An independent Zimbabwe newspaper on Friday claimed that President Robert Mugabe has named four potential successors, and they do not include Vice-President Joyce Mujuru.
The Zimbabwe Independent, a respected local weekly, claimed Mugabe told South African President Thabo Mbeki that the four serious candidates to succeed him were Emmerson Mnangagwa, Sydney Sekeramayi, John Nkomo and Simba Makoni.
All four are senior members of the ruling Zanu-PF politburo.
Mnangagwa is the minister of rural housing, Nkomo is the speaker of Parliament, Sekeramayi is the defence minister and Makoni is a former minister of finance.
Mugabe did not mention Mujuru’s name, said the Independent. Nor did he mention Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono, who many believe has presidential ambitions.
The 83-year old president also insisted he needed to stand as candidate in next year’s polls so as to hold the fractured ruling party together, claimed the newspaper.
Presidential spokesperson George Charamba has flatly denied the report.
”Don’t waste my time on such speculation and rumour-mongering,” he told the Independent.
But the claims will bolster reports doing the rounds of serious infighting within Zanu-PF.
Mujuru, Zimbabwe’s first-ever female vice president, was hoisted into power by Mugabe in late 2004 in a surprise nomination that left tempers simmering.
The long-time Zimbabwean leader suggested then that Mujuru could succeed him. But the wife of powerful former army commander Solomon appears to have fallen from grace.
The Independent said Mbeki, who is mediating talks between Zanu-PF and Zimbabwe’s opposition Movement for Democratic Change, asked Mugabe who his possible successor was so that regional countries could help prepare for the transition.
Mugabe foresaw problems for all four possible candidates and insisted that was why he had to stand in elections next year, the report said. — Sapa-dpa