Changing of the guard

Just as President Robert Mugabe turned 90 and dismissed talk on his succession as baseless, Mozambique’s Frelimo was busy choosing a successor to Armando Guebuza, the country’s current national and party president.

Paul Bogaert
Paul Bogaert

Come October when they hold elections, Filipe Nyussi will take over from Guebuza, making him the third president to rule that country after the death of Samora Machel in October 1986. Of course, Guebuza will remain at the helm of the party, but what is important is that he is going, leaving Mugabe still firmly in the driving seat here.

When Mugabe came to power in 1980 Samora was five years into power in war-torn Mozambique. Then came Joachim Chissano, who was replaced by Guebuza, and soon it will be Nyussi.

Similarly, the aged ruler has shaken hands with four South African presidents (Nelson Mandela, Thabo Mbeki, Kgalema Motlanthe and Jacob Zuma), in the space of 20 years. In Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Malawi, several presidents have passed the baton – while Mugabe continues to insist that Zanu (PF) and Zimbabwe would crumble without him.

Just before his 90th birthday bash, Mugabe acknowledged that he was a loner because most of the people he started the struggle with locally and regionally were no longer around. He has ruled for 34 years and seems to be determined to die in office.

What is particularly striking is that Zanu (PF) and Frelimo share a similar history, with both having started off as avowed Marxist-Communist movements and gradually morphed into capitalists – particularly after the fall of the USSR. You would therefore expect that they would share similarities where power dynamics and succession are concerned.

In fact, Zanu (PF) should have emerged as a better and more acceptable model, considering that Zimbabwe richer than Mozambique in many ways and did not have to grapple with a long drawn-out civil unrest (that even now seems to be rearing its ugly head again). It is therefore disturbing that while most other countries in southern Africa have managed succession relatively well, Mugabe still lags behind.

We urge him to take a look around and see how the times have moved on – leaving him behind. It is not our business to determine how Zanu (PF) chooses its leaders, but it is certainly our right as Zimbabweans to remind the president that our nation has many capable leaders who could run the country better than he is doing.

Post published in: Editor: Wilf Mbanga
  1. Ngonidzashe Mudede

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