There is growing evidence that two factions within ZANU PF are uniting in their attempts to try to remove the party’s 87 year old leader, Robert Mugabe.
Reports say Mugabe has been alerted to an internal plot to force him to step down at ZANU PF’s December congress in Bulawayo. His loyalists retaliated by announcing that the congress will now be a conference and there will be no elections.
It’s being reported that Mugabe initially wanted to use the congress to get rid of senior officials who were recently exposed by WikiLeaks as having leaked ZANU PF secrets to US diplomats stationed at the embassy in Harare. However Mugabe was forced into a u-turn when he realized it was actually him who would be the casualty, as rival factions united to oust him.
The main problem is Mugabe’s health, and with Vice President John Nkomo clearly unwell and very frail, ZANU PF is aware their main candidate cannot sustain the rigors of a full election campaign. Mugabe has been to the Far East more than 8 times this year to seek medical treatment.
On Friday he left for what is being billed as a week-long state visit to China with his wife, Grace. It’s being reported that Mugabe will use the trip to attend his daughter, Bona’s graduation in Hong Kong. Bona has been studying at the City University and is said to be graduating with a BBA (Hons) in Accountancy. But given Mugabe’s well documented, but closely guarded battle with prostate cancer, it’s likely he will also see his doctors in Singapore during the trip.
In October, political analyst Pedzisai Ruhanya told SW Radio Africa that Mugabe’s health was a serious election issue for ZANU PF. “People will doubt him on the basis that how can someone who is always in hospital be an election candidate. So it has dire consequences for Mugabe’s candidacy. Mugabe is already unpopular, will not win an election and this (health) will just worsen his candidature.”
“In 2012 Mugabe will be 88. Surely before Mugabe says anything about what he has to offer or what he doesn’t have to offer, his age and his face are an election issue. He is no longer appealing to the people and his age is not an age where people can invest their future in an 88 year old, who is always in and out of hospital,” Ruhanya said.
–SW Radio Africa