Zimbabwe – Harare – A Zimbabwean opposition leader has reportedly warned of total collapse the day President Robert Mugabe “does not wake up”.
Former finance minister Tendai Biti, who is the People’s Democratic Party leader, warned that Zimbabweans should brace themselves for civil war if Mugabe “does not wake up one morning”, a New Zimbabwe.com report said.
Biti’s remarks came as succession battles within Mugabe’s party continued to widen, with individuals positioning themselves to succeed the 91-year-old veteran leader.
A power struggle was reportedly raging between Mugabe’s deputy Emmerson Mnangagwa and a group of ambitious politicians, including Higher Education Minister Jonathan Moyo and Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Saviour Kasukuwere.
“How will Zimbabwe react when its president, who is nearing 92 years, does not wake up one morning?… There will be chaos in the faction-ridden Zanu-PF and Zimbabwe needs a soft landing to avoid a total collapse,” Biti was quoted as saying.
Sole unifying element
This was not the first time that Biti has warned of chaos in Zimbabwe. Last month he said the cracks in Zanu-PF had reached “danderous level” that could plunge the country into civil unrest.
“As long as Mugabe is alive, those factions will be able to hide behind him as the sole unifying element. But once he is gone, which could be anytime, disaster looms because these factions — as was demonstrated during the war against Joice Mujuru — are not capable of dialogue and they use violence and delegitimation as an instrument of political arbitration,” Biti was quoted as saying at the time.
Many had expected the factionalism in Zanu-PF to be extinguished following the expulsion of former vice-president Joice Mujuru from the party.
Mujuru was kicked out of the ruling party last year, with several other senior party officials, following allegations of plotting against Mugabe.
The expulsions, however, failed to address the root cause of factionalism — the unresolved succession conundrum, according to a report by the Zimbabwe Independent.