Mugabe ill health pushes ZANU PF into the brink

President Robert Mugabe’s failing health will push Zanu-PF and the service chiefs to neutralise and eliminate the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in the coming months, a leading economic and political commentator has warned.

John Robertson said Zanu-PF’s attempts to consolidate its position, especially in the rural areas, have produced disappointing results - instead, the party has been disturbed by the extent to which the MDC, led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, has gained popularity in its former strongholds.

“The party’s contention all along has been that it alone is qualified to be the ruling party and several pronouncements from senior officials have re-stated and reaffirmed this position, the most recent claiming that even if the MDC were to win the election, it would not be allowed to take office,” Robertson said at an Institute for Security Studies seminar.

“However, to remove the possibility, Zanu-PF has decided to direct all available resources to winning a huge majority by using the coming months to neutralise and eliminate the opposition.

“Robert Mugabe’s health appears to have made this an urgent objective, the belief being that the security of Zanu-PF’s officials depends upon Mugabe being re-elected and then, before standing down, nominating his successor, who will look after their interests,” he said.

He warned that the means by which Zanu-PF was planning to neutralise the MDC were being discussed and debated in various circles, adding that they pointed to the deployment of army and police throughout the country, some to the recruitment drive for youth militia and some to forced attendance at indoctrination meetings in rural villages.

“Security issues are of concern because Zanu-PF has effectively reaffirmed its claim that it is the one and only legitimate ruling party and it has done this through the silent proclamation that the primary function of security forces is to ensure the party’s survival and success, whatever the cost to the civil rights and the freedoms of others,” said Robertson.

Mugabe’s health has been the subject of frenzied speculation in recent weeks, with his critics suggesting that the 86-year-old leader is feeling the strain of advanced age.

Reports have repeatedly said Mugabe is suffering from bladder and heart-related problems, with some suggesting that his private Malaysian doctor is now based in Harare. But Mugabe has scoffed at the rumours of his ill armyt commander

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