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Are Zanu PF Officials Keeping 91-Year Old Mugabe to Protect Personal Interests?

FILE - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe.
FILE - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe.

Political commentators believe that President Robert Mugabe is being forced to continue ruling even if Zimbabwe is facing serious social, economic and political problems.

They claim that some top Zanu PF officials are doing this in order to protect their interests while others are afraid of Mr. Mugabe who has ruled Zimbabwe for more than 35 years.

One of the critics Ibbo Mandaza of SAPES Trust told Studio 7 this has resulted in Mr. Mugabe to become Zimbabwe’s defacto-life president.

He said, “They have figured a solution to the succession problem. What (first lady) Grace (Mugabe) says is what goes and you saw the nine provinces all endorsing (Mugabe) ahead of the (forthcoming Victoria Falls) conference and thereby pre-emptying any discussions on succession even though there would not be any discussion on succession. Succession talk is taboo in Zanu PF.”

Responding on a question on allegations that there are no strong political challengers for Mr. Mugabe in the party, Mandaza said, “Yes and all those in Zanu PF agree that is the position … If they have any ambition they keep it strictly to themselves.”

He further said those seeking to protect their interest would not let him go. “So, basically for people like Grace (Mugabe) and even those for whom Mugabe’s departure would be a disaster are saying stay on narini narini (forever)."

Interview With Ibbo Mandaza
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But Joseph Tshuma, a Zanu PF lawmaker and Central Committee member, said Mr. Mugabe is not a life president.

“To say that he is a life president I think it’s a bit misleading. He is our president elected in the 2013 (Zanu PF) congress to lead us up to the 2018 congress and if we are happy with his performance we will re-elect him again because he has been a good captain, a good driver and a good leader and we enjoy his leadership.”

Interview With Joseph Tshuma
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President Mugabe has been Zimbabwe’s role ruler since the country attained independence from British rule in 1980 after a liberation struggle of the 1970s.