The youth wing of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s ruling Zanu-PF party has proposed that the nonagenarian should be allowed to die in office, fuelling speculation that the 93 year-old leader was not keen on relinquishing power.
This comes at a time when the majority of the ruling party’s structures in all provinces countrywide met at the weekend and resolved to call for a special congress in December to deal with factionalism caused by Mugabe’s failure to groom a successor during his 37 years in power.
The provincial meetings came only a few days after the ruling party’s highest decision making body between congresses, the Politburo, considered a motion to convene a special congress to deal with internal fissures threatening to destroy Zanu-PF ahead of next year’s elections.
One of Mugabe’s deputies, Emmerson Mnangagwa, is reportedly leading a faction calling itself “Team Lacoste” that is angling to take over power when Mugabe eventually leaves office.
Another faction made up young Turks calling itself “Generation 40” is backing First Lady Grace Mugabe to torpedo Mnangagwa’s presidential ambitions while Defence Minister Sydney Sekeramayi’s name has been thrown into the succession ring by Higher Edication Minister Jonathan Moyo, who sees him as a dark horse.
Amidst Mugabe’s succession maze, the chairperson of the ruling party’s Youth League, Mubuso Chinguno, said Zanu-PF had no other presidential candidate except President Mugabe.
“President Mugabe is our life candidate. We have no problem with him dying in office so we greatly welcome the the development to have the December Annual People’s Conference turned into a special congress,” said Chinguno.
Mnangagwa, who had become powerful within the rank and file of the ruling party, had his wings clipped when he and two of key allies lost their ministerial posts in a cabinet reshuffle last week.
“There is so much discord in the party and the special congress will address all the problems,” added Chinguno.
Meanwhile, First Lady Grace Mugabe is tipped to replace Mnangagwa as the ruling party’s Women’s League is pushing for representation in the presidium.
Women’s League chairperson for Manicaland Province, Estry Mlambo-Madhuku, said the special congress would give them an opportunity to advance their agenda.
“We have been advocating having one of the vice presidents as a woman and the December congress will help us to resolve this issue,” said Mlambo-Madhuku.
The first lady recently told her husband at a public meeting held at the ruling party’s headquarters that he should name his successor adding that the veteran leader should appoint a woman as his deputy.
Some analysts said the first lady was also angling to succeed her husband, hence the push to have a woman vice president.
Grace and Mnangagwa have, however, distanced themselves from harbouring presidential ambitions.