Harare ‑ Zimbabwe’s First Lady Grace Mugabe has challenged her husband, President Robert Mugabe, to name his successor as this was “the trend in other countries”.
The State broadcaster, Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, reported Thursday that Grace, during her address of the Zanu PF Women’s League national assembly in the capital, said there was nothing wrong with Mugabe naming his successor, adding it would enable all members to rally behind one candidate.
ZBC reported that Grace used the biblical story of Adonija, who organised a feast to crown himself because his father, the king, was sick.
Grace said the President had the right to be involved in naming his successor, saying the President’s word was final, the State broadcaster reported.
Debate over Mugabe’s successor is regarded as taboo in Zanu PF, despite that several names having been thrown into the pot as possible candidates to replace Mugabe, with Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Defence minister Sydney Sekeramayi among the likely candidates.
In June, War Veterans Minister Tshinga Dube took the bull by the horns and challenged Mugabe to urgently anoint or groom his successor to end the factional war within the ruling party and prevent possible chaos.
Tshinga said war veterans that were demanding that he name successor should not be labelled as “sell outs” because they were concerned at the likelihood of chaos.
“Sometimes the war veterans are not understood. They are people who sacrificed their lives to have this freedom, which we are very proud of, but sometimes, people do not understand them,” he said.
“For instance, when they said they are now looking at the future leadership, some people think they mean to say they are being disloyal to our President. No, not at all!
“We respect our President. He has done so much for this country. He has brought land to the poor, to the people, who for decades were marginalised, he has brought education to our nation, but they are talking of the future.
“There is nothing wrong with talking about the succession. Succession is not a crime to talk about. This happens in every country. All what the war veterans are saying is that he must groom the next leaders so that whatever happens to him, or when he retires there is somebody we know.
“War veterans are saying we are very happy with our President. We want him to win the next elections, but eventually, he will decide to retire, when, we don’t know? That is what the war veterans are saying. When they choose some of these people, it’s not because they are tired of our President, they are only misunderstood. There is nothing wrong with aspiring to be the next President.”
At present, two factions are reportedly strongly angling to take over from Mugabe, with the G40 faction, said to be backing Sekeramayi, while the so-called Lacoste faction is said to be sympathetic to Mnangagwa.