Tokyo – Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, 92, has opened up about the succession battles within his ruling Zanu-PF party, airing his views on the kind of person he thinks should be his successor.
According to the state-owned Herald newspaper, the nonagenarian described the person to take over from him as someone who must be "people oriented" and ready to defend the country from neo-colonialism.
Mugabe, however, could not be drawn into naming his preferred successor.
"When we waged the struggle, it was a people's struggle for the freedom of our people and that should remain objective of the leaders in the future. He needs to be people oriented to push that the people remain as free as possible and defend and protect them from any outsider," Mugabe was quoted saying.
Zanu-PF has been riven by factionalism for years, with Mugabe avoiding naming his successor.
However, Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa is seen as the likely successor, owing to his long service to Mugabe since the liberation war days. However, a group of young Turks known as Generation 40 (G40) aligned to First Lady Grace Mugabe are trying to block Mnangagwa's rise to the presidency.
A minister linked the G40 recently accused the country's former liberation fighters of plotting a "surprise" move that would see Mugabe ousted.
The Manicaland Provincial Affairs Minister Mandi Chimene said this after the war veterans passed a vote of no confidence against one of the country vice presidents, Phelekezela Mphoko.
The former struggle fighters accused Mphoko of fanning factionalism and tribalism within Zanu-PF.
Reports indicated that Mphoko was also a member of the G40.