Now 75, but with three more years in office, President Mugabe has once again dodged the question about when he will retire.
Although he indicated that he will need to take time to rest at some stage, most people believe an indication of when he would retire, even if he intends to remain in office until his term of office expires in 2002 would be positive news for the country as right now there is no line of succession.
But Mugabe, though, said he will need to give notice to the party to enable them to prepare for his departure. Party regulations say the question of leadership can only be addressed by congress and not at the annual conference which is more of a consultation conference.
With the party congress due this year and the next one only in 2004, two years after his current term of office, the question everyone must be asking is whether he will announce his retirement at this year’s congress or not.
It is already widely believed that his two vice-presidents, Simon Muzenda and Joshua Nkomo will have to go with him as they have literally been kept in office to justify his continued stay in power.
Muzenda and Nkomo, both Members of Parliament, will definitely have to step down next year. Nkomo did not even stand in the last elections and with their pension package settled they should definitely like to rest while the sun still shines.
As for President Mugabe, he could step down as party leader and continue as head of state. This would give the country the much-needed transition. If something were to happen to him as things stand, for example, there will be chaos in this country because even the constitution is vague about succession.
Besides, going by the statements made by most company chairmen in their annual and interim reports published recently, most believe that the present leadership is now incapable of turning around the country’s economy.
And as professor Heneri Dzinotyiwei was recently quoted as saying: “What concerns us is that he must realise the need for change without anyone having to throw stones at him. It is best for the president himself to have the courage to step down and then continue to serve the nation in the different capacity of former head of state.”