8 August 2017

Zimbabwe: ... As Mbeki Engages On Succession

Photo: IRIN
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and former South African president Thabo Mbeki (file photo).

Former South African president Thabo Mbeki met President Robert Mugabe this week to discuss the state of liberation movements and succession problems in the region as well as the need for leadership renewal within ruling parties on both sides of the Limpopo, the Zimbabwe Independent has gathered.

Sources said Mbeki raised the issue of how former liberation movements, including Zanu PF and South Africa's ANC, are engulfed in turmoil due to raging succession fights, corruption and other problems.

"They discussed experiences in South Africa and Zimbabwe as well as issues affecting liberation movements in the region.

Mbeki is passionate about saving liberation movements, especially in Southern Africa. He believes South Africa and Zimbabwe remain key bastions of former liberation movements in the region. He fears if the ANC, Africa's oldest liberation movement, collapses, all others will go down as well.

"There is concern that the demise of the movements in the two countries could signal a death knell in the region given that Zambia and Malawi have been taken over by non-liberation movements."

Mbeki's visit comes on the backdrop of a report done by Chatham House last year which showed that the former liberation movements in the region are on the verge of becoming extinct.

"The ANC has just lost control of major cities in South Africa in the country's municipal elections, registering its worst electoral performance since the end of apartheid in 1994. A vicious power struggle over succession to 92-year-old President Robert Mugabe is heating up in Zimbabwe," reads the report titled Are Southern Africa's Liberation Movements in Crisis?

Renewed armed violence in Mozambique between old civil war foes has seen thousands flee to neighboring Malawi. And in Angola, José Eduardo dos Santos, the world's second longest-serving president, has signalled that he will step down in 2018. All eyes are on who the MPLA chooses as its de facto vice-presidential candidate, and likely dos Santos' successor, for multiparty elections this year. (Angolan Defence minister Joao Lourenco has been chosen to succeed dos Santos). "Since change is in the air, can we see patterns in the political trajectories of southern African countries and whether there is something special about national liberation movements and the governments they have spawned?"

Mbeki also raised Mugabe's succession as he wanted to know who will take over.

Sources said previously Mugabe indicated to Mbeki that either Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa or Defence minister Sydney Sekeramayi would succeed him.

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