One of the things that could see the diminution of ZANU-PF’s power is a breakup of the current leadership of the party, particularly if President Robert Mugabe should disappear from the scene, according to a report by the Washington-based Centre for Strategic and International Studies.
The report says there are increasing signs of rebellion and resentment on the part of the usually subservient parliamentarians, particularly the younger backbenchers that they play no role in government policy decisions and are against the strict domination of party officials and the cabinet.
It says , at 70, President Mugabe confronts problems of health, age and declining energy, but he has not yet indicated plans to retire probably because there is no obvious successor capable of challenging his position.
Joshua Nkomo, the report says, is not a serious contender. He is ageing and appears to be more concerned with business than with politics.
Mines Minister Eddison Zvobgo, though bright and articulate has a tendency to express his disapproval of government policy too loudly, says the report.
It also says Foreign Affairs Minister Nathan Shamuyarira, once a prime prospect for leadership, is now viewed (especially in business) as inflexible on South Africa and has been omitted by Mugabe on some important external initiatives.
The report says the only other candidate with an international name and recognition, Finance Minister Bernard Chidzero, is more a skilled technocrat than a politician and has been widely rumoured for some time to be about to retire to accept a prominent position in an international organisation.
“His recent unsuccessful candidacy for the position of UN secretary general is regarded as a sign of his ultimate intentions,” the report says.
There is no mention at all of first vice-President Simon Muzenda.