Zanu PF succession: Mugabe now spectator, victim

via Zanu PF succession: Mugabe now spectator, victim August 19, 2014 by Rashweat Mukundu

Zimbabwe has known only one leader since independence and that is President Robert Mugabe. Now that the President has turned 90, slowed down and is on his way out one way or the other, it is also natural that his juniors are thinking of the future and in that, position themselves for a post-Mugabe era.


No matter how the Zanu PF leadership, especially Mugabe, may try to sit on top of this simmering debate and now turning into open clashes and public spats, his succession is the most topical political question and issue in Zimbabwe and, unfortunately, one that is not going away as he wishes.

Mugabe appears the only one oblivious to what is going on around him because he has allowed himself to be shut off from this reality, that one day State House will be occupied by someone else, be it Vice-President Joice Mujuru or Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa.

We need not waste our time on the First Lady, Grace Mugabe, whose political career will end with the departure of Mugabe and her fortunes are as limited in time as the ticking clock of her husband.

As Grace predicted herself, her political career will be dragged in the tarred road the day Mugabe leaves office and this will be done by both camps, those who support her and those who dislike.

In other words, we do not have any Grace supporters in Zanu PF. What we have are people who are using her only to dump her later while others are outrightly opposed to her.

As all this fire is burning around, Mugabe is in the dark, calling for peace and unity when the hour calls for competition, disunity and rivalry and the possibility of a break-up.

This is the natural course of politics which the President is missing and no one is going to listen to him.

His song is indeed one of a loner in the desert, his juniors have long moved past him, they do make intermittent turns to look at his shadow and pay homage to it, but even that will soon, and very soon, end.

The moment therefore calls for a new approach by the President, that of acknowledging that he is not going to be around forever and allow for open debate on his succession.
An open and robust debate on succession is what Zanu PF needs now, not calls for peace and unity.
There has never been peace and unity where political leadership contest is underway. Peace and unity will only come back to Zanu PF when a leader with a grip on the party for the next decade or so is elected and that is not Mugabe.
The only and the best thing that Mugabe can do for Zanu PF now is to manage the succession debate, allow the various factions to debate openly and canvass for support on the basis of a vision for both the party and Zimbabwe.
That way the fire engulfing Zanu PF now will be better managed and Zimbabwe will be safe as we are all set to be engulfed by the conflagration in Zanu PF.
The future of Zimbabwe and Zanu PF has long slipped off the hands of Mugabe. The President is not in a position to define the trajectory of Zanu PF from now going forward; rather he is becoming a victim and a spectator of events.
The President may try various machinations to still influence politics, but the bottom line remains that it is Mugabe who has to leave at some point. It also appears that Mugabe is not only losing his grip on Zanu PF, but may become of a victim of the events in the party.
If the spats among the various factions intensify, it could be that the President will also be soiled. A fight in the house cannot leave those inside untouched by some mud, or some projectile is bound to go in the wrong direction and hit an unintended target.
As stated earlier on, Mugabe can do Zimbabwe and Zanu PF a huge favour by defining the parameters of the succession debate, and encourage open debate that involves not only those in the party, but all interested citizens, since Zanu PF, is, after all, the party in power.
All citizens have an interest in who will take over from Mugabe, more so ensuring that the debate on succession is anchored on a vision for Zimbabwe, not self-serving political interests as we see now.
What value does Oppah Muchinguri’s “Pasi nevanopisira varume mudzimba” add to Zimbabwe?
This is an example of the nonsense Mugabe must stop. Mugabe can do Zimbabwe a huge favour by beginning the process of facilitating a smooth handover of power to whom`soever Zanu PF chooses so that the peace we enjoy now can be sustained.
The legacy that Mugabe can leave for Zanu PF is that of smooth power transition as well as the election of a Zanu PF leadership that has the best interests of the people of Zimbabwe at heart.
The unfortunate message that Mugabe is sending with the elevation of his wife to lead the Women’s League is that he narrowly focused on the welfare and interests of his family and inner circle rather than the rest.
In other words, by allowing rivals to tear each other up, Mugabe is losing the moral ground to leader Zanu PF and also failing as a leader in protecting the interests of all in the party and ultimately the whole country.
The President must awaken to his national responsibility of leading the country and leading also includes planning your exit.
Pretending that being re-elected as First Secretary at the December congress is the end of the matter is merely fooling oneself.
This may work to quieten the unwanted for a few months, but may make the debate even more dangerous if it is pushed underground.
So instead of calling for unity and silence, Mugabe must rather call for orderly noise on his succession.
This is the best and last thing that he can do for Zimbabwe. We don’t expect anything more from him as the future no longer belongs to him, but another generation.


  • comment-avatar
    Tozvirevakupiko 9 years ago

    Really??!!! Rashweat you believe this: ‘Mugabe can do Zimbabwe a huge favour by beginning the process of facilitating a smooth handover of power to whom`soever Zanu PF chooses so that the peace we enjoy now can be sustained.’ What planet do youlive on? Mugabe cannot begin anything good for anyone even for his family right now. How we have ended up saddled with this man – I cannot comprehend!

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      tawanda 9 years ago

      Mugabe doesn’t have the capacity to appoint the next president. At most he can nominate a candidate from within his own chaotic party but the choice of the next president will be made by the people. Let’s not mistake ZANU issues for national issues. Those days are gone.

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    Rashweat Mukundu this would seem like a comment or opinion by a Zanu pf supporter. What the majority would like is for Mugabe to call for UN monitored elections that will be legitimised by the people for the people. We don’t need to know about his succession plans. Who cares? We want a legitimate Government in place so that Zimbabwe can take it’s rightful place in Africa in general and the World as a large. Munangagwa and Mujuru are part of the problem. If they win a United Nations Monitored election they can talk. Who cares about who was at Lancaster House? What good did they do for us anyhow?

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    Lancaster house my foot. Those military people are just barking!!!! The future of Zimbabwe lies in the hands of Zimbabweans! !!!

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    Patrick 9 years ago

    In Mugabe’s thinking any idea about any other human being being in the state house is blasphemy. He does not want to hear about it just as much as he doesnt even want to think about it. He is scared to death because he knows in this dirty game of politics, once he relinquishes power tables can easily be turned around on him by his successor. Mugabe dreads to his bones the possibility of being put on the stand & prosecuted for all the evils he committed while in office. So we can forget about having him facilitating a smooth transition of power even within his own party. He will cling on to the post no matter what consequences are & his will be the only uncontested position in Zanu & in the country til the day he dies. God help us.

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    Rwendo 9 years ago

    The only plan Mugabe is interested in is one which has the Mnangagwa and Mujuru factions roughly balanced and at each others throats while he holds them apart. Right now that means weakening Mujuru without letting Mnangagwa become too strong.

    As for us determine the future, we have all either departed for foreign lands or for those of us at home, kept our heads down and our mouths shut. To determine your future, you have to be prepared to stand up and fight, risking life, limb or imprisonment. There has not been very much of that in the last 10 years. In life, you act or you are acted upon.

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    I believe that Mr Mugabe is deeply detested by those who wish to succeed him. For so many years he has toyed with their ambitions, first encouraging them and then lashing and belittling them with his poisonous tongue. Mugabe rules only by fear, and not at all by love. There are none who love him. When such leaders are forced to step down, as all must in time, then they will reap the bitter harvest of their self-absorbed lives.

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    The heading should read ” ZANU PF SUCCESSION CHAOS; Mugabe the catalyst!

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    Moses 9 years ago

    Mugabe will be re-elected as leader of ZANU PF in December.The next 5 months will see him closeted with the JOC preparing for the military takeover of government on 1st May when he will be securely secluded and protected. SADC will tacitly approve and nobody else will be remotely interested

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    Max Madlezinye 9 years ago

    ‘Peace we enjoy now can be sustained’ Which peace!!! Whos is enjoying it…Its high time we as a people face the fact, that we should sort our own house, rather than fool ourselves. Zimbabwe is in chaos!! with more than 5 million people outside the country, and those at home, the majority is largely sustained by the remittences from those in the diaspora. Peace!!! which one!!!

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    Mzingeli 9 years ago

    No no no ,we need fresh blood and fresh ideas in Zim politics to rebuild our lovely country so lets vote and mugabe must stop being used by people WHO want to use him for there interest.Its time up Mugabe.

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    Right on the ball, an excellent piece Rushweat.And Mugabe has no one to blame except his monstrous ego.Maybe Grace too for using her husband for her personal gain. No one in Zimbabwe likes Grace, Zanu PF or not.The moment the old man goes, she is food for the hyenas and vultures.