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Letters from Tokyo
Robert Mugabe, 93, Scoffs at Anti-Mugabe Alliance in Zimbabwe
By Sawako Utsumi
Tokyo Correspondent
President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe

President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe at the ripe old age of 93 is still adamant that he will not hand over the reigns of power. Of course, Mugabe knows full well that Zanu-PF can manipulate and utilise the full instruments of the centralised state. Therefore, he will not be losing any sleep over the alliance between Morgan Tsvangirai and Joice Mujuru.

Indeed, with Mujuru being the Vice-President of Zimbabwe under Mugabe, then scepticism abounds. Similarly, Tsvangirai dismayed many individuals within Zimbabwe when he became the prime minister of this nation between 2009-2013. In other words, one individual is part of the traditional ruling party that served openly under Mugabe. On the other hand, Tsvangirai is tainted by the coalition he entered and because he failed to push his advantages against a weakened Mugabe in the past.

Tsvangirai stated, “This is just the beginning of the building blocks towards establishing a broad alliance to confront Zanu-PF between now and the next election.”

Elections are scheduled next year but despite the words of Tsvangirai his choice of Mujuru will taint him. At the same time, Tsvangirai can create but he equally can destroy. Hence, the party with the stamp of Tsvangirai on it happens to have split into four entities since its creation in 1999. Therefore, with questions being raised about forming an anti-Mugabe alliance with Mujuru, it appears that initial unity may evaporate in time.

Also, it remains to be seen who will become the leading presidential candidate and how the other will respond to a junior role. It could well be that Mujuru is more open to biding her time, unlike Tsvangirai. Either way, these former political enemies will need to spark a new way before allies of both leading politicians will be trusted.

The BBC reports, “President Mugabe is a formidable opponent. He has been accused of stealing elections and using violence to stay in power… Mr Mugabe has previously said he would not be losing any sleep over the proposed coalition.”

It appears that the familiar opponent of Tsvangirai will not worry Mugabe too much. Nor will the tainted reality of Mujuru because it will be hard for her to claim her innocence in supporting Mugabe in the past. Therefore, only the natural reality of health – or the eventual death of Mugabe – seems the most likely reason for a change in leadership in Zimbabwe.

The above story was written by Sawako Utsumi and Lee Jay Walker.

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Sawako Utsumi serves as Tokyo Correspondent of The Seoul Times. She specializes in art, culture, and Japan politics. Her background is in pharmacy and also a professional contemporary artist. Her website is at






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