ZIMBABWE is already in the post-Mugabe era and, with the opposition MDC-T "washed up" rebuilding the country can only happen under Zanu PF, veteran academic Ibbo Mandaza has said.
President Robert Mugabe won another five-year term in office last year but at 90 years of age there is concern, even among his inner circle, on whether he still has the energy to see the country out of its current economic mire.
But Mandaza told a Johannesburg briefing on the political and economic climate in Zimbabwe that the country had already moved into a "post-Mugabe era".
"We are already in the post-Mugabe era. We need to prepare arduously for that post-Mugabe era."
Zanu PF is said to be bitterly divided over Mugabe's succession with rival camps now openly forming behind Vice President Joice Mujuru and justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, leaving many anxious over chances of a peaceful transition.
But Mandaza downplayed the significance of the factionalism saying the problem was more "an invention of the media than the reality".
"We should not despair," he was reported as saying by South African media.
"If the transition is constitutional, it will therefore be peaceful. That point needs to be emphasised."
With the opposition MDC-T broken up by another leadership struggle, Zimbabweans can only work with Zanu PF to rebuild the country.
The economic crisis of the last decade had also hit the country, Mandza said, with 50 percent of skilled Zimbabweans leaving to country.
He said countries in the region and overseas had benefited from the exodus with 100 Zimbabweans in senior ranks within Old Mutual in South Africa.
British Rail employed 110 Zimbabwean engineers, Mandaza also claimed. Many other Zimbabweans also hold senior posts at the universities of Cape Town and the Witwatersrand.
He criticised the MDC-T for failing to mobilise this sector when most of those living outside the country were either pro-MDC or just anti-Zanu PF.
But there has also been upside for the country from the brain drain with the Zimbabwe diaspora now sending back $1.7 billion annually to an economy with a national budget of $3.8 billion.