Itai Mushekwe/LONDON – President Emmerson Mnangagwa, is reportedly on the verge of becoming the shortest serving leader in the country’s history, amid confirmed reports that the die-hard politician has been given a deadline of approximately this time next year to vacate power by the military, Spotlight Zimbabwe reported.
So dire is the situation and boiling tensions in the corridors of power, that Mnangagwa is said to have pleaded for a political grace period of until August 2020 to step down, as a faction aligned to Vice President Rtd General Constantino Chiwenga, wanted him gone by December this year, as soon as the ruling Zanu PF party had finished meeting for it’s 18th National People’s Conference in Mashonaland East province during the same month, according to close sources inside the presidency.
“A lot is happening behind closed doors, don’t be tricked by the president’s brave face,” the sources said. “The security chiefs from the Joint Operations Command wanted him gone by Christmas, and he was supposed to bid farewell during Zanu PF’s conference in December, go for his annual holiday and never return paving way for the vice president to takeover. To that effect the army was also going to call for a special ruling party congress in early 2020, to reconfigure the party’s presidium with Chiwenga as new first secretary, but his health issues have set back the plan. Mnangagwa then pleaded for more time, and a political grace period of at least another 12 months until the end of August 2020 to finish implementing a string of economic agreements he signed when he visited Eurasia in January.”
The presidency insiders said indications are that Mnangagwa might actually be forced out early, and the military was likely to tap into the oppositions series of protests and stayaways, as a vehicle to show Mnangagwa the door.
“We are likely going to see more of a forced ouster, similar to the November 2017 military intervention, which is not necessarily a coup, but this time the army itself will fill the streets and encourage people to stayaway until Mnangagwa resigns,” the insiders said.
“This is because his faction is attempting to resist his removal, and buying time for him to participate in the 2023 presidential polls in line with their resolution passed at the 17th annual party Indaba in Matabeleland South last year. They’re advanced plans to turn these opposition protests and stayaway campaigns into a military managed and sponsored path to get rid of Mnangagwa, and the opposition will take shared credit for the process. Ask yourself why the latest countrywide demonstrations, which had initially received a nod were cancelled at the very last minute? JOC is run by Chiwenga and had he been in the country, we could have been talking in a new Zimbabwe altogether. The VP is holding the keys to Mnangagwa’s push out of power, after realising that he has failed to restore the economy and has an agenda of his own together with some foreign countries (names supplied) supporting him, to parcel them this country on their tables.”
Mnangagwa was reported to have given the green light for the opposition to stage their demonstrations a fortnight ago, without interference from the security forces before he left for a Sadc meeting in Tanzania, but the police issued a last minute prohibition order against the demonstrations. Independent legislator for Norton Temba Mliswa has absolved Mnangagwa of any role in the banning of the August 16 protest, claiming on his twitter handle that the president, was being set up instead. “I’m convinced that people are setting up President Emmerson Mnangagwa whilst he’s away at a regional SADC meeting. Whoever is briefing security seems to be misleading them,” Mliswa tweeted.
Recently National Patriotic Front spokesperson, Jealousy Mawarire, said the army should be invited to be part of the national dialogue because it had taken control of Zanu PF. Speaking during a dialogue meeting funded by Zimbabwe Council of Churches Mawarire said: “We made a mistake in 2018 to allow political parties to dialogue on their own. I believe that what we need now is an inclusive dialogue process that includes the army because the problem in this country is the army. The army is the one that moved in and took over Zanu PF. Zanu PF now belongs to the army and we are favored with the minutes of the army which are signed. The army said they are taking over Zanu PF and imposed someone who was chased from the party. I expect Generals Sibusiso Moyo, Philip Sibanda and Chiwenga in their full military regalia to tell us why they took over Zanu PF.”
Spotlight Zimbabwe reported on 14 May 2019, that Mnangagwa was due to tender his resignation as the country’s leader in less than twelve months, to avoid a humiliating exit, after failing to resolve Zimbabwe’s economic crisis and suffering an alleged business fallout with a powerful military faction rooting for Chiwenga, to either take over or name a successor to finish off his term.
We also ran another story early this month revealing that Chiwenga, has started to fully recover from his health woes at a top notch Beijing military hospital and is bouncing back.
Government confirmed the development this week, through Mnangagwa’s wordsmith, George Charamba, who told local media that Chiwenga is on the mend and responding well to treatment.
“He is still in China, but he is doing amazingly well, and I spoke to him at the beginning of (last) week, he is ebullient and very sharp. President Mnangagwa also spoke to him last Monday and he said he is on the mend and is responding to treatment very well.”
Political analyst Dr Pedzisai Ruhanya also posted on Twitter that people should be excited because the General was getting better.
“Don’t listen to rumors, Gen VP Chiwenga is well and recovering big time. Get this from the Zaka villager. Calm down fellow citizens! The next few months are going to be very interesting in Zanu-PF politics. Take note fellow compatriots!”
Ruhanya also said Zimbabweans needs factions in Zanu PF for the party to collapse.
“Zanu PF and Zimbabwe politics without factional and elite fights do not mean anything to me. For authoritarian erosion, breakdown and possible collapse factions in Zanu PF must not die. Thats why Gen VP Chiwenga must be part of the dynamics than celebrating his demise.”
Military intelligence sources last week said Mnangagwa’s continued stay in office as president, was now coming to an end, and that the process of his departure will begin with the VP’s return from China.
“Chiwenga is not in a rush to return to Zimbabwe for strategic purposes,” the sources said. “Had our VP been fit and in the country Mnangagwa was going to be out of office by December. The truth is that when the VP returns Mnangagwa’s time will be up. The rift between the two is now serious and worse than before. Chiwenga we gather has not been willing to talk to Mnangagwa, but the president has been pestering him with phone calls in China. The nation is in for a shock when he comes back from Beijing, our team has established a lot of disturbing facts and intelligence around the VP’s illness and poisoning, and many heads in Zanu PF and government are going to roll.”
The last time Chiwenga was in China in November 2017, former leader President Robert Mugabe’s administration allegedly sought to arrest him on treason related charges, but Chiwenga got wind of the plot, and a strong contigent of loyalist troops arrived at the airport, to prevent his detention.
Chiwenga’s backers are said to be in favour of the VP choosing the right timing to return home, as they want him to strike at Mnangagwa without further ado, amid political grapevine that Mnangagwa’s allies prefer for the president to act decisively on Chiwenga during his current point of weakness caused by poor health, by possibly pressuring him to retire on full presidential packages or take the unlikely and very risky route of raising graft charges against him using, the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) to strip him of his powerful job.
A private weekly reported last week, that Mnangagwa was gunning for ex-vice-president Phelekezela Mphoko after picking up intelligence that he is reportedly working with some senior Zanu PF officials linked to Chiwenga and remnants of the G40 faction to launch a court application challenging Mnangagwa’s legitimacy. The court challenge, according to the newspaper, was meant to be premised around the contestation that Mnangagwa was unconstitutionally and unprocedurally appointed president after the November 2017 military coup which toppled former president Robert Mugabe.