Mugabe the strongman

Much to the chagrin of most Politburo members, President Robert Mugabe is set to be crowned the party’s candidate for the next presidential election. There is simply nobody brave enough to challenge him.


After more than three decades in power, Mugabe is still the glue that holds Zanu (PF) together. He may well be old, tired and ill – but after the Wikileaks exposures he trusts nobody in the party to protect him if he tries to retire. In this regard, the Wikileaks revelations have actually strengthened Mugabe’s hand within his party.

Those who badmouthed him behind his back are now terrified of his vengeance. They will not dare oppose his nomination as the presidential candidate. They all know he can destroy them as he has destroyed others who have entertained presidential ambitions in the past.

One of the two main contenders, Joice Mujuru, has been severely weakened by the death of her husband Solomon, who was the tactician and the driving force within the Mujuru camp. There is now a vacuum there.

The Emmerson Mnangagwa group has been severely wounded by Wikileaks. Both groups are now busy trying to prove their loyalty to Mugabe, and will back him at the forthcoming party congress in the hopes that he will not punish them for their betrayal.

They will fight each other after he has gone – and not before.

Political analysts John Makumbe said Zanu (PF) only had itself to blame for the current situation.

"They do not have any alternative to Mugabe. There is a belief that no one can steer the ship like Robert, and it has been his style that no one but him can do a better job that has allowed him to dominate," said Makumbe.

Mugabe, who has described the mini-congress scheduled for Bulawayo early next month, as “a watershed event” wants elections as early as possible before his health deteriorates further.

His personal banker, Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono, told American diplomats that Mugabe could die by 2013.

Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs Patrick Chinamasa, told reporters Geneva recently that the party still stood with Mugabe as its candidate for any election.

“It’s an internal matter but we will put our best foot forward and Mugabe is our best foot. We can’t change the captain in the midst of a storm,” said Chinamasa.

Post published in: News

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