It was former Chimanimani legislator Michael Mataure who said President Robert Mugabe believed he was the only person who could hold the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front and the country together. And that was 12 years ago.
The media was awash with news that former ZANU-PF treasurer Enos Nkala had said Mugabe was tired but he could not retire because he wanted to hold the party together.
Nkala, who had just met Mugabe, was quoted as saying: “From what we discussed, Mr Mugabe said he was tired and wants to retire, but he cannot do so now because ZANU-PF would die. He cannot leave when the party is in such a state. What is holding him now is managing and containing ZANU-PF to prevent it from disintegrating.”
He has since distanced himself from the sentiment saying he was misquoted.
Mataure told United States embassy officials in October 2000 that Mugabe was ready to discuss his succession at a special congress in March or April 2000, but this was postponed after the constitutional referendum defeat of February 2000.
Mataure said Mugabe instead dug in his heels when it became apparent that the party was losing popular support and the membership wanted him to go.
“Mugabe is unlikely to give serious consideration to anointing a successor, believing that he is the only figure who can hold the party, and the country, together, Mataure opined,” according to the Wikileaks cable dispatched by the US embassy on 13 October 2000.