Joice Mujuru tipped to succeed Mugabe

Cape Town - Zimbabwe's Zanu-PF party is mulling over a special congress at which top vacant positions will be filled and the succession of President Robert Mugabe would be decided, according to a report.

Quoting a government official, The Standard reported on Sunday that the party was aware that Mugabe would not live forever and that there was a need to eventually prepare for his successor.

The congress is also expected to elevate the party’s national chairperson, Simon Khaya Moyo to vice-President following the death of vice president John Nkomo in January this year.

"Apart from elevating SK [Moyo], this special congress will clearly spell out that in the event that Mugabe retires or is incapacitated, the top officials are automatically elevated. This will mean that vice-President Mujuru will be Mugabe’s successor by virtue of her current seniority," said the official.

Mugabe’s succession has remained a hot issue, particularly at this time when Zanu-PF is riddled with factionalism with two factions loyal to Mujuru and defence minister, Emmerson Mnangagwa positioning themselves for Mugabe’s succession.

Service chiefs

Both Mujuru and Mnangagwa have denied leading factions or harbouring presidential ambitions. But Mugabe admitted at the Zanu-PF national people’s conference in December last year that indeed the two factions existed.

The source said while the faction loyal to Mnangagwa wanted Mugabe to remain in power, the one faithful to Mujuru was eager to see the 89-year-old head of state retiring.

He, however, said the Mnangagwa faction had the advantage that it was supported by service chiefs who also wanted Mugabe to remain in power.

"It is not that they [service chiefs] like Mnangagwa, but to them he can protect their political and business interests," he said, adding that some in the party were also not comfortable with Mujuru because of her perceived straight talk and her potential to be acceptable to the international community and other political parties.

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