'End this Mugabe abuse'

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe’s ongoing endorsement to be the post-congress Zanu PF’s presidential candidate in the eagerly-anticipated 2018 national elections is immoral and abusive of the nonagenarian, as he will not be fit to run for office then, analysts and opposition figures say.

Mugabe, who will turn 92 next February, is the only leader that Zimbabweans have known since the country got its independence from Britain in April 1980. He is also already the world’s oldest leader.

MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu said yesterday that Zanu PF was clearly abusing the increasingly-frail nonagenarian.

“Aging is an irreversible process and already at the age of 91, he is exhibiting clear signs of infirmity, tiredness and forgetfulness. It is scandalous to have him continue in office as Head of State when he is in that shape.

“In 2018, he will be 94 years old and it will be tantamount to a gross abuse of the rights of elderly persons should Zanu PF persist that he runs again for presidential office,” Gutu said.

Mugabe, who has visibly slowed down over the past few years, was involved in an embarrassing fall early this year at the Harare International Airport while returning from Ethiopia where he had just been installed as the new chairperson of the African Union.

He again stumbled in front of world cameras while attending the India-Africa Forum Summit in New Delhi, India late last month.
Gutu said that Mugabe’s endorsement by the ruling party suggested that his supporters deified him.

“As far as all the various factions within Zanu PF are concerned, Mugabe is a demi-god who should lead their party until donkeys grow horns. Mugabe’s word is
a command and no one in Zanu PF has got the guts or temerity to openly challenge him for the leadership of that party.

“The endorsement that Robert Mugabe is their presidential candidate for 2018 will be replicated by all provinces. Zanu PF is a fully-fledged one-man dictatorship and this is precisely how a dictatorship operates,” Gutu added.

Political analyst Dewa Mavhinga said it was clear that Mugabe was no longer fit for public office.

“Today, at his age, Mugabe should not be holding public office. But that did not stop Zanu PF from presenting him as candidate for presidential elections in 2013 because the party is built around him.

“As long as he is alive, Zanu PF will continue to say Mugabe is our best foot forward, no matter how many times he stumbles and falls.

“In the meantime, they will still look to him to name a successor who now increasingly looks like it will be his wife and not Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa,” Mavhinga said.

He added that Mugabe had personalised Zanu PF to the extent that there was “nothing new about his candidature in the 2018 election”.

“What all this also shows is that the Zanu PF institution is personified by president Mugabe himself and that he probably intends to die in office.

“What the provinces are doing is to snub Mnangagwa and other contenders who want to succeed Mugabe. This move also paves the way for the establishment of a family dynasty, or if that fails, it means Mugabe will take his party with him when he goes,” he said.

Another political analyst, Shakespeare Hamauswa, said Mugabe’s endorsement was proof that party members were simply jostling for the top post yet there was no clear-cut way of resolving the succession issue.

He adds that the endorsements were also a sign that there were other people who were benefitting from his continued stay in power.

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