Zimbabwe’s ruling party Zanu-PF has banned its members from discussing President Robert Mugabe’s succession amid calls by the leader’s wife that he must stay in office until death.
Zanu-PF spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo today told State controlled media that those stoking the succession debate were "mischief makers".
Veterans of Zimbabwe’s 1980s liberation war, who are Zanu-PF, have of late been demanding that Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa must succeed President Mugabe.
The former fighters are locked in a bitter factional war with a group backing First Lady Grace Mugabe.
“Zanu-PF is fully aware of some mischief markers on the succession issue,” Mr Moyo was quoted saying.
“Unless some people suffer from malignant myopia, the position of the party on this matter rests with the pronouncement of the president and first secretary of the party Cde Robert Mugabe at the one million man march held on May 25, 2016 in Harare.
“The hundreds of thousands of people who attended the spectacular event organised by the youth league got the message from the president loud and clear,” he said. “The party is therefore alarmed by the uncalled for debate from some misguided quarters on a matter closed and sealed.”
Zanu-PF youths on May 25 organised a huge solidarity march in support of President Mugabe, dubbed the million-man march.
President Mugabe told the marchers that he would remain in power as long as he could, ostensibly to thwart Western imperialism.
His wife said he would rule from the grave because Zimbabwe had no better leader.
In the past, the First Lady has said she would get her husband a wheelchair or wheelbarrow if he was no longer able to walk to carry out his functions.
President Mugabe, 92, has been in power since Zimbabwe’s independence in 1980. Constitutionally, if he wins the 2018 elections, it would be his last term in office.
Meanwhile, five minor oppositionhave formed a coalition to challenge President Mugabe in general elections set for 2018.
The parties to the coalition, known as the Coalition of Democrats, are the Democratic Assembly Restoration of Empowerment, Zimbabwe United for Democracy, Renewal Democracy of Zimbabwe, Mavambo/Kusile and the smaller Movement for Democratic Change led by Welshman Ncube.
Major opposition parties, the MDC led by former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, the Zimbabwe People First led by former Vice President Joice Mujuru, and the People’s Democratic Party led by former Finance Minister Tendai Biti did not sign the coalition pact.