'Mugabe not in a hurry to leave office'

2013-08-26 10:11
Zimbabwe's Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku, left, swears in Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe during his inauguration in Harare. (Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi, AP)

Zimbabwe's Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku, left, swears in Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe during his inauguration in Harare. (Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi, AP)

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Cape Town – Strong indications are that the recently inaugurated Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe is not in a hurry to leave office despite his advanced age and ill-health, a report said on Sunday.

The Standard said although there had been suggestions Mugabe could retire soon after the elections to pave way for a younger successor, analysts said the 89-year-old, now the oldest living African head of state, would be around longer than expected.

"I see him serving his full term," political analyst Dumisani Nkomo said. "He may die in office or later give leadership to someone whom he trusts. The fact that he has young children will force him to stay in office a little bit longer."

Mugabe's youngest child Chatunga is still a teenager, while Robert (Junior) and Bona are both in their early 20s.

Mugabe also needs to solve the succession crisis in his party Zanu-PF, fulfil election promises and reconstruct his battered image.

A mammoth of task for Mugabe

Already, there is fierce jostling for Mugabe's post, a development that is threatening to tear the revolutionary party apart. Vice-President Joice Mujuru and Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa are said to be positioning themselves for the post in the event that Mugabe retires or dies in office.

The two however have denied harbouring presidential ambitions.

Having been elected deputy chairperson of SADC at the regional bloc's summit in Malawi recently, analysts feel it strongly that the veteran leader would want to assume chairmanship next year and consolidate his legacy.

Nkomo said Mugabe wanted to be remembered as a president who never lost an election, led Zimbabwe for over three decades and chaired SADC, among other achievements.

A political analyst, who requested anonymity, however said it would be a mammoth of task for Mugabe to erase the sad memories of Gukurahundi (an attempted genocide of the Ndebele by Mugabe's 5th Brigade which killed at least 20 000 people), land invasions and the 2008 elections, which have become his major stumbling block to achieving the position of "an elder statesman in Africa" in the mould of former South African President Nelson Mandela.

Read more on:    sadc  |  zanu-pf  |  emmerson mnangagwa  |  robert mugabe  |  nelson mandela  |  zimbabwe  |  southern africa  |  zimbabwe elections 2013

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