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Vol 47 No 23

Published 17th November 2006


Zimbabwe

Surreal succession

Party factions jostle for power, fearing that Mugabe's departure will be worse than his presidency

Robert Mugabe's government has presided for the past five years over the world's fastest shrinking economy - and achieved the world's worst mortality rates. Yet the main argument at the ruling party's annual conference on 14-17 December is about whether the President will retire in 2008 or 2010. A belated agenda will be announced by John Nkomo, Chairman of the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), and the party Spokesman, Nathan Shamuyarira. The party is divided and the various factions are manoeuvring for President Mugabe's much-postponed succession. Onlookers must unravel elaborate codes and historical postures. A quick decision is needed on whether to postpone the presidential election from March 2008 until 2010, when parliamentary elections are due. Simultaneous elections are neat, because the same party is likely to win both - as ZANU-PF has done since 1980.

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