Discuss succession openly

HARARE - Our sister paper, the Daily News on Sunday, yesterday carried a story headlined, I am ready to take over — Mujuru in which respected vice-president Joice Mujuru spoke from her heart in an interview with the newspaper.

Due to the nature and complex matrix of Zanu PF politics, the story was bound to cause a furore from the party factions viciously fighting and plotting to replace their 89-year-old leader, President-elect — Robert Mugabe.

Yesterday, the Daily News was inundated with calls from both factions of Zanu PF with the camp said to be led by Emmerson Mnangagwa complaining that we were propping up the Mujuru camp.

Some sympathisers from the Mujuru faction also complained that the headline was too “sensational” and would anger Mugabe.

In the interview Mujuru said: “If the people ask me to lead them, I will definitely do so, but I will never impose myself to them because I know the consequences of doing so. If you blunder as a leader, you will regret as to why you imposed yourself on the people.”

Anyone in Zanu PF should be ambitious to take over from Mugabe and we are sure most of them, just like Mujuru are ready if given the chance.

We are aware that the interview will be abused, turned and twisted by rival factions in Zanu PF but the bottom line is that the succession issue must be openly discussed so that people will have time to choose the best candidate when Mugabe finally calls it quits.

Mugabe is human, he is old and let’s respect him for that but he will have to pass on the baton to younger leaders and there is really nothing wrong with discussions on succession. Mugabe himself encouraged people to openly discuss the succession issue a few years ago and we totally agree with him.

As founder of the regime, Mugabe has maintained unassailable authority within the Zanu PF leadership.
At moments when the Zanu PF leadership has been dominated by cowards seeking power, we applaud Mujuru for putting her cards on the table.

That is real leadership, not being lily-livered. She says she is ready when chosen by the people, she never said she wanted to remove Mugabe now but says when the time comes she will be ready.

The process of succession after Mugabe’s departure will create an opportunity for greater political debate, at least within the party leadership, and a potential for that debate to spill over beyond the elite.

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