gtag('config', 'UA-12595121-1'); Mnangagwa Retirement Announcement Seen Gaslighting Zanu-PF Internal Power Struggles – The Zimbabwe Mail

Mnangagwa Retirement Announcement Seen Gaslighting Zanu-PF Internal Power Struggles

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HARARE – President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s recent declaration that he will retire in 2028, in line with Zimbabwe’s national constitution, has sent ripples through the political landscape.

This announcement, made in Mutare, comes in the wake of mounting military pressure and internal power struggles within the ruling Zanu-PF party, particularly after the military’s sidelining in the 2023 elections. Despite efforts from his supporters to extend his tenure beyond 2028, Mnangagwa has reaffirmed his commitment to constitutional limits, though internal party factions continue to advocate for his prolonged stay.

The 2023 elections marked a significant turning point in Zimbabwean politics. Intelligence-backed groups managed to marginalize the military’s influence, leading to the rise of key figures like Deputy General Constantino Chiwenga and Zimbabwe National Army commander Lieutenant-General Anselem Sanyatwe.

These figures have become central to succession plans within Zanu-PF, as the military, historically a dominant force in Zimbabwean politics, seeks to reclaim control over the succession process. The military insists that Mnangagwa, who came to power through a 2017 coup, must step down by or before 2028.

Zimbabwe is currently grappling with severe economic hardships, with rising unemployment and rampant corruption fueling discontent among the youth. These issues have intensified calls for new leadership from both military leaders and factions within Zanu-PF.

Mnangagwa, who was initially expected to leave office in 2023 as per the coup agreement, sought to extend his tenure. However, increasing military pressure forced him to reconsider his plans. Sanyatwe, loyal to Chiwenga, is now working to consolidate military influence in anticipation of the post-2028 era, aiming to ensure Zanu-PF’s continued dominance under a new leader selected through orchestrated “command voting.”

The battle for Mnangagwa’s successor is heating up, with Vice President Constantino Chiwenga positioning himself as a key contender. The influence of war veterans, who have historically played a significant role in Zimbabwean politics, is also a critical factor in the succession battle. The war veterans’ backing could be pivotal for any candidate aiming to secure the presidency.

Furthermore, the Zanu-PF succession battles are not just confined to the military and war veterans; they also involve various factions within the party, including those loyal to former President Robert Mugabe, the G40 faction, and figures like Saviour Kasukuwere. Tribal interests further complicate the succession dynamics, as different groups vie for power and representation within the party and government.

These internal maneuvers raise significant concerns about their impact on democratic norms and constitutional governance in Zimbabwe. The military’s historical role, from the liberation struggle to contemporary politics, underscores its enduring influence and periodic interventions in electoral processes and leadership transitions.

Mnangagwa’s decision to comply with retirement plans, albeit under pressure, reflects a delicate balance between political survival and military assertiveness. This scenario is reminiscent of Zimbabwe’s tumultuous political history under successive regimes.

As Zimbabwe navigates these complex internal dynamics, the military’s interventionist approach raises critical questions about the future of the country’s democratic institutions and the rule of law. Mnangagwa’s agreement to step down contrasts with past leaders’ resistance to military influence, highlighting the ongoing challenges in Zimbabwe’s political landscape. The path to 2028 will be closely watched, as the interplay between political factions, military influence, and public discontent will shape the future of Zimbabwean politics.

President Mnangagwa’s announcement to retire in 2028 marks a significant moment in Zimbabwe’s political trajectory. The mounting military pressure and internal Zanu-PF struggles underscore the complexities of the country’s governance and the persistent influence of the military. As Zimbabwe prepares for a leadership transition, the delicate balance between maintaining constitutional limits and managing internal power dynamics will be crucial in determining the nation’s political future.