Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe who turns 90 today says there is no need to talk about his succession because he is not about to retire.
According to extracts of an interview published by the government-owned media yesterday, President Mugabe said he was not happy with the jockeying for his post in his Zanu PF party.
The veteran ruler, in power since Zimbabweâ€™s independence in 1980, said his retirement was not due and those raising the succession issue would divide his party. He said he does not want to leave Zanu PF divided along factional lines. â€œBut why should it (succession) be discussed when it is not due? Is it due?â€ he asked. â€œThe people can discuss it if they want, but the moment they start they go into factions and then you find the party dividing itself and so why discuss it when it is not due?
President Mugabe added: â€œWhen the day comes and I retire, yes, sure the day will come, but I do not want to leave my party in tatters. I want to leave it intact.â€
He said those angling to succeed him risked expulsion from Zanu PF as they were fanning factionalism.
Vice President Joice Mujuru and Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa have often been identified as leaders of faction jostling to position themselves in the event President Mugabe decides to retire. However, the two have repeatedly denied the accusations.
President Mugabe said it was â€œterrible even to have your name mentioned as leader of a faction. It is shameful.â€ The Zanu PF factionalism played out during the partyâ€™s provincial elections held last December.