‘Mugabe eyes life presidency’

February 20, 2012 at 9:52 am Leave a comment

By MOSES MATENGA
President Robert Mugabe’s insistence that he will not step down because he has not found a successor is clear indication he wants a life presidency, analysts said on Sunday.
On the eve of his 88th birthday, Mugabe told State media grooming a successor would “cause much more divisions within the party”.

The veteran ruler has been in power since independence in 1980 and at the helm of Zanu PF from the ’70s.

At one point, Zanu PF set up committees to discuss his succession, but the project was quietly abandoned without making much headway.

Mugabe has made his intentions clear he wants to be the party’s candidate in the next elections despite reports of failing health.

A clause in the draft constitution proposing to bar candidates above 70 years in the next polls has not deterred him either.

Mugabe said those seeking to use age limits to bar him from contesting were afraid of losing the elections.

But political analyst Charles Mangongera said Mugabe’s remarks were a clear demonstration that he was now out of touch with reality.

“It shows how moribund and out of touch President Mugabe and Zanu PF have become,” he said.

“For someone at 88 to claim he is the best candidate to lead any organisation, it shows he wants to die in office.

“This thing of no one being able to lead is a carefully thought-out strategy to remain in office until he dies and we know what his fears are.

“It spells doom for the future of Zanu PF. I have said it before that his legacy will be tainted by the fact that he will be a national leader who presided over the demise of his party.”

Zanu PF is reportedly divided along factional lines with the most powerful of them being the ones led by Vice-President Joice Mujuru and party secretary for legal affairs and Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa.

However, Mangongera said those fighting for positions were looking at a post-Mugabe era.

“They have always been alive to the fact that as long as President Mugabe is still alive, their chances are next to zero,” he said.

“All the factions in Zanu PF are waiting for a post-Mugabe scenario,” he said.

National Constitutional Assembly chairman and law lecturer Lovemore Madhuku said Mugabe’s views on succession were “primitive”.

“Who is he to say that no one is capable of taking over? It’s not for him to judge,” Madhuku said.

“He should give way to someone and he must know that leaders come from elections and are not appointed. It’s a primitive idea.”

Mugabe is insisting that elections must be held this year because the inclusive government has become dysfunctional.

He has rejected protests by other parties that the environment is not conducive for a fresh election and that the polls could derail the economic recovery.

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