Calls by Zanu PF Youth League members in Manicaland province for President Robert Mugabe to rule until he dies in office have attracted scorn from members of the public and opposition parties and support among some Zanu PF activists.
Responding to a Studio 7 Facebook page thread on the youth’s suggestions that Mr. Mugabe should rule for life, one of the opponents, Tired Chikwata said there is need for leadership renewal in Zimbabwe in order to take the nation to the next level.
Chikwata was among at least 70 respondents, who urged the president to pave way for a new leader. But some respondents like Shine Kutama and Edwell Barbour Sakutukwa supported the Zanu PF youth, saying Mr. Mugabe should rule until he dies in office.
Two Zanu PF factions are currently fighting to succeed the president with one of them already having endorsed Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa as Mr. Mugabe’s heir apparent. This irked the Manicaland youth that are said to be backing First Lady Grace Mugabe for the presidential seat.
For perspective, Studio 7 reached Obert Gutu, MDC-T spokesperson, and Nick Mangwana, Zanu PF U-K chairperson.
Gutu said the Zanu PF youth are daydreaming. “I am sure they are taking something that is very harmful to their mental health. For anyone to say a 92 year-old man, soon to be 93, should rule for life I believe that obviously they are not serious and I think that a joke that is not funny. It is not a secret that President Mugabe is a very old man, I mean he has really had his time.
“They are not even aware that constitutionally he should only do two five year terms … They are saying if he is alive in 2023, they say he should continue until he dies. So that means assuming he lives for … he lives for 120 or 130 years, you know his mother Bona died at 103 or even 104 years … They say as long as he is alive he should be the president of Zimbabwe …”
Responding to these remarks and suggestions that most Zimbabweans want the president to leave office, Mangwana said voters have to make that choice.
“It’s not for anyone to demand that the president should leave. The people would determine (this) in 2018. We go to polls and then the people would determine whether the president has to leave. They can only do that in the ballot box. We cannot subvert the will of the people that was expressed in 2013 … We should make a difference between politican banter and a political narrative which is set for the party.”
He said the Zanu PF youth expressed their own opinion, which is not necessarily the view of the ruling party.