He may be ninety years old and rumoured to have cancer, but Robert Mugabe is running unchallenged for the ZANU-PF leadership as the party begins its congress - and is playing a decisive hand in the choice of his successor. Hayley Platt reports.
Zimbabwe's leader showed little sign of his 90 years when he addressed his ZANU-PF party congress. In true Mugabe style he began on the attack - lashing out at party members he said were plotting to oust him from the presidency. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ZIMBABWEAN PRESIDENT, ROBERT MUGABE, SAYING; "As we thought we were working together, they were doing their own thing, a cabal, parallel to the party. A cabal is an organisation planning their own future, planning how they could change the leadership of the party, planning about kicking the president out of power." Robert Mugabe is Africa's longest ruling leader. And looks set for another five years at the head of his party. But questions remain over who might succeed him after that. Vice President Joice Mujuru seemed his most likely successor. But Mugabe's wife Grace has put paid to that - accusing Joice of corruption and even a plot to assassinate her husband. Political analyst Piers Pigou. (SOUNDBITE) (English) POLITICAL ANALYST, PIERS PIGOU, SAYING: "As congress gets going this week, he's clearly now aligned himself very openly with the way that the forces have been moving, which is the removal of Joice Mujuru and key lieutenants that have been loyal to her in favour of elements who are seen as loyal to the justice minister Emmerson Manangwanga." Last week Mugabe changed the constitution of ZANU-PF, allowing him to appoint his deputies, effectively giving himself absolute control over his succession. Many believe he's been grooming his wife, a former government typist, for the role. (SOUNDBITE) (English) POLITICAL ANALYST, PIERS PIGOU, SAYING: "What we must remember is that whoever finally does take over in the party will also adopt these powers as well, so it makes the successor's position extremely powerful." Grace was expected to be nominated head of the Women's League of Zanu-PF, which will give her a seat on the party's top decision-making body. And possibly Vice President at a later date. That won't go down well with many ordinary Zimbabweans who've dubbed her 'DisGrace' for having an affair with Mugabe when his first wife Sally was still alive - and who fear the founding of a Mugabe dynasty. ///