RENONWED University of London academic and expert on Zimbabwean politics Professor Stephen Chan has revealed that in the Zanu PF succession battles he preferred Vice-President Joice Mujuru to take over after his experiences when he worked in her office soon after independence.
By PAIDAMOYO MUZULU
Chan made the remarks on Thursday evening at Sapes Trust during a public discussion on succession in Zanu PF where former minister Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga and Research and Advocacy Unit (RAU) senior researcher Derek Matyszak were on the panel.
The discussion was held as Zanu PF is locked in factional succession fights that threaten to destroy the party. The factions are believed to be led by Mujuru and Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa though both deny harbouring ambitions to succeed Mugabe.
“You have your choices but my preference as successor is Joice Mujuru. I worked in her ministry in the 80s,” Chan said.
He added that the international community was only interested in a successor who had an inclusive ethos both in terms of domestic politics and international relations.
“The West is not interested in the successor’s ideological position but his/her ability to take technocratic advice,” he said.
Chan is well-respected in the United Kingdom and has access to the majority of the mandarins at Whitehall, the British seat of power.
Misihairabwi-Mushonga said it was highly unlikely for Mugabe to change his position once he had made his mind based on her understanding of the man during the five years tenure of the inclusive government.
Mugabe is the one who made the decision to elevate Mujuru to the party and national presidium.
“If Mugabe has taken a position, he doesn’t change. I doubt he has changed his position on Mujuru in spite of everything,” she said.
Matyszak told the audience that there were so many legal hitches to the smooth transfer of power to a successor if Mugabe resigned, or was incapacitated or in the event of his sudden death both in the national constitution and the party constitution.
“It is evident that there are a number of grey areas in respect to election to the office of any of the four posts in the Zanu PF Presidium, including the post of President and First Secretary.
The clarity of the procedures leaves much to be desired and is a fertile area for dispute.” Matyszak said
The debate around succession will continue to dominate the political discussions in Zimbabwe and beyond, possibly until the party’s watershed December congress.