Factionalism and Robert Mugabe’s Leadership in Zimbabwe
In the 1980s, Robert Mugabe was seen as an icon in Zimbabwe and internationally. By the 1990s, voices of dissent against his leadership were beginning to emerge, together with fractures in his party. Since the late 1990s, however, opposition has grown with the formation of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and bigger, influential civil society organizations. But Mugabe (who turned 90 years old in 2014), having won another presidential term in July 2013 in the face of allegations of vote rigging, has managed to cling to power (www.dailynews.co.zw/articles/2013/08/11/nikuv-paid-10-million-to-rig-polls-mdc, last accessed April 16, 2014). He has now had an unbroken 34 years in government and 50 years in the leadership structures of the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU). To some, Mugabe is a legendary and inspirational figure whose personality generates mixed emotions, yet to others, he is a divisive figure who brooks no opposition. Mugabe has three striking attributes—a revolutionary, an intellectual, and a statesman—but these alone do not explain his longevity in power. He also knows how to manage different constituencies of people. The Mugabe of the podium looks different from the Mugabe of the negotiating table, who also differs from the Mugabe at social functions, who is viewed by those who meet him as an affable, wise, and loving father of the nation (See Showbiz Reporter 2012. See also http://www.zbc.co.zw/news-categories/top-stories/22449-macheso for the same report; see also, “Shingisai Breaks Down in Admiration of Mugabe” 2013).
KeywordsAfrican National Congress Nationalist Movement Provincial Leader Politburo Member High Command
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