THE battle to succeed President Robert Mugabe in Zanu PF has reached a climax with the entry of his wife Grace into active politics.
Mugabe who turns 91 next February has been at the helm of the country since independence in 1980.
Very few leaders in modern history have remained in power as long as he has done.
Mugabe has refrained from anointing a successor despite indications that age is taking its toll on him.
However, the dithering is likely to come at a great cost for him as indicated by raging wars ahead of the Zanu PF congress in December.
Mugabe’s own post is not in any immediate danger, but his lieutenants are under no illusion that he would return after five years to seek another term.
Therefore, those with serious ambitions to take over the hot seat know that the time to make hay is now.
There is no doubt that whatever faction emerges victorious in December would be in good stead to provide a candidate to succeed Mugabe.
Ordinarily, the power contestations in Zanu PF should not cause any sleepless nights for Zimbabweans.
But events of the past few weeks have demonstrated that the party has no capacity to handle the succession issue without disrupting the economy.
The government has virtually been brought to a standstill as ministers follow the First Lady on a whirlwhind tour of provinces as she seeks to lay the rules ahead of the Zanu PF nominations for top leadership positions.
The government has not pointed out clearly who is funding the jaunts which involve helicopters and motorcades criss-crossing the country and hotel accommodation as well as allowances for top officials.
Zimbabwe’s economy is at a crossroads and cannot afford a cent being misspent or time being wasted on factional politics. Mugabe should show leadership before it is too late. Zanu PF has to deliver on its election promises and clean up the mess created by its misrule.