Mugabe should appoint his successor today or never

ANALYSIS – ZANU-PF’s youth secretary for Harare province, Tendai Wenyika, has said that this week’s congress will be turbulent and said most people want Mugabe’s succession issue decided once and for all.

She said at previous congresses and annual conferences, the question of succession had been what she described as “taboo” but now 

“Mr. Mugabe is now too old to continue for much longer”

She and others also say Mr. Mugabe’s long tenure has caused “factionalism” in the party.

1 Samuel 8:4-5

“So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah. They said to him, “You are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways; now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have.”

Samuel was the last of the judges who ruled Israel. He was an upright and justly man who always trusted God. However, as he grew old the Israelite elders were worried about continuity of Israel as a nation. The following observations are clear:

  1. all the twelve tribes were in Unison on the succession issue, no factions or jostling for positions.
  2. stated the truth about Samuel, mainly which he was old but his contributions to Israel could not be equalled or rivalled.
  3. his sons whom Samuel had appointed to take over from him were very incompetent and corrupt thereby unsuitable for the job.
  4. they wanted Samuel to appoint them a successor bringing Israel inline with its neighbours.
  5. Samuel even at old age was still respected by the Israelites and he was the only person honoured to appoint his successor.

Succession is just as old as human history. If handled properly it allows smooth transition but if not  it results in infighting, factionalism and manipulation of the majority by power hungry political vultures. A classic example of smooth succession is how Nelson Mandela handed over power to Thambo Mbeki in 1999. The symbolic importance of it is that the Founding father of South Africa handed power to his successor.

Thus, smooth succession is now embedded within the African National Congress and other political institutions in South Africa. When ANC became disillusioned by Mbeki’s leadership it was easy for Jacob Zuma to challenge him and the rest is history. Instilling democracy in ANC is just as important as Mandela’s fight against apartheid in South Africa. More so, Mandela’s backing of Jacob Zuma was significant because Zuma is a Zulu as opposed to both Mbeki and him who are Xhosas, thereby uniting South Africa more as a nation without a dominant tribe.

Coming back home, ZANU PF is holding its national conference in a week’s time. The importance of succession has never been so crucial than ever. The incumbent is almost 86 and still there is no sign of him relinquish power yet. Mugabe has been at the helm of ZANU since 1976 and his major contribution to it  has been to transform ZANU PF into a dictatorial party which is riddled by factionalism and tribalism. His argument that he should leave the selection of his successor to the party is inline with all dictators.

The fear of losing power to your successor is too risky for any dictator to contemplate grooming someone to take over, hence he should rule until death do us part. In other scenarios dictators could even go to  the extend of killing his own male children in fear of being succeeded.

Imagine Mugabe rore to power when I was in grade 6 and 30 long years had since passed with little sign that Mugabe is going anywhere.One important characheristis of any leader is when to go and all signs seem to suggest that Mugabe was not gifted with this crucial quality.The fact that he wants another term in office could only regarded as insanity and should be relieved of his duties just to serve him from the political imprisonment self-imposed.

It is apparent then that dictators cannot relinquish power voluntarily. IN most cases the military provides the solution by intervening but not in Zimbabwe. Thus, this important function of leadership transition should be transferred to the congress of ZANU PF, just like in time of Samuel. This means that the ZANU PF congress of December this year is crucial to the survival of ZANU PF as a party and Zimbabwe in general. The following home truthful is worth pointing about ZANU PF:

a)     Mugabe is not only old but very old.

b)    ZANU PF is a factional party with competing camps jostling for power.

c)     Both Munangagwa and Joyce Mujuru are corrupt and inept leaders who do not have what it take to succeed Mugabe or take ZANU PF to the next level.

d)    There are many capable people within ZANU PF who are capable to rise to the occasion if chosen to succeed Mugabe.

e)     The congress, just like the elders of Israel during Samuel’s time has the opportunity to demand from Mugabe to relinquish power and appoint his successor at the same time.

f)      By demanding for a successor ZANU PF falls in line with other parties in Zimbabwe and Southern Africa at large.

No man has defied nature. The home truth is that Mugabe is quite old indeed and his advance in age demands that we should respect him for his contributions to the History of Zimbabwe whether positive or negative but above all he should step down and allow his party to choose his  successor to lead and reform ZANU PF to meet new challenges.

On the other hand we have factions which are vying for power,why can’t anyone from these factions through himself on the ring and challenge Mugabe?To begin with he will have the full support of everyone from with ZANU PF and even beyond.

For example,Munangagwa has been under the wings of Mugabe from the days of the liberation and to think that he has not learned enough by now implies that even given 2000 years he will not learn anything.

What about other politicians in ZANU PF?The likes of SK Moyo, Oppah Muchinguri and many more cadres in ZANU PF are capable of leading the party,bearing in mind that leaders are made and not born.

If the woorst comes to the worst even Chinotimba could as longas it is not baba Chatunga.Mugabe’s argument that the party is divided, hence the interest of party he should hang-on until the party is united should be dismissed with the contempt it deserves.

He Mugabe has now become a liability to his family, party and Zimbabwe in general. The sooner he goes the better for Mugabe himself,ZANU PF, the inclusive government and Zimbabwe to evolve into a functional, free and democratic country which upholds human dignity and observes the rule of law. (ZimEye, Zimbabwe)