Chatunga eyes presidency


President Robert Mugabe who is on record saying he does not have a preferred successor from his Zanu PF party despite his advanced age revealed this week that his 15-year-old son Bellarmine Chatunga harbours presidential ambitions.

In a series of ongoing interviews exclusively granted to the State-controlled media, Mugabe admitted his son was eyeing the countrys top job.

Bellarmine always says I want to be president and so on, but I say you must pass, you see, the President, your father, how many degrees does he hold? Can you do that? said Mugabe. But leading kids, he is going to be writing his Form 4 this year, writing exams this year.

Mugabe has two other children, Bona (23) and Robert (Jnr) (19).

The 88-year-old ruler said Bona was the most serious among his children.

So Bona is the most serious of them all. She loves to do a Masters and be a chartered accountant, but she wants to do a Masters first. It takes a year, but she is with a chartered firm now, he said.

Mugabe also disclosed that Robert had flunked his A Levels.

In earlier interviews, Mugabe said the ideal solution to the succession crisis in Zanu PF would be the grooming of a new leader, but was quick to say that he would not do so now because that will cause much more divisions within the party.

The Mugabe family has dominated the political landscape in the country. At one stage, the family had three MPs in the august House Mugabes sister Sabina and her sons, Leo Mugabe and Patrick Zhuwawo.

There are several examples in Africa where children of heads of state and government took over the reins, mainly after the death of their fathers.

This, however, according to analysts, was unlikely in Zimbabwe because of the age gap between Mugabe and his children.

Since the turn of the millennium, three sons of heads of state have risen to power, mostly in chaotic transitions.

In 2001, the then 29-year-old Joseph Kabila rose to the throne in the Democratic Republic of Congo, in a move many believe was to an extent influenced by Mugabe, who was a close ally to slain leader Laurent Desiree Kabila.

Four years later, Togos Faure Gnassingbe wrested the countrys presidential seat in the middle of a power crisis that followed the death of his father, long-time dictator Gnassingbe Eyadema.

In Gabon in October 2009, Ali Bongo was sworn in as President after the death of his father Omar a few weeks earlier.

Mugabes other long-time ally, the late Muammar Gaddafi, had reportedly earmarked his son Seif-al-Islam to take over.

The same goes for ailing ousted Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak, who is said to have handpicked his son Gamal to be the next president.

In 2010, Gamal was put in charge of a super ministry that controlled almost all of the countrys strategic ministerial portfolios energy, air transport, infrastructure and international co-operation.

In the Republic of Congo, the media often describes Denis Christel Sassou Nguesso, one of President Denis Sassou Nguessos sons, as the most likely successor.

Francois Bozize, President of the Central African Republic, has strategically placed his son Francis Bozize into the Defence ministers seat.

In Cameroon, Paul Biya, who has been in power for almost three decades, has made his eldest son, Franck, his special advisor.

Another top Mugabe ally, Theodore Obiang Nguema, is said to be torn between his two sons. One of them, Gabriel Obiang Lima, the Secretary of State for Mines, Industry and Energy, is widely tipped to succeed him.