‘Grace Mugabe out of succession race’

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe on Wednesday spoke out on his volatile succession issue which has thrown Zanu PF into serious turmoil, ruling out his wife Grace as his potential successor.

By Elias Mambo

Zanu PF is divided into two major factions pitting the so-called Generation 40 (G40), which is aligned to Grace, and Team Lacoste, which backs Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa. The two factions are locked in a bitter succession wrangle to replace Mugabe.

In his increasingly enigmatic approach in dealing with his succession, Mugabe also spelt out the qualities of the person who should succeed him as the internal strife fuelled by long-running succession power struggles rips the ruling party apart.

In interviews with the state-run ZBC television and a local private radio station, ZiFM Stereo, Mugabe said those angling to take over from him should first allow him to finish his term. The 92-year-old leader has been in power since Independence in 1980.

“Some are talking of a successor; why? I am still there. I did not go into the 2013 elections for someone to complete my five-year term, which ends in 2018,” Mugabe said.

Mugabe also ruled out the possibility of Grace taking over from him as has been widely speculated following her entry into mainstream politics in 2014.

“Where has that happened? Even in the African culture, leaders left behind chose the successor. There are even those saying go in first and I will take over, those are wild suggestions. A leader is elected properly by the congress, it is only the congress that chooses the next leader,” he said.

Mugabe also said his successor must be a person whom the party regards as having the qualities that leadership demands.

“(A good leader has) qualities to unite the people, to ensure that people’s interests are addressed, that issues such as programmes of the party, ideology that the party has and what the party decides to implement is passed on to government.

“The party supervises government and ensures that government is implementing its policies and programmes.”

Mugabe also said his successor should adhere to “issues to do with discipline and eradication of corruption within the system and ensure that as we move what is prescribed for us in the party by way of meetings at various levels is observed.”

The successor should make sure there is “strict observation of the programmes in the party and government as well by ensuring there is collective responsibility in government so that each minister submits reports to cabinet,” he said.

Mugabe also moved to mend his acrimonious relationship with the war veterans who a fortnight ago were involved in running battles with police over an aborted meeting and protests in Harare.

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