President Robert Mugabe’s days in office are now numbered, as the veteran leader has reportedly secretly bow down to pressure from the country’s securocrats to announce his departure, Spotlight Zimbabwe, has been told.
Mugabe who is fighting to put out the worst political fires of his career, coming from all angles inside the ruling Zanu PF party, the opposition and a growing citizen protest movement, is said to have agreed to step down within months at a recent security meeting in Harare, amid intelligence gathering that Zanu PF could be prematurely toppled from power before 2018 through a forced transitional authority, which it suspects the International Community is likely to sponsor and support via the United Nations route, in the wake of unrest, chaos and police attacks on innocent civilians ensuing in the capital.
Mugabe and his power inner circle normally hold important weekly defence and security meetings every Friday afternoon.
According to two cabinet ministers, who spoke to our reporters in Harare on condition that they be not named, Mugabe also wants his wife Grace, appointed to the position of vice president as condition for his exit, after the security establishment advised that to avoid a transitional authority, VP Emmerson Mnangagwa, is better placed to rescue the party from losing power, by reforming Zanu PF.
They said Mnangagwa, who has reportedly received political backing from London, Beijing, Tehran and Pretoria was ready to be President, and that he has picked Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) Commander, General Constantino Chiwenga, as one of the his deputies should he storm to the presidency as is now most certain.
This means Mnangagwa is now going to finish off Mugabe’s presidential term, and appoint his own cabinet which will act as an in-house Zanu PF transition pending the do or die presidential and parliamentary elections in two years time.
“The military industrial complex in Zimbabwe, which you already know about has come up with their political order to keep Zanu PF in power, and away from foreign meddling,” said one of the ministers during the weekend. “I don’t have a faction myself, but G40 is determined to hold an extraordinary party congress in December, to have a woman appointed into the presidium, in line with seeking gender parity, like it was before when Joice Mujuru was in that office until December 2014.”
The other cabinet minister, who has been in government since 2000 said, top security chiefs have no problem with Grace Mugabe being appointed to be one of the vice presidents, therefore explaining their checkmating of G40, by making a reasonable case for Mugabe to step down for Mnangagwa, if Grace is to be elevated. “That way everyone is a winner,” he said. “I believe this is the one proposal that has motivated the president, but it remains to be seen, if the political pendulum will point in that direction, because a lot is at stake, especially for the young turks who are the clear losers under this arrangement.”
According to Section 26 of the Zanu PF constitution, an early congress may be convened “wherever it is deemed necessary and at the instance of: (a) the majority of the members of the central committee; or (b) the president and first secretary, at the instance of not less than one-third of members of the central committee; or (c) the president and first secretary, at the instance of at least five provincial executive councils by resolutions to that effect”.
Senate President Edna Madzongwe, and Eunice Sandi-Moyo, the Zanu PF Women’s League deputy secretary, have previously been linked to the vice-presidency, but it would now appear, as if all has been a sideshow to allow Grace to manoeuvre.
Mugabe has openly said if asked by the people to leave office, he will gracefully do so. The veteran leader has also been told to vacate office by the country’s war veterans, who have been crucial in supporting his Stalin-like grip on power for over three decades.
“I am at the service of the people,” Mugabe told his party supporters in Bindura last month. “If the people say go, I will go!”
OLD ORDER (2014-2016)
President: Robert Gabriel Mugabe
1st VP: Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa
2nd VP: Phelekezela Mphoko
Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) Boss: General Constantino Guveya Chiwenga
NEW ORDER (2016-2018)
President: Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa
1st VP: General Constantino Guveya Chiwenga
2nd VP: Dr Grace Mugabe
ZDF Boss: Lt General Philip Valerio Sibanda
Home affairs minister, Ignatius Chombo, has accused the West and its security operatives, for sponsoring the instability and mayhem in the country. The U.S, France, Australia and Canada in particular have received a broadside from Harare, for their alleged hand in the current wave of protests and demonstrations rocking Zimbabwe, which they have all denied.
Yesterday Mugabe through his information minister, Christopher Mushohwe, warned American and Canadian envoys, in the country against lecturing his administration on human rights and for supporting opposition parties.
“Zimbabwe is a sovereign state which, is equal to any other in the world, including the US and Canada, whatever illusions ambassadors of those two countries here may harbour in their minds. Beyond diplomatic relations as regulated by the Vienna Conventions, there is nothing else that gives governments of those two countries or their emissaries here any special claim to our politics, or a judgemental role on occurrences,” said minister Mushohwe to the official State media press.
“Their statements last week were not only unacceptably repugnant, but vainly suggested their governments play father figure to a sovereign state, as if Zimbabwe is under some kind of joint US-Canadian trusteeship. For the record, Zimbabwe gained its Independence in 1980 following a national liberation struggle which never enjoyed an iota of support from the West,” he said.
Spotlight Zimbabwe International editor based in Canada, will soon publish a full response from the government in Ottawa.
Last Friday, the United Nations caused authorities in Harare to have cold sweat, after calling on Mugabe and his government to respect people’s rights, adding that they were “closely monitoring the country’s situation”.
UN secretary-general Ban Ki Moon’s spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric expressed concern over police brutality in Zimbabwe.
“We’re obviously watching the situation in Zimbabwe very closely. We urge the authorities, the government of Zimbabwe, to ensure that people’s right to peaceful protest and assembly be fully respected,” said Dujarric.
Government sources said Harare was wary of “machinations by the opposition” to place Zimbabwe on the radar of the UN and provoking security forces through violent demonstrations, to make a valid case for international intervention through a National Transitional Authority (NTA).
According to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), who have welcomed a recent statement made by the Elders’ calling on the heads of state of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to support a successful and inclusive transition in Zimbabwe that will return stability and growth to the country, the NTA is not another government of national unity (GNU).
“The NTA will focus on key functions of transition including the implementation of an emergency economic recovery plan, align the country’s laws to the new Constitution, restoration of the social contract and that there is peace in Zimbabwe to pave way for conditions for holding free and fair elections,” said the party’s national spokesman Jacob Mafume.
“The NTA will also provide a soft landing for Zimbabwe as the ZANU PF regime has already been weakened as evidenced by its controversial policies.”