STRONG indications are that President Robert Mugabe, who recently won another five-year term, is not in a hurry to leave office despite his advanced age and ill-health.
There have been suggestions that Mugabe could retire soon after the elections to pave way for a younger hand-picked successor, that would protect him from possible prosecution for past human rights violations.
Analysts however said, the 89-year-old president, who is the oldest living African head of state, would be around longer than expected, as he still has to solve the succession crisis in Zanu PF, fulfill election promises and reconstruct his battered image.
That definitely would not take a few months but several years for a man, who is running a bankrupt country battling to feed its people and pay international debts.
The analysts said the likelihood of Mugabe, who is still basking in the glory of his controversial election victory, dying in office was very high, because he needed more time to carry through his pledges.
Mugabe was also recently elected deputy chairperson of Sadc at the summit in Malawi, and will assume the chairmanship of the regional body next year.
Analysts said this was too grand a post for the octogenarian leader to pass to a successor, considering that he was battling to leave a memorable legacy.
Political analyst, Dumisani Nkomo said it was highly unlikely that Mugabe would voluntarily leave office in the near-future because he wanted to assume chairmanship of Sadc and consolidate his legacy.
He said Mugabe wanted to be remembered as a president who never lost an election, led Zimbabwe for over three decades and chaired Sadc, among other achievements.
Nkomo said chairing the body would enhance his regional and international stature and that fitted well into his grand legacy-building project.
Nkomo also thinks that Mugabe would not retire soon because he had a young family which he needed to safeguard.
“I see him serving his full term,” said Nkomo. “He may die in office or later give leadership to someone whom he trusts. The fact that he has young children will force him to stay in office a little bit longer.”