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Zimbabwe Ruling Party Brass Said To Nudge Mugabe Into Retirement

Reports have emerged of pressure from senior officials in Zimbabwe's ruling party for President Robert Mugabe, soon to turn 83, to step down before irrevocable damage to the party's standing is caused by the economic crisis wracking the country.

A report Wednesday in London’s Financial Times said “influential figures” in the ruling party want Mr. Mugabe to retire before the country slides much further into ruin.

Those ZANU-PF sources were unnamed, but political analysts in Zimbabwe attest to the tension that is building, saying that an increasing number of ruling party members see Mr. Mugabe becoming more of a liability as popular discontentment rises.

They add that Mr. Mugabe's departure before - or even after - the next presidential election will induce major changes considering the political vacuum he will leave.

Reporter Ndimyake Mwakalyelye of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe sought the views of two seasoned observers of Zimbabwean politics: senior researcher Chris Maroleng of the Institute of Security Studies in Pretoria, South Africa, and senior political science lecturer John Makumbe of the University of Zimbabwe.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...