HomeOpinion & AnalysisColumnistsDoes Mugabe really want to go?

Does Mugabe really want to go?


HE is 89 years old, spent 11 of those years in jail, has been in power for 33 years — in a political career spanning over half a century — is Africa’s oldest President and second oldest Head of State in the world.

However, despite these records, President Robert Mugabe, a nonagenarian in nine months’ time, is set to contest for another five-year term to remain Zimbabwe’s Head of State and Government.

But does his conscience tell him to continue soldiering on?  Does the veteran leader still have the vigour to traverse the length and breadth of the country and conduct those energy-sapping campaigns?  Does he have a convincingly fresh manifesto to sell to the electorate, in the face of an MDC-T vowing to “finish off” the former sole ruling party?

Earlier this week, Zambian Vice-President Guy Scott made sensational revelations, divulging that the veteran leader now felt it was time to throw in the towel and leave public office.

“That’s what he said to us a few months ago,” said Scott in an interview published on Wednesday by Britain’s Guardian newspaper.

It became the first ever disclosure of Mugabe’s thoughts regarding his future by a high-profile African leader, triggering widespread speculation that Zimbabwe’s only ruler since Independence in 1980, is finally set to wave goodbye to a political career he started in the 1950s.

In 2008 following defeat in the harmonised elections, unconfirmed reports said Mugabe confided to his top confidants that he had accepted the results and would relinquish power.  He was reportedly persuaded otherwise by his inner circle.

Recent developments in his Zanu PF party may be an indication of the President’s resolve to retire as fights for power escalate to unprecedented levels. So overt are the Zanu PF fights that the party has openly admitted that all is not well.

Two factions, one reportedly led by Vice-President Joice Mujuru and another said to be headed by Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, are understood to be leaving no stone unturned to strategically position themselves in preparation for a post-Mugabe era. Their battles are now in the public domain in virtually every province as the two heavyweights allegedly tussle to succeed Mugabe.

In Manicaland province, the court case involving Zanu PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa and ousted provincial chairman Mike Madiro in a case of fraud and theft of Mugabe’s cattle is said to be the tip of an iceberg, with the real fight centering on subtle battles to succeed the veteran leader. The same is said to be the case in Bulawayo province where a new leadership was appointed last month following fierce protracted fights and in Mashonaland West where party national chairman Simon Khaya Moyo had a torrid time as he openly campaigned for Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo last month.

Now as watershed elections beckon, it remains to be seen whether Mugabe will remain in the picture and complete his tenure if he wins.

Or is it time to turn a new leaf in Zimbabwe’s history should he say “Adios”?

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