Birthday wishes are pouring in for Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe who turns 92 on Sunday.
Mugabe is expected to spend the day with close family ahead of a huge public celebration next weekend which is expected to cost an estimated of R12 million.
The world’s oldest sitting Head of State, who has been in power for 36 years, is battling his country’s worst drought in years and widespread hunger.
Despite battling rumours of ill health, Zimbabwe’s President is seemingly fit.
Analyst Takura Zhangazha believes that as long as Mugabe refuses to name a successor, the public spats between factions in his Zanu-PF party will continue.
“It is no longer the same in terms of the leadership of his own party, there is a bit more laxity, there is bit more independence of various players. Perhaps he has lost control of the people within the party and managing their ambitions but he has not necessarily lost his grip on power,” says Zhangazha.
A year ago, President Mugabe fired his deputy Joice Mujuru and numerous senior officials for allegedly trying to topple him.
Determined to deal with new threats, his increasingly visible defender, Grace Mugabe, has openly attacked the other faction and created a new culture of open dissent.
Zhangazha believes with no clear successor, factionalists will remain a thorn in the President’s side.
“So they are looking for political space and trying to make as much political ground as possible in order to be the ones who are next in line,” says Zhangazha.