Mugabe 'is here to stay'
13 May 2014, 15:30
Cape Town – Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's closest ally in the ruling Zanu-PF party, Didymus Mutasa, has reportedly indicated the 90-year-old will not retire any time soon, declaring the veteran leader "is here to stay".
According to the Daily News, Mutasa stated this despite Mugabe’s advanced age and the economic woes that the country continues to grapple with.
Mutasa said Zanu-PF wanted to entrench Mugabe's grip on power such that laws could be designed to criminalise the discussion of Mugabe's succession publicly and in the media.
Mutasa also warned journalists against publishing stories on Mugabe's health, saying the regime would deal ruthlessly with such scribes.
Mutasa said journalists and people who fuelled speculation on Mugabe's health should be punished severely.
Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe since independence from Britain in 1980. His health has been the subject of much speculation, especially since WikiLeaks released a 2008 US diplomatic cable saying the then central bank chief Gideon Gono had told then-US ambassador James McGee that Mugabe had prostate cancer and had been advised by doctors he had less than five years to live.
The issue of succession has also continued to rock Zanu-PF, a development which reports say has led to "fissures" within the party, as different factions position themselves for the eventual succession of Mugabe.
Indications are that no discussion around Mugabe's succession would be entertained at the party's congress in December, the report said.