HARARE – Tourism minister Walter Mzembi has said he would run for presidency after President Robert Mugabe, if people chose him.
Responding to the BBC’s Sarah Montague in an interview in which he was asked if he would consider bidding for presidency when the recently-turned-93 leader is gone, Mzembi said: “Well, if the people in the future decide that, I will respond. Who wouldn’t stand as president? …if offered the opportunity to be prime minister of Britain today, would you say nay?”
“You answer the purpose and calling. I am a politician and the ultimate end in this journey is where it ends, isn’t it?” he said.
This comes as Mugabe’s party is currently consumed by factional and succession fights, which have seen Zanu PF sharply divided into two camps — Team Lacoste that is linked to Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa and the Generation 40 camp, which is viciously opposed to the Midlands godfather’s ascendency.
While Mzembi’s name has not been bandied among succession hopefuls, he was often associated with former vice president Joice Mujuru’s faction before her dismissal in 2014, an allegation he strenuously denies.
In May 2015, he claimed in an interview with the Daily News that his peers in both government and Zanu PF were plotting his downfall daily, including omitting him on government itineraries.
Mugabe has famously described the flamboyant minister as “the best” in his Cabinet.
“He is forthright and he is full of brilliant ideas,” Mugabe said then.
“They don’t remain in the mind but he makes them take form and he acts upon them. Yes, he has gallivanted across the world from the North to the South but every step he has taken has been to make Zimbabwe better known.”