WASHINGTON DC —
A top Zanu PF official says President Robert Mugabe will lead Zimbabwe as long as he wishes since the opposition is too fragmented to make any strong challenge to the ruling party, which has been in power since independence from British rule in 1980.
David Ndlovu, a member of the powerful Central Committee organ of the party, says there is also no reason to remove Mr. Mugabe from power right now as he enjoys a lot of support within the party and in the country.
“The opposition is weak and fragmented and for them to talk of winning an election …ahhhh! …to me it’s now out. We thought we were afraid of them during those days (before unity government) but now we have turned the tables,” he said.
He noted that this will ensure that President Mugabe will remain in power as long as the party elections him even if he is 100 years old.
“The president will lead the party as long as he is elected at a congress. Should people decided that they need fresh blood they will elect a new president because the party allows any member to stand (for election) in a position including the presidential position. If the president contests and wins, we can’t bar him.”
Asked why 91-year-old President Mugabe is not retiring, Ndlovu said, “… If a person does not want to retire and is nominated (for election), there is no way (to stop him) because the party hasn’t got that kind of a (constitutional) provision and for someone to say ‘please retire’ that will be tantamount to dismissing that individual and that is not provided for in the party constitution.”
Mr. Mugabe started claiming that his opponents wanted to assassinate him before and after taking over as leader of Zanu.
Some of the targeted party leaders were the late Ndabaningi Sithole, now expelled Rugare Gumbo and several other top officials. These two were accused again after independence of attempting to eliminate the Zanu PF and Zimbabwean leader, an accusation they dismissed as political gerrymandering.
Mystery still surrounds the death of Josiah Tongogara, who was the commander of the Zanu’s armed wing, the Zimbabwe National Liberation Army (ZANLA). Mugabe and his associates have distanced themselves from Tongogara’s death in a suspicious road accident.
Several political opponents including the late father Zimbabwe and vice president Joshua Nkomo, Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai, former Vice President Joice Mujuru and others have been accused by Mr. Mugabe of trying to topple him.
Others are Lookout Masuku, former commander of ZAPU’s armed wing, the Zimbabwe People’s Revolutionary Army (ZIPRA), and former ZAPU intelligence supremo, Dumiso Dabengwa, who is now the leader of ZAPU.
Some of these people were locked up and acquitted of attempting to topple and or assassinate Mr. Mugabe, the world’s oldest president.
The 91-year old has scoffed at calls for him to retire saying he is fit to rule the country that once recorded historic hyperinflation before the formation of a unity government, which stabilized the economy before nose-diving once again after the 2013 general polls won by President Mugabe’s party.
The opposition has claimed that the elections were rigged by state officials in favour of Zanu PF.