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Grace’s entrance, a sign Mugabe could rule forever

By Guthrie Munyuki HARARE – President Robert Mugabe could rule for life and in the process succeed in establishing a one party state in Zimb...

By Guthrie Munyuki
HARARE – President Robert Mugabe could rule for life and in the process succeed in establishing a one party state in Zimbabwe, a leading civil society group says in a paper which shows uncertainty in the rumbling Zanu PF succession issue.

In a report titled Protracted Road to Transition: Dissecting Zimbabwe’s Succession Conundrum, Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition gives four possible scenarios of what could happen in Zanu PF as it battles with succession.

The report was launched Tuesday evening at the Book Café in Harare.

Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition says its paper is based on a mixed methodology, which attempts to draw together thematic threads from both scholarly and grey literature as well as key in-formant interviews within Zanu PF, civil society, the academy and opposition.

“The paper posits, that the emergence of Grace Mugabe and her vicious attacks on the lady who constitutionally would be heir apparent, Joice Mujuru, is a manifestation of the resurrection of a historically stated intent by Mugabe to rule till death,’ said Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition executive director, McDonald Lewanika.
President Mugabe and wife Grace
“It posits that, Grace Mugabe is introduced into the political terrain to stem perceived and real aspirations, especially, by Mujuru and her backers to ascend to the presidency during Mugabe’s lifetime.

“The paper links current developments and discourses to the late 80’s aspirations by Mugabe for a one party state, which Zimbabwe seems to be now, de-facto. In addition, it links this one party state discourse to the ‘life presidency’ aspirations of Robert Mugabe, and perhaps the possibilities of a matrimonial succession, which would allow Mugabe to rule from both his death bed, and the graveyard,” said Lewanika.

“This paper is motivated by the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition’s commitment to en-couraging public debate on salient democracy and governance issues that affect Zimbabwean citizens.

“The belief at Crisis is that debate is freedom, and to that end the coalition aims to encourage discourse and democratic debate of issues, through providing evidence-based political and policy analysis that informs the citizenry on key national issues that national, regional and international actors can leverage in order to influence political stability as a precursor to sustainable growth, development and democratisation.

“It is in this spirit that this paper is released, in part, to lead discussion on recent developments and add to the debate on this issue of clear national interest,” explained Lewanika.

The launch of the paper comes as Zanu PF is engaged in a bitter and dangerous quarrelling emanating from the unresolved succession issues centred on who replaces Mugabe.

Mugabe, at 90, has failed to manage his succession which remains opaque amid bickering which has reached fever pitch.

The entrance of his wife, Grace, whose vituperative attacks on vice president Mujuru has taken the party to the brink of separating although officially, Zanu PF maintains all will be well at its elective congress, next month.

“Dr” Grace Mugabe’s retreating from a position of covert political influence by virtue of her station as first lady, to overt political battles through elevation to secretary of the women’s league in Zanu PF has thrown the cat among the pigeons for most political analysts,” said Lewanika.

“While an entry into mainstream politics had been anticipated for the first lady, many had thought that, if it were to happen, it would have been most strategic to do so during the 2013 elections. Her definitive entry has proved as such to be a wild card few anticipated at this time.”

Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa and Mujuru are said to be leading two factions battling to succeed Mugabe. Both have denied leading factions although Mugabe has confirmed it and appointed a commission to investigate factionalism in his fractious party.

But Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition attempts to show the complex Zanu PF succession by offering possible scenarios and forces at play as the party hurtles towards its congress next month.

The launch of its paper tomorrow follows similar attempts by leading expert groups which tried to zoom in on the problems affecting Zanu PF and Mugabe’s poorly handled succession issue.

In July, the Research and Advocacy Unit (RAU) and the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGOs Forum jointly released The Mortal Remains: Succession And The Zanu PF Body Politic highlighting the extent of Zanu PF divisions along factional lines.

And in September the International Crisis Group (ICG), weighed in on the succession debate, and produced a country briefing, Zimbabwe: Waiting for the Future in which they highlighted that “Despite visibly waning capacities, 90-year-old Robert Mugabe shows no sign of wanting to leave office”.

In their briefing, the ICG highlights how the question of succession in Zanu PF is quite complex beyond Mujuru-Mnangagwa’s factional divide, and also how ‘public battles have intensified, with intimidation and violence a disquieting feature’ in the succession battle. Daily News
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