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‘Mugabe succession debate premature’

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ZANU PF politburo member and National Assembly Speaker, Jacob Mudenda, has berated colleagues in the ruling party for lack of discipline and unbridled ambition, describing the ongoing vicious debate over President Robert Mugabe’s successor as taboo and premature, saying “no new sun rises before the old one sets”.

PAIDAMOYO MUZULU

Addressing South African media at the African National Congress’ (ANC) 105th anniversary celebrations in Johannesburg, Mudenda said the succession debate was premature and that party members should not be openly display their ambitions to succeed the nonagenarian leader.

“It is a complex one, but my belief is that no new sun rises before the old one sets,” he said paraphrasing a Ndebele idiom.

“There must be an element of discipline within the party so that the system itself produces a leader, who should succeed the leadership.

“It (succession) must be looked in a holistic manner. We must also avoid political ambitions where we allow the system to dictate who should succeed.”

This comes as the two warring Zanu PF factions, one led by Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa and the other led by First Lady Grace Mugabe, are jostling to position candidates on a prime spot to succeed Mugabe who turns 93 next month.

Mudenda, ironically, just over a decade ago, lost his position in the party in the aftermath of the infamous Tsholotsho declaration that sought to have Mnangagwa appointed Vice-President ahead of Joice Mujuru, who landed the post in 2004, before she was elbowed out of government in 2014 on allegations of plotting to topple Mugabe.

So vicious are the factional fights over Mugabe’s successor that both camps are using each given opportunity to attack their rivals even through body language or via social media.

Soon after Mudenda’s interview was broadcast on SABC yesterday, Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo — a suspected G40 functionary — immediately posted the Speaker’s comments on micro-blogging site, Twitter account, ostensibly to taunt Mnangagwa’s followers.

“No sun rises before the other sets. One boss at a time. That is what the principle of one centre of power is all about,” Moyo tweeted.

On Saturday, Mnangagwa’s Team Lacoste faction seemed to have gained an upper hand when its alleged proponents occupied VVIP seats at the burial of national hero, Peter Chanetsa at the National Heroes Acre.

These included war veterans’ leader Christopher Mutsvangwa and several former top Zanu PF officials axed on allegations of fanning factionalism.

However, Harare province was accused of not mobilising people to the poorly attended funeral, with State media intimating this could be sabotage.

Zanu PF last month endorsed Mugabe as its sole presidential candidate for 2018 despite his advanced age and poor health.

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