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Will Mugabe Succession Fights Lead to Civil War in Zimbabwe?

  • Gibbs Dube

President Robert Mugabe and First Lady Grace Mugabe.

President Robert Mugabe and First Lady Grace Mugabe.

A political scientist says conflicts within Zimbabwe’s ruling Zanu PF party may degenerate into civil war if President Robert Mugabe does not stop it.

Professor Shadreck Guto of the University of South Africa says Zimbabwe’s unfolding political crisis in which Zanu PF factions are fighting for the succession of President Mugabe is bad news for the southern African nation.

He told Studio 7 it is sad that the situation may lead to political chaos if not put under control by the 91 year old Zimbabwean leader.

“At this time I think it’s a question of protest, a question of resistance but it hasn’t reached the level of calling it a civil war mindful of that the so-called war veterans, are the ones that initiated the so-called land grab policy to which Zanu PF later on adopted as its own policy. So, it was driven from the so-called war veterans, many of which were not war veterans, but it is a political phenomenon in Zimbabwe and from that point of view I think now that the war veterans are clashing with the police because at that time challenged the police to say come and remove us from the farms that we are occupying.

“(President) Mugabe was still clever at that time to say ‘we are not going to remove you and in fact we will make that our national policy’ and escape from that. This time around it’s going to be more difficult and I think that we are reaching a situation where things are getting very bad because some of the war veterans have formed a new political party. It is not just a party from the trade union movement and so on. So, the war veterans will be divided at this point and so you are right to send a signal to say might this lead to a civil war.”

He noted that “if (the situation) is not managed and controlled it might reach that level (civil war).”

Professor Guto said the only person capable of managing the situation is President Mugabe, who on Friday addressed the nation on the deteriorating situation in the country and urged warring factions in his party fighting to succeed him to stop fighting.

He regretted the tear gassing of war veterans by the police on Thursday saying war Veterans Minister Christopher Mutsvangwa should be punished for having organized an illegal meeting to discuss his succession.