Mugabe ought to name successor now

The recent political disturbances in Lesotho which saw Premier Tom Thabane fleeing to safety in South Africa after fears the military had staged a coup, may have gone completely unnoticed in Zimbabwe had there not been spurious claims in some sections of the media that President Robert Mugabe had intervened and solved the problem.

NewsDay Editorial

It turned out it was, in fact, South African President Jacob Zuma, as head of the Sadc Organ on Politics, Defence and Security, who had brought temporary relief to the “Mountain Kingdom”.

Be that as it may, there are some lessons that Zimbabwe could derive from the Lesotho debacle, the most important of which is that Zimbabweans shouldn’t take for granted the stability obtaining in their country.

The situation in Zimbabwe is no different from that in Lesotho, which analysts say is a result of “a largely unchecked army and a complicated electoral system that lends itself to personal rivalry”.

The internecine fighting panning out in Zanu PF is caused mainly by a complex succession process and the role the military is playing therein, giving it the potential to explode into open war with dire consequences.

The recent extension of the terms of service of the so-called securocrats by another five years could have been informed by the wish to keep them out of the intra-party fighting. But their shadow continues to hover menacingly over the situation.

The succession process has not been properly defined, hence the fighting. Over the years, out of frustration that that their chance to rule has been thwarted by the incumbent’s longevity and unwillingness to pass the baton, ambitious leaders have formed themselves into factions waiting to pounce as soon as a vacancy obtains in the leadership.

But the whole thing is a recipe for disaster if not solved decisively and immediately, too.

It would seem Mugabe is reluctant to name a successor because he fears the consequences of any such move. The ruling party is so divided that any pronouncement to that effect might bring political mayhem and instability in the country.

But he is only postponing the problem. He now has to bite the bullet and name a successor, even before the party’s elective congress in December. This is not impossible considering what was done with the Women’s League where a totally unexpected event happened.

When Mugabe’s wife Grace was nominated for the post of Secretary for Women’s Affairs, everyone was taken by surprise. There were pockets of resistance, of course, but these were quelled mostly through coercion. After Mugabe himself gave the nod to the nomination, all the ducks fell into line; no one wants to be seen to be opposed to the “Dear Leader”.

Mugabe can do the same for the main wing of the party. The reality in Zanu PF politics is that Mugabe is the law; he can anoint anyone to any post and everyone will endorse the move. To wait until the December congress could be suicidal for both the party and the country.


  1. Mugabe will never appoint his successor if it’s not going to be his wife.He would rather die in office.But what will happen to Grace & children is something else.

  2. madam vice president is going to be next dictator of ths country boss not the first lady.angaite ishe iye asina kuona chihutsi ??

  3. You are joking editor

    that old man is too jealousy to have someone he can call a successor to “his sacred throne” . he would rather die leaving the party in a messy uncertainty than appoint a successor.

  4. chemwaka uno!!

  5. Unless this editorial comment is informed by the dynamics of THE NEW AGE geo-political circumstances ,then this alarmist stance is misplaced.We have an Army fully in charge of its constitutional mandate here in Zimbabwe.

  6. Mugabe has not been fair to his family, he is selfish and has made some of his own people bitter a bitterness which will affect his family when he is gone. Zvekuti ndinenge ndafa saka hameno havo is what this old man must be saying.

  7. I agree, this man will just die in office…he wld rather die than nominate a successor. Whatever happens after he is gone is something else we will discuss when the time comes. As it stands, it not abvouis who the next two presidents for zom will possibly be and imagine an investor who wants to invest with a 20 year plan is going to do…of i was an investor, i wld not choose zim coz i dont know who the next madness is going to be….

  8. Ma 1. This old man will never name a successor. Ahhhh! Ka goliho aka kanetsa mhani.

  9. Successor for what, for Zim or for ZANU PF?

  10. Mugabe will never appoint a successor simply because of his security. Knowing his crimes against humanity in Matebeleland Gukurahundi and 2008 June election genocide. The old man will continue to stay in power.
    Zimbabwe desperately need a new leader. A problem leader solving the problem of Lesotho what a joke. The problem of Lesotho is better than our problem.

  11. We have a vacant post for a PRESIDENT in Zimbabwe. Mugabe expired.

  12. mugabe puts the country first.

    1. Which country?

  13. In democracy, leaders do not appoint their successors, but people elect them. One morning you claim to champions of democracy, the next morning you are advocating dynasties, fungai zvakanaka! Mugabe understands democracy, hence his refusal to name a successor to himself.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *