The legacy of the strong men leading liberation parties in Southern Africa is being tested by President Robert Mugabe’s succession quandaries and President Jacob Zuma’s struggles to balance personal and national priorities. As hopes dim of Harare erasing its debts to international creditors, the succession is sucking more and more air out of Zimbabwe’s political sphere. In June, First Lady Grace Mugabe was fighting a war of words with the war veterans and military brass, who favour deputy president Emmerson Mnangagwa and have warned of political instability. Meanwhile, leaked emails about the Gupta family’s ties and the sacking, reappointing and sacking of Eskom chief executive Brief Molefe show that Zuma and those close to him are losing the public perceptions battle in South Africa. The fight for Zuma’s succession, too (see page 36), is eating into the brief time left for him to turn a page on his controversy-filled legacy and stop the slide in the ANC’S popularity. And while Zambia is no longer run by the liberation-era single party, President Edgar Lungu is experimenting in the strong man’s dark arts. Opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema remains in jail on treason charges and the national assembly has imposed a 30-day ban on MPS who boycotted Lungu’s state of the nation address.
Sit-tight presidents unite: Jacob Zuma and Robert Mugabe