THE ruling Zanu-PF has reiterated that President Emmerson Mnangagwa will complete two terms in office – further bolting the door against ambitious party bigwigs said to be interested in his job.
Speaking to the media on Wednesday evening, acting Zanu-PF spokesperson Patrick Chinamasa, also said Mnangagwa needed to be given more time to fulfil the promises that he made when he replaced the late former president Robert Mugabe as Zimbabwe’s new leader in November 2017.
This comes as Zimbabwe is in the grip of its worst economic crisis in a decade, which Mnangagwa’s critics blame on him and his administration.
It also comes as the demons of factionalism that gutted Zanu-PF during Mugabe’s last few years in power have returned to the party with a vengeance.
Chinamasa said Zanu-PF wanted Mnangagwa to continue serving in office beyond his current term, which ends in 2023.
“We say this because we do not want politics where things are started and are not finished. You cannot start on a serious development path or project and expect it to be completed in one year or one term.
“We want the president to fulfil what he set out to do when he first won the elections in 2018. In Zanu-PF, we are very clear at all levels of the party. We need uninterrupted development in Zimbabwe. We need peace and tranquillity so that we can have political stability and chart our own development path,” Chinamasa said.
ZANU-PF spokesperson Patrick Chinamasa
This comes after Mnangagwa himself readily admitted in 2018 that he was aware of plots to unseat him by some disgruntled Zanu-PF bigwigs, through impeachment efforts with the opposition.
Addressing Zanu-PF supporters after the party’s chaotic primary elections in May of that year, the ruling party leader also warned the supposed plotters that it would not be easy to impeach him.
“I got intelligence that some of thosemwho have won these primary elections have two minds. “They have gone to join the Zanu-PF wagon using various tricks, money included, to be elected with a possible view that once in Parliament they will band together and move a motion of impeachment.
“There are two things I would want you to know. First, you must realise that the Constitution provides the basis of impeachment and such basis must be fulfilled before impeachment proceedings begin. Secondly, our Constitution provides a tool, an instrument to chuck out from Parliament any member who we think is not Zanu-PF anymore,” Mnangagwa said then.
In February this year, the MDC also made sensational claims that it was working with some disgruntled Zanu-PF MPs to impeach Mnangagwa over the country’s worsening economic rot, as well as the recent killings of civilians by security forces.
“Impeachment is one of the available ways to the country to get rid of this dictator. There are many people in Zanu-PF who are fed up with his brutal rule and they have been whispering to and encouraging us to take that move (impeachment).
“There is, therefore, no doubt that impeachment can be carried out … every possible card is on the table, but I will not divulge our next strategy for now. “Violation of the Constitution is central to every impeachment process, the main one being the crimes against humanity that were committed on the people of Zimbabwe in August 2018 and in January 2019,” combative MDC Alliance deputy national chairperson Job Sikhala told the Daily News then.
The larger-than-life Zengeza West MP was referring to the August 1, 2018 army shootings which left at least six innocent civilians dead – after soldiers used live ammunition to quell an ugly demonstration that had broken out in
Security forces were further accused of killing at least 20 civilians in January 2019 following deadly riots which erupted in Harare, Bulawayo and several other towns – after a steep fuel price hike that was announced by Mnangagwa ahead of his trips to Eastern Europe at the time. Sikhala said all this formed part of the grounds to impeach Mnangagwa – who later set up a commission of inquiry to deal with the 2018 killings.
Rights groups and Western powers have also demanded punishment for security forces accused of killing civilians.
Under the country’s jurisprudence, impeachment is a process that may be used to charge and to remove from office public officials accused of serious misconduct.
Section 97 of the Constitution says the Senate and the National Assembly, by a joint resolution passed by at least one-half of their total membership, can deal with the question of whether the president or a vice president should be removed from office for various reasons.
But a president can only be removed from office if he or she is found to have engaged in acts of serious misconduct; has failed to obey, uphold or defend the Constitution; and wilfully violates the Constitution or is unable to perform the functions of the highest office in the land because of physical or mental incapacity.
Meanwhile, speaking at the same press conference with Chinamasa on Wednesday, Zanu-PF national political commissar Victor Matemadanda reiterated that there was no friction between Mnangagwa and one of his deputies Constantino Chiwenga.
“People trying to create opinions these days are saying there is a faction, one that is pro the president and the other one pro vice president (Chiwenga). “I don’t know where they are getting this. It is in fact the vice president at the Matabeleland South conference who said the president was going to be helped by the party to fulfil his constitutional terms and how does he then come back and say he has a faction … when he is the number one supporter of the president?” Matemadanda asked.
“There is no faction … no misunderstanding and no any sort of commotion in Zanu-PF. We have never sat to discuss any such problems and to the best of our knowledge there is nothing like that,” he added.
Zanu-PF’s brutal factional, tribal and succession wars that had long ravaged the ruling party were temporarily ended in dramatic fashion by the military which rolled its tanks into Harare on November 15, 2017 – after deciding that they had had enough of Mugabe and his erratic wife Grace.
However, the demons of factionalism in the party have returned with renewed vigour as highlighted by the brouhaha surrounding the party’s reintroduced district coordinating committees (DCCs) – whose elections are yet to be held.
Last week’s meetings of the party’s provincial co-ordinating committees (PCCs) that were held in eight provinces to manage the selection of candidates for the DCC elections were unsurprisingly marred by allegations of factionalism, tribalism and name-dropping.
Things got so bad that some desperate senior party officials allegedly abused the names of Mnangagwa and Chiwenga in a bid to “force through the names of their preferred candidates”.
This came as the countdown to the DCC elections was also soiled by damaging allegations of dirty money changing hands – amid unproven claims that remnants of the party’s vanquished Generation 40 (G40) faction were burning the midnight oil to influence the outcome of the elections, in an alleged bid to engineer their group’s political comeback.