POLITICAL analysts yesterday said President Robert Mugabe, who turns 90 today, had given his biggest hint yet that he would not hand over power to anyone and would die in office.
Mugabe was quoted in the State media saying he would not retire soon because his Zanu PF party was still divided and threatened senior party officials with unspecified action for fomenting factionalism.
Analysts said Mugabe had used the excuse of Zanu PF disintegrating if he left over the years because he was the biggest beneficiary of factionalism in the party.
Political analyst Dumisani Nkomo said Mugabe was likely to die in office as he had never shown any interest to hand over power.
“I have always said he won’t hand over power to anyone, either to (Justice minister Emmerson) Mnangagwa or (Vice-President Joice) Mujuru,” he said.
“Maybe his son if he is old enough.
“Factionalism works to his advantage as he becomes the central figure within Zanu PF.
“You will realise that he props each faction with time so that he maintains a balance and becomes the father figure, the cardinal point from where the party holds.”
Another analyst Rodrick Fayayo said: “Mugabe has been consistent in the way he has been doing things leading to some saying he will succeed himself.
“At 90, we have to look at the legacy that Mugabe is leaving, that includes the killing of 20 000 people in Matabeleland during Gukurahundi and never said sorry.
“He turned the jewel of Africa into an empty basket case.”
He said Mugabe’s attack on factionalism was a mere public show alleging that he noted it in private.
“The existence of factionsdetermines his stay in power. If the party is divided, he cashes in on that to remain at the helm,” Fayayo said.
Political scientist Greg Lennington added that Mugabe had no intentions of retiring.
“He has made a number of signals that he seems to think that he is God-send,” he said.
“He is bound to die in office. To some extent, having factions appears to suit him.”
“He plays one against the other, although in public he presents the impression that he is against factionalism. He has vested interests in factionalism.”