Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Is Zimbabwe's Mugabe Dying?

According to a report in Monday's The Australian newspaper, Zimbabwe's controversial President Robert Mugabe may be dying in a hospital in Singapore from an undisclosed illness.  The paper goes on to suggest that the illness may be cancer, which has spread throughout his body.  According to one of the many diplomatic documents unearthed in the WikiLeaks data dump, Mugabe had previously battled prostate cancer in 2008.

The 88-year old leader was allegedly in Singapore to oversee his daughter's enrollment in a post-graduate program.  Again, according to The Australian, members of Mugabe's family have rushed to be at his bedside.

Zimbabwe has not known another leader since gaining its independence from Great Britain in 1980.  That leads analysts to predict that Zimbabwe may likely fall into chaos should Mugabe die, since he has not groomed a successor to take either the presidency or leadership of his ZANU-PF party.  Currently Mugabe's ZANU-PF is locked in an uneasy power-sharing agreement with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), which was forged in the wake of the violently-contested 2008 presidential election.  After Mugabe lost the first round of voting to Tsvangirai, Mugabe's supporters launched a campaign of violence against the MDC that drove Tsvangirai out of the run-off election.  International pressure eventually forced the two men to share power.

In a troubling sign of what could happen following the death of Robert Mugabe, there are reports that he has tapped Defense Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa to fill-in for him should he die.  Mnangagwa has been loyal to Mugabe since the struggle to drive out the British.  Over the years Mnangagwa has earned a fearsome reputation and is believed to have been the leader behind the campaign of violence directed against MDC supporters in 2008.
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