PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe’s fear to name a successor stems from a deep sense of mistrust and fear that the chosen heir-apparent could make a volte-face and persecute him, a former Zanu PF activist has claimed.
Expelled Zanu PF Mashonaland Central provincial youth leader, Godfrey Tsenengamu, made the disclosures on his Facebook page yesterday, saying Mugabe’s continued indecision was triggered by his family’s fear and insecurity over what a new leader might do.
He confirmed his assertions in an interview with NewsDay.
“Some in Zanu PF choose to criminalise it (succession) and say it’s treasonous to discuss the matter,” he said.
“No, I prefer to differ. My President (Mugabe) should preside over this matter while he is still around and it is in his best interests to do so. We must understand that the succession issue is being fuelled by the insecurity that a lot of people are feeling. There is lack of trust and that is dangerous.”
Tsenengamu issued an ominous warning that if Mugabe failed to deal with the succession issue now, Zanu PF was doomed.
“He (Mugabe) must preside over the matter now or else Zanu PF is doomed. His family remains insecure, the economy continues to go down and those feeling insecure in the party continue to cause unnecessary divisions and fights,” he said.
“It’s not taboo to plan for our future. We can’t afford to postpone reality.
“If anything were to happen to him, given the current factional fights, there will be chaos in both the party and government. Talking about a succession plan does not mean people do not want the President. It is in his best interests.”
Mugabe, two weeks ago, told a Zanu PF gathering in Harare that “the small groups discussing succession are treasonous”, adding, “I am not going anywhere.”
Tsenengamu insinuated Mugabe’s family was discussing the succession issue.
“I am taking a cue from the First Lady (Grace Mugabe), who, at the Chiweshe rally, said they had been considering someone as a successor, but had lost confidence in that person,” he said.
“That means they discuss the issue and are weighing the options. It’s important that the President sees this process through. No investor will bring their money where they are not sure of the future and a clear succession plan will instil confidence in our people and the international community.”
Tsenengamu was expelled from the ruling party early this year, along with six other provincial youth leaders for alleged gross misconduct.
His remarks came as war veterans have upped their demands for Mugabe to name Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa as his successor.
The former freedom fighters have also demanded that Tsenengamu and his colleagues be unconditionally reinstated into the ruling party.
Zanu PF is bedevilled by fierce internal factional fights centred around the succession issue with Grace and Mnangagwa touted as possible contenders.
Tsenengamu said Mugabe needed to open up and allow members to start discussing the matter and allow for a new leader for the country in 2018, while he retains the ruling party’s presidency.
“Our leaders have come a long way and have every reason to be together and work together. We also have a role to play and help them mend relations and rebuild trust,” he said.
But Zanu PF political commissar, Saviour Kasukuwere yesterday scoffed at the suggestion, saying the succession debate was being fanned by those who wanted to side-track Mugabe.
“We have always said the issue of succession is not on the agenda. But for us, we need to ensure that the party continues to run the government under President Mugabe. We have a President and he is our candidate for 2018. So we wonder whom the successor is going to succeed,” he said.
“The President has consistently said Zanu PF has a time-honoured tradition of leadership renewal that should be followed at congress when the time
“Our party is comfortable with President Mugabe. He has the confidence of the membership and given the numbers that turned up at the million-man march (last month), he has confidence of Zimbabweans.”