via Mugabe could rule until he is 100, says advisor – Telegraph by Peta Thornycroft 03 Dec 2013
Robert Mugabe, 89, could lead Zanu-PF in elections in 2018, his closest advisor says in rebuff to vice president Joice Mujuru’s hopes to succeed him
In a rebuff to vice president Joice Mujuru, 58, who just hours earlier won enough support in provincial elections to be declared Mr Mugabe’s likely successor if he retires or dies before the next elections, Zimbabweans were told Mr Mugabe, 89, may run for the presidency again in five years’ time.
Didymus Mutasa, presidential affairs minister, who sees Mr Mugabe on a daily basis, said people should control their “wild imaginations”.
Supporters of Mrs Mujuru won positions as chairmen of Zanu-PF in nine out of 10 provinces against justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa’s loyalists, indicating that she will be senior vice president at the party’s elective congress in a year’s time. If Mr Mugabe dies or retires ahead of the next elections she would inherit the presidency.
But Mr Mutasa said Mr Mugabe’s health was good, and that he would be eligible to fight another election in 2018 as the new national constitution limiting presidents to two terms was adopted six months ago, making his victory in the July elections his first term.
Mr Mutasa also said there were no “factions” in Zanu PF and blamed the media for misinterpreting the provincial polls.
“Does the press determine his strength? Is it the press that has taken him this far? If you read in the Bible, there are some people who went beyond 100 years but still ruled. Why can’t it be repeated?” he said.
Eldred Masunungure, senior political scientist at the University of Zimbabwe, said he doubted Mr Mugabe would retire.
“He will, like traditional chiefs, rule until he dies,” he said. “He will only leave State House after he has died.”
He said Mr Mutasa was “trying to subdue wild expectations” following Mrs Mujuru’s resounding victory.
“Mugabe is very good practicing pendulum type of politics, raising this one up, and as they reach the summit, he drops them down.
“So Mutasa was saying via the media to Mugabe, ’don’t worry, this is not against you. We will support you, if necessary, until you die.’”