The rumour that Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe is dying of prostate cancer in a Singaporean hospital was put to rest on Thursday morning when the 88-year-old leader returned home looking as healthy as ever. President Mugabe sneaked out of the country on March 31 and the rumour of his looming death threw the country into a fierce debate about who was to succeed him. Last year, the whistle-blower site “WikiLeaks” printed information from a cable in which a
Zimbabwe central bank governor told a U.S. ambassador that Mugabe had prostate cancer and was given three years to live by doctors.
Whether Mugabe has cancer or not, the truth is that the 88-year-old will have to hand over the wheels of power soon. The best person to ‘heal’ Zimbabwe and to take it back to its previous economic success is its vice president, Joyce Mujuru, a preacher of peace and unity and the only woman with a respected voice in the ruling Zanu-PF. Indeed, she is the only person who can reform the party.
Under normal circumstances, Mujuru would automatically succeed Mugabe, but the clear presidential choice is the defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, one of Africa’s most feared men.
Should Mugabe’s wish come true, Zimbabwe will be brought to its knees and it is civilians who are going to feel the pain of economical kneeling.
Munangagwa is nicknamed "crocodile," after he allegedly led a team of North-Korea trained soldiers that executed over 20,000 supporters of Mugabe’s rival, Joshua Nkomo, in what has come to be known as the Gukurahundi massacres in 1987.
He is also likely to receive a lot of support from Zanu-PF hooligans because their party thrives on violence.
According to The Sunday Telegraph, Mnangagwa is being groomed to take over both as party and state leader after the next polls, whose date is yet to be set.
He has long been seen as a front-runner ahead of Mujuru, who with her late husband, was reported to be leading another faction gearing to replace Mugabe.
Mujuru’s husband Solomon, died last year in a mysterious fire at his Beatrice farm house — leaving the first female vice president in the country without a shield and a helper to rise to the top.
John Makumbe, a University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer told the Daily News on Thursday that Mujuru could actually give the opposition MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who is part of the fragile coalition government, more of a run for his money than Mnangagwa.
“I think it will be unwise for Mugabe to hand over power to Mnangagwa because he is not popular within Zanu-PF and he can’t win the hearts and minds of the people at large. I would advise Mugabe to give Mujuru as she has no history of violence and she is one person who is democratically minded, she hates violence and has an open door policy to other political players,” Makumbe said.
Africa can only hope and pray that the realm of power lands in the hands of Amai Mujuru.