Mugabe hints on successor

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe may not contest the next election, saying he might appoint a successor just before the 2018 presidential election.

Mugabe told Ghanaian-born British film-maker Roy Agyemang in a BBC documentary aired over the weekend dubbed “Robert Mugabe @ 90”, that the people would have to decide his successor although he had not yet made that decision.

The 90-year-old’s decision not to contest in the election comes as a surprise to the 51-year-old ruling Zanu PF party that has won successive elections, albeit under controversial circumstances, since independence from British colonial rule in 1980.

“I have people in mind who would want to be,” Mugabe told the BBC.

“But I have looked at them. I have not come to any conclusion as to which one, really, should be. I leave it to the choice of people.”

However, his statement lacked clarity on what exactly he wanted to happen at the elective congress in December, that is expected to choose his successor. The next congress is due in 2019, a year after the presidential election, meaning he might have to call an extraordinary congress ahead of the election to choose a Zanu PF candidate for the election.

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

Piers Pigou, the International Crisis Group’s southern Africa project director,  said the only way Mugabe can deal with the succession question was to provide a clear roadmap.

He said if Mugabe passes on without making his views on either his preferred successor or Zanu PF succession procedures very clear, factionalism could certainly get worse.

He said Mugabe must first and foremost provide decisive and unambiguous leadership by not waiting until the December elective conference to deal with succession issues within the party.

“Kicking this can down the road to the end of the year has fed uncertainties and is contributing to the fights you refer to, not to mention broader inertia and policy paralysis,” Pigou said.

“He could make some very clear statements about what must be done, and he needs to be more consistent about sanctioning factionalism.”

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 generally unacceptable.

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.

According to analysts, it appears the Zanu PF party has cultivated a culture of dying in office, as has been the case with the country’s former vice presidents such as Joshua Nkomo, Simon Muzenda, Joseph Msika and John Nkomo.

Pedzisai Ruhanya, Zimbabwe Democracy Institute director, said it was clear that Mugabe wanted to leave the throne, considering his ill-health and advanced age.

“Judging by his frailties, Mugabe knows that he won’t contest the 2018 election,” Ruhanya said. “What he has done is to publicly tell the nation and Zanu PF supporters that his party will have a new presidential candidate in 2018.”

He said the curtain was finally coming down on Mugabe’s long political career.

Some analysts claim that by refusing to outrightly announce a successor, Mugabe was displaying a penchant for playing one faction against the other, and that he is allowing this to continue and in so doing, he retains his relevance and leverage.

Maxwell Saungweme, a political analyst, said Mugabe was finding it hard “to pick a possible heir from a pool of power-hungry and scheming sharks.”

“He can’t trust anyone and he has sort of resigned to fate, he wants to die in power like (Hastings Kamuzu) Banda who died on November 25, 1997 after governing Malawi from 1963 to 1994, combining totalitarian political controls with conservative economic policies) or Mobutu (Sese Seko who died in exile in Morocco after he was overthrown in 1997 after looting $5bn over his 31-year rule),” Saungweme said.

He said Mugabe was setting a bad precedence, opening a platform for his cronies to fight for power in the event he dies in office.

“Thinking that he will be there and will contest the election in 2018 or appoint a successor is overstretching it,” Saungweme said. “Zimbabwe has to think beyond this man. Unfortunately, he risks leaving us in a chaotic situation when he departs and his friends fight over to the reins.

“It’s sad that in spite of all the high literacy levels in Zimbabwe, we allowed Mugabe over the past 34 years to privatise issues of running our country to the extent that he and him alone knows who he wants to succeed him.”


Comments (23)

The delay to this is bad for Zimbabwe not ZanuPF. There will be chaos after him. He must appoint a successor now and now not tomorrow but now. We don't want situations obtaining in other countries.

Maita Manyuka - 22 April 2014

We have heard these stories about Mr Mugabe hinting to retire since 1990. All the stories have proven to be false. Mr Mugabe will never retire. The man just loves power. It's called megalomania.

John Bhanzi - 22 April 2014

No wonder why we are in this mess it seems we never learn!!! Anything new said here!!! Gullibility at its best. But anyway carry on dreaming folks!!!

Chitsva chii ipapa? - 22 April 2014

When we were at the peak of excitement of independence,we were hypnotized that we still need another president to be forced down our throats.It all comes to pass pple.

Emmanuel Meya - 22 April 2014

Same old story. Just tell us about his next strategy to win the elections in 2018. Resignation does not exist in this man's vocabulary

Chikara - 22 April 2014

You sellouts, why should this able leader resign. 34 years of ruling is not a long time. The mess we are in is because of the British, Americans and their allies including the puppets we have in our midst like yourselves. Vatengesi, zvimbwasungata, maprivheya.

tk - 22 April 2014

Haiwawo vana@tk. Tibvirei apa mhani! Munoswera muchidya nhoko dzezvironda vanaGushungo vachiita ma-wedding e-US$5 million a-Bona. Kkkkkkkkk!

Km - 22 April 2014

Come what may,Mugabe won't retire. He'll die in office while Zimbabwe burns to ashes.Tirikurumwa nechekuchera vehama.Those who support him fear losing their ill-gotten wealth.Of course some pple are just idiots.That's the way it is.

Sekaurema - 23 April 2014

tk, zvinonzi 'mapuruvheya' kwete 'mapirivheya' Maborn free musangomhanye zvisina dhiri. dzikama mfana. Sandiwe wakazvitanga izvi.

dhemeti - 23 April 2014

Tsvangirai mudenga, muroverei pasi. Mugabe mudenga , muregei abhururuke

DHONATO - 23 April 2014

I am appealing to the zpf leadership to tell us where they are leading the nation to. Why are they afraid to tell the old man," Baba chizororai " so that the country marches forward. Zpf is full of cowards, now Grace is ruling the country, whilst the cowards cower back in fear.

sjambok - 23 April 2014

This Old man should go and rest. Zimbabwe at the moment is in a major crisis, its like we are at war. He should let those with strength and Zimbabwe at heart carry on and rebuild this nation.

Zuruvi - 23 April 2014

We still have to respect our Presdent even as we do our fathers in error or in doing good at our homes. And the Bible says 'pray for your leaders......'.

masinah - 24 April 2014

his wish is grace mugabe. mark my words.

see - 24 April 2014

The disgraceful old goat needs to just lie down and die, we will not mourn we will not be sad. On the contrary we will celebrate his passing as with no other before! The man that will succeed his worthless carcass has a much easier job than most in that he can reset the standards at a reasonably high level from the sewage pit they sit now... Roberts legacy!

sabi - 24 April 2014

mxm... Nonsense!!! Kuretire karume kapi???

bob - 24 April 2014

remember singing....Long live comrade Mugabe! and mairevesa kkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk

amai - 25 April 2014

This president of ours is a liar he will never resign until he dies in office. Zim we are sick and tired of this old grand father who is refusing to go and play with grand children. Zim belongs to us people not to one person and we are going to reclaim our country even if Robert wants to hold to it as if he was born leading that country. Robert must respects us and also when he retires he needs to pay for the muder of people in Mathebeleland, high corruption ZANU Pf levels, assassination of people who want democracy, rigging of elections, we can name all his sins. We are not going to allow him to go freely, Neve Never ever he will pay. He ran Zim like his own tuck shop and once was a bread basket of Africa is now dunghill. NEVER NEVER TO LET HIM GO JUST LIKE THAT ,HE WILL PAY

Anodikamwa - 25 April 2014

Mudhara ari right. Iye mudhara tisu takamusadza. Tisu karare tichasarudza successor wake. vanoda kusarudzwa vachaisa mazita avo isu tovhota. Pari zvino hapana chikonzero chekuita izvi nokuti hapana opposition. Attempting to choose a successor at the moment would be assisting MDC-T to resurrect. Saka no!

gatsi rusere - 29 April 2014

This president is worst than Zuma,because he knows Zims can't do nothing.I bet if he was an SA statesman, he would have been killed a long time ago...

El Gran - 29 April 2014

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