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Vol 37 No 3

Published 2nd February 1996


Zimbabwe

Septuagenarian struggle

The old guard's time is almost over but nobody knows who will clear up after them

Nobody doubts that President Robert Mugabe will win a fresh six-year term of office at the presidential election on 16-17 March. The real question is how much of the term he wants to serve. He is 72 and his retirement home in the plush Harare suburb of Borrowdale Brook is almost complete. The house is bleak with blank external walls and a screen of barrack-like outbuildings: secrecy and security have become obsessions for the lonely leader, who has told some of his few close associates that his ambition is to complete the academic doctorate he began a few years ago. Some believe he may choose to leave office in mid-term, keeping control right to the end.

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