President Robert is not likely to step down as leader of the Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front at the party congress to be held this year, a new report says.
The report: Zimbabwe’s International Re-engagement-The Long Haul to Recovery was authored by Zimbabwean Knox Chitiyo and Steve Kibble for a British think-tank, Chatham House.
Chitiyo is an Associate Fellow of the Chatham House Africa Programme and was previously Head of the Africa Programme at the Royal United Services Institute. He was senior lecturer in War Studies and History at the University of Zimbabwe and the Deputy Director of the Centre for Defence Studies. He has taught at the Zimbabwe Staff College and was at one time said to be behind the Movement for Democratic Change’s expert on security sector reform.
Chitiyo authored a report entitled: Making the case for security sector reform in Zimbabwe in 2009 when he was still with RUSI.
In the latest report, published last month, he and his colleague argue that Mugabe is not likely to step down from the leadership of ZANU-PF because he has indicated that he wishes to see out his term and his elevation in the AU and SADC emphasizes this point.
“It is thus unlikely that the ZANU-PF Congress at the end of 2014 will substantively discuss the presidential succession issue; but there will be intense power struggles for other leadership positions within the party as party members keep their eyes on the 2018 ‘prize’,” they argue
“In the event of an expedited succession process owing to Mugabe’s health issues, any potential successor would require party as well as constitutional endorsement.”
There is nothing, however, to stop Mugabe from stepping down as party leader but remain State president. In fact, the 2014 congress, allows him the unique opportunity to give way to a new leader who will then have four years to learn the ropes while Mugabe is at the helm.
Holding on will, on the other hand, leave the succession issue unresolved making it difficult to field a candidate in 2018, unless Mugabe, who will be 94 then, decides to stand again
Mugabe is currently deputy chair at the African Union and is going to be the Southern African Development Community chairman. He can continue to hold both posts, if he steps down as leader of ZANU-PF, because they are for the Head of State and not the ruling party leader.
The report says the two leading contenders for Mugabe’s post are his deputy Joice Mujuru and Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa. The report says Mnangagwa has the support of China and the military.
Mugabe has said he has no favourite candidate and will leave it to the people to decide.
ZANU-PF secretary for administration, Didymus Mutasa, known to be a supporter of Mujuru who can hopefully elevate him to Vice-president, has ruled Mnangagwa out basing his argument on seniority in the party.
But the question is: if that is the case why is his name popping up all the time?