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Editor's bottom drawer: Heed succession calls


A man who does not work, effectively, every day, for his eventual replacement is in a dying enterprise, whatever that enterprise may be.

President Robert Mugabe continues to tell his party that he cannot leave office because if he did, his party would collapse or lose elections.

What he does not say is, what would happen to his party when, God forbid, mother nature or father time takes its course, as it will with all of us sooner or later.

Would the same fears and fate he is trying to avert not suddenly visit his party, without preparation?

If so, why does that not worry him as well, or is his attitude shaped by the fact that as long as he is no longer around, the ship can wreck and that doesn‘t concern him?

What kind of party is his party, for it to afford to put away succession indefinitely?

It’s easy to understand why President Mugabe does not want to leave office, of course. It is not easy, after 31 years of holding the highest office in the land, to just wake up and leave.

It’s a weakness of mankind few can overcome. It becomes a terrifying nightmare to even dream oneself out of office.

Once one has gotten accustomed to the trappings of high office, it takes exceptional, superhuman resolve to just leave.

One has to be a Mandela, a man of outstanding character, to do so, or one simply has to be helped out by constitutional provisions, limiting their terms.

Zanu survived the death of its vice-president, Leopold Takawira, the disposal of its founding president, Ndabaningi Sithole, the death of its ebullient chairman, Herbert Chitepo, the death of its commander General Josiah Tongogara.

So, why is it argued that it will not survive the departure of President Mugabe?

This simply does not make sense, unless someone comes up with a cogent explanation, not the vacuous type Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo has been spinning. It’s no one’s else’s business, of course, whether President Mugabe stays at the helm of Zanu PF or not — it’s Zanu PF’s prerogative.

But, it makes interesting academic copy.

Gumbo, of course, is one of those who were imprisoned in Mozambique for plotting against President Mugabe, Edgar Tekere (now late), Herbert Ushewokunze (late) and others in the President Mugabe camp then.

He is one of those who were incarcerated and were only released at the behest of the British Governor, Lord Soames, just before independence and has now been forgiven and rehabilitated.

So, what he says must be understood in the context of that background.

Will Zanu PF survive a post-President Mugabe era? Maybe . . maybe not! Perhaps this is why there has been talk of attempts to get some top military gurus to weigh in.

But what can a military guru do, if he does not have the necessary political clout to sway the hearts and minds of the electorate? Shoot his way into State House . . ? It sounds unlikely to me! The landscape has changed and such romanticism cuts no ice no more!

Although President Kenneth Kaunda left office after being roundly thumped by Frederick Chiluba in a free and fair election, after 27 years, by then Unip had been so weakened by lack of renewal that it simply became a pale shadow of its former self.

Up to now it has failed to regain power. Chama Chamapinduzi, on the other hand, which renewed itself before an electoral process and gave the new president time to settle in, has survived the times and has turned Tanzania into a vibrant country today.

It continues to renew itself to this day.

Botswana and Mozambique’s founding ruling parties are some of those who have survived the times by continuously renewing themselves.

All the signs have been there and clear, that Zanu PF is no longer what it used to be. It has been sliding and losing more and more, to an inorganic party barely 10 years old.

Only in a one-party state environment can a party afford the luxury of not renewing itself regularly, and still survive.

We have been told of other options, like Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was driven out of KweKwe by then little-known Blessing Chebundo, and Joice Mujuru, who has never lost an election in Mashonaland Central, as well as Sidney Sekeramayi, who similarly has never lost an election, but was saved by the skin of his teeth in one.

Can anyone of these take on Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC president, who thumped Mugabe, hands down, in the free and fair March 2008 elections, and who is the beneficiary of a huge anti-Mugabe and anti-Zanu PF dividend, and win?

The answer is blowing in the wind!

The winner will be the person whom the hearts and minds of continuously tormented people of Zimbabwe will repose their trust in as someone who can stop the current political malaise and build and promote the emergence of national consensus and a normal political environment in which people can feel safe, with peace and justice for all, an ideal that has remained illusive since independence as current players remain focused on their political-party interests.
Interesting times we live in!

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