SPEAKER of Parliament Jacob Mudenda says he is the one who told the then-President Robert Mugabe to submit his resignation letter while telling the now late leader he could suffer the ignominy of being impeached if he did not heed his (speaker) advice.
Mudenda was addressing a Speaker’s stakeholder meeting with Civil Society and Media practitioners in Bulawayo Tuesday.
“I was in contact with President Mugabe and advised him and said ‘why don’t you resign and stop this impeachment because you will not win it’,” Mudenda said.
Following his house arrest by the military in November 2017, a cornered Mugabe took a defiant stance with unconfirmed reports he kept telling his captors he could not give in to their demands to relinquish power.
The shock events were a culmination of a nasty fallout between his wife, loyalists on one hand, and his long-time right-hand man Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was backed by the army, on the other.
As it turned out Mugabe was not willing to surrender power, parliament convened and instituted processes to impeach him, with rival parties Zanu PF and MDC showing rare unison to see the back of a man who had ruled the country with an iron fist for 37 solid years.
The impeachment process was halted in the middle of the session in parliament after Mugabe’s resignation letter was tendered to Mudenda in front of a jubilant, packed house.
Said Mudenda Tuesday, “I talked to him (Mugabe) over the phone because I did not want him to suffer the consequences of the impeachment because I respected him.
“I said ‘do not allow yourself to go through this damming process’.”
Turning to Grace Mugabe, Mudenda said the former First Lady had usurped the powers of the President, going to the extent of summoning State vice presidents to give them some instructions.
Mnangagwa was then co-VP.
“They would come to Grace with notebooks and told what to do. Where have you seen that in the world? First Lady tossing around Vice presidents! What is that?”
Mudenda also accused Grace of breaching the Constitution by openly challenging the army to shoot her.
Addressing Zanu PF supporters at a Rally in Bindura in Mashonaland Central during the period leading to her husband’s ouster, Grace challenged the army to shoot her.
Said Mudenda, “Asking people who are carrying guns to shoot you and you say you do not care! Which Constitution is that?
“If you read Chapter 11 of the Constitution, you will see that the Defence Forces are there to defend the Constitution of Zimbabwe and the Constitution does not allow a First Lady to be prominent in the rule of the country.”
Mudenda said the coup was supported by everyone including opposition parties.
“On November 17 (2017), it is not only Security Forces who marched. All the people, all political parties were in the streets celebrating. If they did not agree with what had happened, why did they celebrate?”
He said the High Court also endorsed Mugabe’s removal.
“Some people went to the Court and said that it was illegal and the court said it was very legal,” said the Zanu PF politburo member.