‘Mugabe afraid of being prosecuted’

FILE - In this April 18, 2016 file photo, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe delivers the key note address during Zimbabwe's 36th Independence day celebrations in Harare. Veterans of Zimbabwe's independence war made a significant break with President Mugabe for the first time on Thursday, July 21, 2016, calling him dictatorial, manipulative and egocentric. The Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association has been a pillar of support for the 92-year-old leader for decades, but it released a statement criticizing the man it had long been quick to defend. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi, File)

HARARE – Former Home Affairs minister and leader of Zapu, Dumiso Dabengwa, says President Robert Mugabe does not want to retire because he fears possible prosecution for the country’s dark past which is blamed on him and Zanu PF.

Speaking to the Daily News On Sunday in an exclusive interview yesterday, the revered and softly-spoken liberation struggle stalwart said as a result, Mugabe was probably planning to create a dynastic rule to protect himself from all the acts of human rights violations in the country, including the Gukurahundi massacres of the early 1980s.

“It is unfortunate that the old man lost a glorious time to retire and take a good rest before his end. He is scared of retiring because of the history of human rights violations stretching from the Gukurahundi genocide to Murambatsvina, right up to the total economic destruction.

“So now he seeks to establish a Mugabe dynasty to protect him, his legacy and his family from the law should change take place while he is still alive.

“Resistance to the dynasty from within Zanu PF and the greater Zimbabwe society now makes it impossible for him to retire,” Dabengwa said.

“Today, Mugabe is at the forefront inciting Africa to pull out of the ICC (International Criminal Court). He is doing this for his own personal reasons, not for the good of a continent that has been at the mercy of ruthless dictators such as him.

“His fear is to face justice for his dark human rights violations in the event he loses power, which is inevitable. Such are the fears of a dictator whose hands drip of the blood of innocent Zimbabweans from all facets of life,” Dabengwa charged further.

Analysts have previously said Mugabe’s failure to resolve Zanu PF’s succession riddle is fuelling the infighting which is devouring the troubled former liberation movement.

The party’s ugly tribal, factional and succession wars have got worse over the past weeks, with Zanu PF split between two bitterly opposed groups — Team Lacoste, which is rallying behind Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s mooted presidential aspirations, and the Generation 40 (G40) camp which is rabidly opposed to the Midlands godfather succeeding Mugabe.

The two factions have escalated their fights ever since Mugabe gave his traditional birthday interview to the ZBC, on the eve of his 93rd birthday last month, in which he rubbished all his lieutenants’ leadership credentials and their chances of succeeding him.

He also said he would soldier on in power — notwithstanding his advanced age and declining health — and would only step down if Zanu PF asked him to do so.

“The call to step down must come from my party, my party at congress, my party at central committee … I will step down.

“But then what do you see? It’s the opposite. They want me to stand for elections. They want me to stand for elections everywhere in the party.

“Of course, if I feel that I can’t do it anymore, I will say so to my party so that they relieve me. But for now I think I can’t say so … The majority of the people feel that there is no replacement, a successor who to them is acceptable, as acceptable as I am,” Mugabe said. – Daily News

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