Zanu-PF congress expected to extend Mugabe’s rule

2014-12-02 17:58

Harare – Zimbabwe’s ruling party today opened a four-day congress during which President Robert Mugabe is expected to be confirmed as its leader.

The re-election would make the 90-year-old the presidential candidate of the ruling Zanu-PF for the 2018 elections.

About 12 000 delegates are due to attend the congress in the capital, Harare. Also on the agenda are proposed changes to Zanu-PF’s constitution, which would allow Mugabe to personally select the party leadership.

Current Vice President Joice Mujuru was recently barred from standing for a position on the central committee, Zanu-PF’s highest decision making body, and accused of plotting to assassinate Mugabe. She is expected to be sidelined by the changes.

Mugabe’s wife, Grace, is meanwhile expected to be confirmed as leader of Zanu-PF’s women’s league, and lined up for higher office.

“This can be some kind of grooming of [Robert Mugabe’s] successor who will protect family interests,” said Eldred Masunungure, political science professor at the University of Zimbabwe in Harare.

Grace Mugabe (49) who used to be Mugabe’s secretary, last month announced her candidacy to succeed her husband when he leaves office.

She has called on Mujuru – who was regarded as one of the top contenders to succeed the president – to resign.

Grace Mugabe’s political ambitions have faced resistance from Mujuru and others who participated in the struggle against the white minority government of the then Rhodesia – today Zimbabwe – alongside Robert Mugabe.

“This congress is about Mugabe and the dynasty he is making,” said political analyst Pedzisai Ruhanya in Harare.

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