The Herald (Harare)

21 April 2014

Zimbabwe: President Speaks On Succession

President Mugabe says he has assessed aspirants angling to succeed him and has no preferred candidate as the people will choose their next leader. The President, who was speaking in an interview with Ghanaian-born British film-maker Roy Agyemang for a BBC documentary, "Robert Mugabe @ 90" that was aired on Saturday evening, said people will elect their leader.

Asked if he had any person he favoured to take over from him when he retires, President Mugabe said: "I have people in mind who would want to be. But I have looked at them.

I have not come to any conclusion as to which one, really, should be. I leave it to the choice of people. Perhaps when we get close to the election I will have some in mind."

President Mugabe reiterated his long-held position that leaders should come from the people.

"It must be leadership that derives from the people, chosen by the people, goes back to the people, listens to the people and is guided by the demands of the people," he said.

Vice President Joice Mujuru, and Justice Minister and Zanu-PF secretary for legal affairs Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa have been touted as front runners to succeed President Mugabe in various sections of the media.

Earlier this month President Mugabe said neither of the two had an automatic ticket to take over leadership of the ruling party and country, as the people were the ultimate arbiters of who would assume the reins.

Addressing the Gushungo clan at Murombedzi Growth Point, President Mugabe said Presidential aspirants would be elected through the Zanu-PF congress.

President Mugabe said VP Mujuru and Cde Mnangagwa were not the only people who could take over from him as the pool of potential leaders was wide.

In the BBC interview, President Mugabe said Britain - which funded the formation and launch of the MDC in 1999 through the Westminster Foundation in a bid to effect regime change in ZImbabwe - had degenerated over the years.

"What has happened to Britain? They have grown small in mind, small in intellect, that wisdom which the likes of Churchill had, where is it?" he asked.

"You can't see it at all. You can't see it in people now with gay habits - shame on them. I pity the one lady I admire, the Queen, that she is in these circumstances. I'm sure down deep she must be groaning (at) the loss of values in Britain. They've gone to the dogs. No respect, gone."

President Mugabe also castigated some indigenous farmers leasing land to white farmers. He said while the number of the culprits doing it was small, the practice still worried Government and it was being dealt with.

The fast-track land reform programme, which triggered the row with Britain that London subsequently internationalised to bring in the wider European Union, the United States and their allies - resulted in some 300 000 black families taking over farms previously owned by 6 000 whites.

However, some of the beneficiaries are leasing land to white former owners.

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