Zanu PF hawks eye Mugabe post

HARARE - With President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF hurtling towards a December congress expected to work out the party’s succession plan, reports in Zanu PF indicate that a few voices could be considering the possibility of pushing the 90-year-old leader to go.

Senior Zanu PF officials in the past weeks have secretly demanded change at the December congress, questioning the point of having an elective congress if the party was averse to change.

It is impossible to know how widespread the sentiments expressed  are among the party officials, but the flurry of calls for leadership renewal is almost unheard of and startling, given that criticism of Mugabe is strictly prohibited.

It underlines the challenge that Zanu PF’s rulers have themselves recognised that they must address the growing need to resolve the succession question, along with demands for transparency and reform.

At the same time, Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since 1980, is facing an equally critical question: How to pass the baton to the next generation.

The succession debate has been stifled and Mugabe’s rule has been relatively smooth for decades, but time is approaching when he must decide who will assume the throne next, potentially putting himself in a quandary at the December conclave.

Mugabe, in power for over three decades,  has not designated a successor.

Last weekend, administration secretary Didymus Mutasa took the unusual step of officially declaring at the Zanu PF Manicaland Women Inter-District Congress that elected leaders should die in office, branding all those keen to unseat presidium members “rebels.”

While Mutasa was not picking up his mobile phone yesterday, he told the Mutare meeting, where he was  accompanied by vice president Joice Mujuru that leadership renewal was out at the forthcoming congress.

“We should respect the elected leadership until they say they want to retire,” Mutasa said. “But we have not seen those who have said they want to leave office. They are retired by God. That’s how things are done in Zanu PF.

“Kana pane vamwe vedu vane pfungwa dzekuti pacongress iri kuuya iyi vanoda kuva president ivo vanhu ivavo imhutsa (rebel).”

Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo declined to comment on the matter yesterday, referring questions back to Mutasa, who is said to be recuperating from ill-health.

“Mutasa is a senior member of the party and secretary for administration for that matter. If he, indeed, made those remarks I suggest you talk to him,” Gumbo told the Daily News.

Justice and Legal Affairs minister Mnangagwa, a 66-year-old guerrilla war veteran and Mugabe’s key ally and enforcer, is widely seen as a succession contender, along with Mujuru, 58, another liberation war veteran whose nom de guerre was Teurai Ropa and is leading the stakes to succeed the long-serving ruler.

Both have been members of Mugabe’s Cabinet since 1980, and played a major role in Zanu PF’s re-election machine, and are looking to strategically position themselves ahead of the  congress in that is supposed to decide a successor to Mugabe.

Zanu PF factions positioning themselves to succeed Mugabe are also panicking following recent suggestions that the 90-year-old could be grooming retired Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono to take over the reins when he finally retires.

That December congress is potentially divisive given the stakes. Analysts say there are many who could qualify for the throne, including those whose names have not been thrown in the succession hat.

The successor will inherit a country where half of the population of 13 million people is under the age of 25, in need of jobs, housing and education. Mineral-rich Zimbabwe is potentially wealthy, but there are deep disparities in wealth; and unemployment is growing among the young.

The ruling elite is showing that they are aware of the challenges, and has unveiled an economic blueprint ZimAsset, which proposes a cocktail of measures to revive the economy, including borrowing money from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, a group of large emerging market nations collectively known as BRICS, and setting up a sovereign wealth fund.

International Crisis Group’s southern Africa project director Piers Pigou, said  the party will be a different animal no matter what, when Mugabe moves on — one way or the other.

“His departure provides an opportunity for renewal and a shift from the cult of personality,” Pigou said.

“His absence is likely to weaken the brand though. At some point, though, this former liberation movement is going to have to re-brand itself if it is to remain relevant to majority of Zimbabweans. Otherwise it will eventually become an anachronism.

“This challenge is not unique to Zanu PF. It seems unlikely Zanu PF will be able to keep the legend of patriotic nationalism alive in a context where Zimbabweans continue to be impoverished and the realities of patronage and self-enrichment amongst the party and connected few continue to be exposed.”

Pigou said much depends on who takes over and the import they give or retain around this approach.

“Factionalism could certainly get worse if Mugabe passes on, without key issues being resolved and  or him making his views on either his preferred successor and or Zanu PF succession procedures very clear,” Pigou said.

“It is unlikely the party will disintegrate, although there are possibilities for major configurations and a shifting of certain elements of the old guard. To a certain extent, the influx of new blood or middle management into Zanu PF political representation provides some space for this."

"Much depends on whether a post-Mugabe dispensation encourages or suppresses the active exchange of ideas and new thinking or whether it will be a case of old wine in new bottles.”

Comments (17)

I told you that Mujuru is no good! Mutasa is a Killer by profession! These guys are damn destroyers than builders, only after their pockets and families chete! Mujuru Faction at prowl!!!

To Hell with Mujuru faction - 16 April 2014

Everything starts and ends with Robert Mugabe, if Mugabe is open to the idea of succession then I can Zimbabwe might finally have a chance to move on, but i doubt that very much because to Mugabe's narrow mind, power and breathing are one and the same thing to him. I can't imagine him letting go, i can't. Time for him to let go is now, because Zimbabwe is slipping backwards at an alarming rate.

taps - 16 April 2014

The truth is that there won't be any leadership change in ZANU PF unless and until Bob goes one way or the other. Who, in Zanu Pf, will dare challenge the big man? Answer: None. The top leaders are actually political midgets with no strong history in ZANU PF. What is Chinamasa's history? None. What of Goche, Mumbengegwi, Chombo, Gono etc? These fellows are nonentities who were attracted into ZANU PF for self-aggrandizement. Such people do not have their own opinions but would listen carefully in meetings to what the Strongman says and follow suit.

Janson Sokolove - 16 April 2014

Its just another old story with a different headline this time.You have told us these theories a number of times but nothing comes out of it.I wonder who could raise the issue of leadership change in Zanu Pf.As long as Mugabe is still able to walk and talk congesses will come and go and Mugabe will still be there.He has put so much fear in his members such that no one trusts the other.Kusungirira kiti bhero ...hakuna anobvuma.

chimuti - 16 April 2014

If Mugabe departs from the political scene before sorting out the succession issue, Zanu PF will be divided into two: those supporting one faction( Manicaland, Mash East, Mash Central, and Mash West) and others supporting the other faction(Middlands, Masvingo, Matabeleland). It is the faction leader who commands larger numbers who will succeed Mugabe. Numbers in Harare Will be shared. Assuming that Zunu Pf will select the successor though a referendum of some sort, the big question is who commands larger numbers? Food for thought!

Open eyes - 16 April 2014

Mugabe was clever enough to put into top leadership spineless mice with no nhoroondo. Over the years, he was carefully removing those with strong credentials such as Zvobgo, Tekere, Dabengwa, Rex Nhongo, Simba Makoni etc etc. Now he is surrounded with some dubious characters like Olivia Muchena, Josiah Hungwe and Chinamasa who were drinking tea with Rhodesians during the war of liberation. Such characters are naturally beholden to Mugabe. There won't be any leadership renewal until Bob dies. When he dies, the party will die with him as the mafia gangs within will start killing each other.

Timmy Bhonzo - 16 April 2014

Just imagine what mutasa said, that those in the party who think of leadership change are rebels. that in itself tells you mugabe will remain on the throne for as long as he can walk and talk even if he was in a wheel chair they will still not talk about passing on the batton. He has successfully instilled fear in most of them that even though deep inside their hearts of stone they might desire change, they just can't vocalize it. else

kt - 16 April 2014

I've always had a feeling that there was a third silent faction lacking in the shadows. Reports of Gono leading that faction could be true with the likes of Sekeramayi who we hardly ever hear of.

Dr Know - 16 April 2014

I am surprised people think Mnangagwa or Chiwenga will accept these Mai Mujuru or Gono fantasies. Has August 2011 been forgotten? Hapana nyaya apa. Ngwena will rule with Chiwenga, either Mohadi or Jonathan Moyo and Oppah. The people who support Ngwena in the Army,CIO and Police will only reveal themselves when it is time for "basa" kana chabvondoka. Who knew people like Muzariri,Kanengoni, etc in 2000 yet they supported Ngwena then and even after Tsholotsho in 2004 their support was never revealed but only after 2008 it became clear. Ngwena has many many supporters in the necessary structures and even today he knows exactly what he will do in December at Congress or even next year he already has a plan.

Wezhira Wezhara - 16 April 2014

Who shall guard the guards? Corruption yanyanya wduwe..... " ...corruption, corruption in societies...something for something, nothing for nothing", come back Thomas Mapfumo. Zim ranked #1 corrupting country in this world.

kunokwedu - 16 April 2014

Kana Mutasa namai Mujuru vakataura zvavaifunga nekutya, vamwe varikuwira chigaro ndivanani

Timothy Thorton - 16 April 2014

None of these factional zeros will take over anything! If its the security apparatus, that one can be retired one one. They will be scary in beerhalls only. A third force is silent but very powerful

Courage - 16 April 2014

Mai Mujuru havafi vatonga nyika naMutasa wavo ngavakangamwe mirai muone kana nguva yasvika baba Mnangagwa vachitora vushe .Kana Save vakakundikana kutonga aiwa tichafamba naNgwena .

MukarangawekuMberengwa - 16 April 2014

...& they say MDC is the falling apart. !! Kusekana Kwana Kamba,!!

Changamire Domdo - 17 April 2014

hatina basa nazvo izvo .save vachatonga nyika

obvious - 18 April 2014

Mugabe has already appointed in secret, Munangagwa as his successor. ZANU-PF Has long time ago crossed the line from being liberation party into a cult. The cult's god father is Robert Gabriel Mugabe. This is the reason why the organization condones none accountability and corruption. ZANU-PF was a successful liberation movement which failed to metamorphose into an administrative organization of our beloved country. ZANU-PF thrives on disorganization and poverty such as you see in Epworth and Siyaso- Magaba. They thrive on this disorganization. Make no mistake. They themselves are well organized to orchestrate poverty you seeing in this country today. The real leadership of ZANU-PF is consisted of extremely rich people. Can one of them give you a full accountability of their riches?

Mbareboy - 23 April 2014

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