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HARARE - Zimbabwe's ruling party has admitted that two factions have been vying to succeed President Robert Mugabe, but says they have "since closed ranks", a state weekly reported.
"Zanu-PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa has admitted to the existence of two factions within the ruling party, but said they have since closed ranks," the state-run Sunday Mail reported yesterday.
Although there have been rumblings of discontent within Zanu-PF, no one has put their head above the parapet to challenge Mugabe's leadership.
"Many people have been talking about [retired army general] Mujuru Solomon and [former speaker of parliament] Emmerson Mnangagwa," Mutasa was reported to have said.
Mutasa said this did not mean Zanu-PF was divided as people had put forward their ambitions, but the party had closed ranks, having decided that 84-year-old Mugabe was their man.
"This happens - it's a political process and if one leader emerges, then others should forget their short-lived ambitions and follow the one who has been selected by the party. For us, that is a democratic process that is necessary," Mutasa said.
In March, Mugabe was chosen by his party to stand as its candidate in presidential elections next year.
The decision was taken after a lengthy closed-doors session of the Zanu-PF central committee in Harare despite growing domestic opposition to Africa's oldest leader.
Mutasa said there was no need to talk about succession for the next six years because the party had chosen Mugabe.
"Everybody is rallying behind him. We are all pleased that he stayed because there is now no need to think of these two groupings which are naturally brought together by the president," Mutasa said. - Sapa-AFP