Sunday 13 December 2009

Mugabe gets five more years

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe is endorsed to lead his ZANU-PF party for another five years and vows to resist demands for changes to the country's security forces.

ZIMBABWE - At 85 Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe is one of the oldest leaders in the world and in the twilight of his political career.

But amongst the ranks of his party Zanu PF he remains popular and has been re endorsed to lead for another five years.

He has led the party since the mid 1970's during a political career which has lasted more than half a century and shows no sign of giving up.

ZIMBABWEAN PRESIDENT ROBERT MUGABE SAYING: "We go back much stronger, a better focused party, ready and raring to go to take on issues that confront us, even problematic ones."

But the veteran leader was forced to share power with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party after losing its parliamentary majority for the first time in March last year.

The coalition has been rocked by differences over how to share power and the MDC is pressing for reform of the security forces it accuses of being used by ZANU-PF to stifle dissent.

Many senior officers in the security forces fought in Zimbabwe's war of independence and remain loyal to Mugabe.

They have vowed never to recognise Tsvangirai as leader.

Now Mugabe has vowed to resist demands from the opposition to change the country's security forces.

ZIMBABWEAN PRESIDENT ROBERT MUGABE SAYING: "and that is the most dependable force we could ever have, it shall not be tampered with , the enemy would want to see it disintegrate and any tactics, manoeuvres, any tactics to tamper with the forces will never be entertained by us."

While Mugabe has managed to remain at the helm of ZANU-PF, a raging battle is underway over who will eventually succeed him, threatening the future of a party that had enjoyed uninterrupted rule from independence in 1980 till last year.

Penny Tweedie, Reuters.

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