom - 12 May 2014

It is because of die hard hardnut to crack ancient people like Mutasa that keep us as a country living in the past as if we are still in the Victorian ages. Wwhy can't he let Mugabe speak for himself? or at least through his spokesman. He know should Mugabe leave he would be finished, that is the problem we have with these career politicians, all they know is dirty politics and no other occupation. The sooner we get rid of such people the more we will advance and move forward.

Dr Know - 12 May 2014

300 is too much 2 will do the job

Antivirus - 12 May 2014

ZanuPF must be bold and let Mugabe take a rest, after all he has done for this country. Mugabe can remain as the party President and at the same time the party can choose someone else to run as the country's President. This will ensure that incumbent will have sufficient time to establish and popularise herself/himself with the electrorate. The party machinery can be deployed to do that between now and 2018. This will create confidance of continuity in the international community and investors of who will be at the hem of ZanuPF for the foreseeable future. President Mugabe deserves a well earned rest knowing that the country is in a reliable pair of hands while he watches and directs from the party. That way like the ANC, Frelimo and other liberation movements ZanuPF will remain in power for the foreseeable future. ZanuPF should in all fairness let the President enjoy the few years left in his life without too much pressure, he has done so much for this country with consistence and exemplary leadership even for Africa.

Kambiri - 12 May 2014

The country's leadership cannot be monopolised by people from one tribe. This is not tribalism, but it is reality. Just look at what is happening in South Sudan today. Infact, Basil Nyabadza, Mutasa's colleague, resigned as ZANUPF chairman in Manicaland giving the reason that Manicaland needed the chairmanship of the the party as the province has never held a senior position in the party since the death of Chitepo. It will be outright folly for ZANU PF to disregard these feelings. Salva Kir in South Sudan disregarded this when he fired his deputy - the result was a heavy price it death of Sudanese - mainly innocent civilians. Today, Salva Kir has swallowed his pride and agreed to have an inclusive government. Hence, Mutasa, and all ZANUPF please be prudent in your handling of succession. I tell you, the subconscious mind of senior ZANUPF members is quite different from what they consciously manifest in public. It requires only a fractions of a minute of a conducive environment for these subconscious feelings to be aroused and be activated. It can be too ghastly to contemplate as Salva Kir can testify. I hope Mutasa and the think alike will take heed of this advice.

Danai Pazvagozha - 12 May 2014

Mugabe is not a saint. He is going to die just like any human-being.

Joyce Mujuru - 12 May 2014

i support president mugabe and zanu pf

Tendai Biti - 12 May 2014

mutasa is an idiot and half who thinks with his bottom.the fool has always survived on the back of others.he has no spine and by talking rubbish he thinks he is hurting zimbos. he doesn't know that he is making more enemies than friends.wait until achimwene departs then he will sing a good song.kaka jaidzwa satan

mutasa - 12 May 2014

@Tendai Biti. While I do not claim proprietary rights to the name Tendai Biti let me warn those who want to steal my identity for selfish ends that the long arm of the law will catch up with them one of these fine days. I have never and I will never support Robert Gabriel Mugabe. I detest everything that Mugabe and ZANU PF represent. I have risked my life and comfort to fight against the Zanufication of society. I regard ZANU PF just as another branch of Boko Haram!

Tendai Biti - 12 May 2014

Boko Haram might be even better because they fight the USA and help their own people wheras Zanu-Pf might be closer to Hitler or Stalin who killed its own people.

Emperor - 16 May 2014

Mutasa is trying to grab attention because he knows there's nothing else that his name can be discussed about except these foolish rhetoric. He's of no significance except that people will know him of having spent time waiting for diesel to gush from a rock.

Regalia - 17 May 2014

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