Mugabe takes a swipe at potential successors

2015-10-02 13:27
President Robert Mugabe. (File: AFP)

President Robert Mugabe. (File: AFP)

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Harare – Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has reportedly warned his Zanu-PF party supporters to guard against ambitious people wanting to grab power through the "back door".

Mugabe, 91, said this as succession battles within his ruling party continued to widen, with individuals positioning themselves to succeed him.

News Day reported earlier this year several officials were being touted as Mugabe's successors. Among them were the two vice presidents Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko, secretary for commissariat Saviour Kasukuwere, higher and tertiary education minister Jonathan Moyo, secretary for administration Ignatious Chombo and Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander General Constantine Chiwenga.

Ambitious elements

According to the state-owned Herald newspaper, Mugabe told party supporters to respect their leadership and avoid being used by "ambitious elements" within the party pursuing personal agendas.

Mugabe said Zanu-PF did not tolerate individuals who wanted to impose themselves on positions.

"We don't want people who give themselves positions. We don’t want people who divide the people. We have procedures of electing party leadership starting from the branch level up to national level. Everything is in the party constitution," Mugabe was quoted as saying.

Mugabe said this soon after arriving in the country from New York, where he attended the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly.

The Zimbabwe Independent said Mugabe’s remarks seemed to be directed at Mnangagwa, whose ascendancy was being fiercely resisted internally.

Civil unrest

"Some come to you and say support so-and-so, but the party has direction, we support the party. We support the leaders of the party. Those you chose. But those who want to position themselves … are causing confusion among the people," the report quoted the veteran leader as saying.

The nonagenarian has led Zimbabwe since independence in 1980.

Former finance minister Tendai Biti reportedly warned early this week the southern African country could be headed for chaos if Zanu-PF party did not resolve its factional and succession battles.

According to the Daily News, Biti, who is also the leader of the newly launched People’s Democratic Party (PDP), said the fissures currently rocking Zanu-PF had reached "dangerous" levels that could plunge the country into civil unrest and consequently lead to an illegal government.

Biti said various factions in Zanu-PF were not aimed at national building as they were all hungry for power.

"I think there is an itch in Zanu-PF. There is an itch which needs scratching. There are various individuals, various factions and various characters dying to be on each other’s throat; not for the purposes of national development, not for the purposes of national reconstruction but for the purposes of power and power alone," he was quoted as saying.

Read more on:    zanu-pf  |  emmerson mnangagwa  |  robert mugabe  |  tendai biti  |  zimbabwe  |  southern africa

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