Zimbabwe: Mugabe wants loyalty as contenders fight for succession advantage

Standard/allAfrica

Harare — PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe will only anoint a successor in his Zanu PF party after elections, which the 88-year-old leader wants held this year hoping to win against all odds. Mugabe insisted last week he would not quit power until after all foreign-owned businesses have ceded majority ownership to blacks.

Sources in the party said Mugabe has instructed the two leading contenders in the race to succeed him, Vice-President Joice Mujuru and Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, to stop plotting against each other and instead concentrate on ensuring that the party becomes united ahead of elections.

The sources said this explained why Mujuru pledged before Mugabe two weeks ago that she would not run for presidency as long as he remained in power.

The same week, Mnangagwa also dismissed reports that he had entered a secret pact with Mugabe to take over the leadership of the country. The claim was also rebuffed by Zanu PF secretary for administration, Didymus Mutasa and party spokesperson, Rugare Gumbo, who said Mnangagwa was too junior in the party to be the top contender for the post.

“Mugabe has separately promised Mujuru and Mnangagwa that he will back them if he wins the election,” said a Zanu PF politburo source. “This is why you have seen the two faction leaders displaying loyalty to Mugabe, both claiming that they are not interested in occupying the highest office in the land, yet deep down they are itching to take over from him.”

Another source said Mugabe still believed he was the only one in the party with a realistic chance to beat Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai of MDC-T in elections.

He said Mugabe was eager to hold elections this year with or without a new constitution because he fears that if the polls were delayed, it would become almost impossible for him to campaign next year due to old age and deteriorating health.  Read more…

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