Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Mugabe hints at exit before elections

President Robert Mugabe has hinted that he will step down before the 2018 elections. Speaking in a BBC documentary “Robert Mugabe @ 90” by film maker Roy Abyemang he said “I have not come up with any conclusion as to which one, really, should be my successor. I leave it to the choice of the people.

A frail Mugabe photographed on Independence day.
A frail Mugabe photographed on Independence day.

Perhaps when we get close to the election, I will have some(one) in mind.”

This has been interpreted as Mugabe’s closest hint that he intends to last only the next four years, and then retire. He would be 94 by then, and there is little chance that he could seek to rule Zimbabwe for a further five years.

At the 34th independence celebrations on Friday, Mugabe struggled with his eyesight while delivering his speech, with the right almost shut as he repeatedly used his hand to clear it. He has often been caught on camera sleeping at international forums and is no longer as visible in the public as in the past.

Several times, the latest being in January, he has been rumoured to be dead, but he has emerged to laugh at the rumours and declare himself ‘fit as a fiddle’. Social media has been abuzz about Mugabe’s health since his image appeared in the press on Friday. Some went to extremes, wishing him dead, which is very un-African. Some insulted him, with someone calling him a donkey.

Former RBZ Govenor, Gideon Gono, Deputy President Joice Mujuru and Minister of Justice who is also Zanu (PF) Legal Affairs secretary Emmerson Mnangagwa are front runners to succeed him.

Legal expert Greg Lennington is skeptical that Mugabe intends to step down before the 2018 elections. “I would be surprised if he left before the next elections. Power is addictive and very hard to give up, especially when you have been there for a long time,” he said.

He added that Mugabe’s decision to publicly dismiss both Mnangagwa and Mujuru as a definite successor was meant to “tease them”, but said all those contending for his position must have been unsettled by the utterances.

“We are likely to see fiercer jockeying for Mugabe’s post. His statements are catalysts for factional fights,” he added. The Zimbabwean