The ongoing saga of a Mugabe removal with its many jolts and twists evidences a meandering tale of fumbling on part of Zanu PF war veterans, that still has Mugabe in power. On Thursday November 16, 2017 we were unexpectedly informed that Zimbabwe Defence Force under the leadership of General Constantino Chiwenga has effectively taken over the governance of Zimbabwe by placing its President R. G. Mugabe under house arrest. Mugabe in a telephonic conversation with the SADC Chair, President Zuma confirmed that he was in good shape though confined to his residence. Chiwenga and his team were at pains to explain the coup was not really a coup since there were ongoing negotiations.
Contrary to the house arrest claims by Friday around midday we saw president Mugabe participating in an academic event duly dressed in his academic accouterments. Clearly the coup of a house-arrest failed. It didn’t take much time before we were informed the people of Zimbabwe will be brought to the streets on Saturay in large numbers. Indeed Saturday saw peaceful marches of large numbers all over Harare demanding Mugabe must go and with placards of ‘ZDF freed us’. I must applaud the Zimbabweans for the discipline maintained throughout thus far, as South African we can learn a thing or two when it comes to being respectful towards the infrastructure whenever we go to the streets to protest .
On Sunday night President Mugabe flanked by the same army generals that claimed to have taken him under house arrest, delivered what some call his 478th state address. In what was expected to be his swansong Mugabe against the expectations of many surprised those who expected his imminent resignation, he instead referred to the upcoming ZANU PF conference of December 2017 which he categorically referred to as he will preside over.
Whatever the military leadership who flanked him may have hoped for, they were for all of us to see upstaged and Mugabe remains Zimbabwe’s president as I pen this note. Zanu-PF or should we say a faction of the party more accurately defined in war veteran status claim resorted to an urgent meeting where it amongst other adopted resolutions that confirmed Mugabe as fired by the party. It is a prerequisite that the party first fire its deployed president for the motion of impeachment and or recall to be given effect.
A Monday November 20th, noon deadline was set by the party, this deadline demanded Mugabe resign or face impending impeachment. Mugabe needless to say ignored this deadline too and continues to serve as president of Zimbabwe.
We are told an impeachment process will be initiated and coming Thursday a week later is now touted as a set time frame to have this finalised. I cant help but seeing a the campaign to have Mugabe unseated as fumbling on many fronts not forgetting the communications and public relations sphere. There is much mopping up to do which continues to make the campaign haphazzard less though through and bumbling.
Well we must wait and see, since coming Thursday will mark a whole seven days since the military tanks rolled into Harare being stationed at the broadcasting, airport and Mugabe’s residence. It is seven days since they announced the military is in control of Zimbabwe in what many of us claimed as a bloodless but nevertheless failed coup.
Having taken refuge in what we are told is an official impeachment process as last resort, Zanu-PF veterans are in sixes-and-sevens to explain the unfolding events from which it hopes to harvest this much desired removal of Mugabe. Zanu-PF as led by its war veterans face a number of challenges to realize its core goal of having Mugabe removed and Mngangagwa a fired deputy president installed. It needs a constitutional means to bring Mnangagwa back to a position of power, since Mnangagwa was appointed by the constitutional privilege of the president. It appears that Constitutional means does not automatically exists and Mugabe is aware of it.
Zanu PF’s military war veterans first threatened if Mugabe does not resign they will bring the people back to the streets. This is perhaps a weak threat at two fronts they firstly must realise that their power is not unchallenged and they also must assume they will get the same reaction as last Saturday and that such action will result in Mugabe vacating. The record shows despite the pictures of thousands some clearly exegerated to have counted millions, did not bring about that desire. Meaning why would a second attempt produce the result they hope for? I still hold this action on the part of the veterans are anchored in nothing but self interest where an indivdual Mnangagwa is central, there was none of this action when Joyce Mujuru was offloaded, meaning at another level we may make the case this is the old boys club interest where women don’t matter.
Zanu PF have taken solace in a claimed initiated inpeachment process, the same which is not an easy walk also. Evidently an impeachment process is also not a quick and less tedious process. Firstly any legitimate impeachment will require a motion supported by a two thirds majority in parliament as directed by Section 97 of the Zimbabwean constitution. This would mean the veterans will have to count on the opposition to realise their party aims. This is not a comforting choice for them and therefore they are engaged in forms of negotiating with those whom they deemed as sell-outs to colonial powers.
Secondly, Section 69 of the Constitution affords Mugabe a right to reply to the leveled accusations according to the Veritas legal group. Mugabe thus has recource as a right to reply to parliament’s accusations levelled against him.
Thirdly the claims that makes up a motion to be served in parliament cites Mugabe as ignoring “endemic” and presiding over an “unprecedented economic tailspin”. The challenge with these claims of corruption leveled by the Zanu-PF war veterans is the fact that they have not been formulated and tested in any court for its authenticity. Beyond claiming them in credence, lies the realities of some critical questions: What organ of the state is in Zimbabwe has the constitutional mandate to brings charges against whomever?
May we know since what period the president was presiding over this endemic corruption? For how long has the president been presiding over what they deem this economic tailspin? How does citing the president as wrongdoer prove correct when that citing is not extended to include those of Zanu-PF like Mnangagwa, who served along with him? Can Zanu-PF truly be exonerated in this if so why?
These allegations therefore may purely constitute as contrived, a means to justify a political end that Zanu PF war veterans have determined in this season of army led “Operation Restore Legacy“.
In the fourth instance, Opposition Parties for their own reasons may not be amenable to have the equally questionable Emmerson Mnangagwa as the automatic replacement. Zanu-PF war veterans will have to navigate around this issue with due circumspect since they need the votes of opposition parties in their impeachment attempt. They may have to reconsider Mnangagwa. This is perhaps rahps an impossible consideration since Mnangagwa is the reason for and epicentre of the military coup and the war veterans automatic choice for leadership not having him will send further confusing signals and unearth more communication challenges in what is clearly becoming an outdrawn process.
Those who assumed removing Mugabe will be an easy task are learning it simply is not. The military is compromised since it can be argued Zanu PF war veterans have used state resources to deal with party political matters.
I am not convinced that Mugabe is not using his means to prove the war veterans as really fumbling from beginning to end. He has invited the We he self exiled Mnangagwa for talk on the current impasse. Mnangagwa on the other hand is demanding Mugabe step down before he returns to Zimbabwe. As we all know this failed coup from the start had nothing to do with the Zimbabwean people it was always about war veterans and Zanu PF elites in a tussle for power exerting themselves in claims of legacy defense. A first to claim to their roles and last to deny their conjoined and direct role in what Zimbabwe has become under the leadership for 37 years.
Perhaps more worrisome is should the War veterans succeed to have Mnangagwa installed they would now claim a dual legacy first in 1980 liberation victory that produced Mugabe and second in 2017 by getting rid of him. With this they will eternalize their claim of being the people’s liberators when we all know they can never claim that without admitting their role in the people’s misery.
Clyde N. S. Ramalaine