Mugabe 'set to announce his retirement'

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The Independent Online

Zimbabwe's president, Robert Mugabe, will announce his retirement in December during Zanu-PF's national congress, a senior executive of the ruling party said yesterday.

Zimbabwe's president, Robert Mugabe, will announce his retirement in December during Zanu-PF's national congress, a senior executive of the ruling party said yesterday.

Nathan Shamuyarira, Zanu's secretary for information, said the congress would be the final decision-making platform about Mr Mugabe's future. But he said it was not clear whether Mr Mugabe would announce an immediate departure or a date to relinquish power. "The congress of the party is a regular congress that is held every five years, and that congress will elect the leaders of the party and you can say that it is at that point that Mugabe will indicate his view of his role in the future," Mr Shamuyarira said.

On Mr Mugabe's successor, he said: "John Nkomo [party chairman] is on a par with Emmerson Mnangagwa [parliamentary speaker]. It depends very much on how Mugabe quits. If Mugabe at the December congress says I am quitting now, Joseph Msika [the vice-president] will take over. It will be very difficult for anyone to oppose him. But if [Mugabe] says I will be retiring in a year's time, then Msika will be out, infighting will be between Mnangagwa and Nkomo."

Mr Mnangagwa has been linked to illicit gold dealings. His name appears on the charge sheet in the case of Mark Mathew Burden, who is accused of having paid Zim$8m (£5,500) into accounts held by Mr Mnangagwa.

Other contenders to succeed Mr Mugabe include the ministers Dydmus Mutasa and Sydney Sekeramayi.

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