By Mutumwa Mawere:
INFORMATION minister Hon. Prof Jonathan Moyo has given his opinion on the succession issue in the question and answer article published by the Sunday Mail on 21 December 2014. It is not clear, however, in what capacity he purported to speak on behalf of the party as the party’s spokesman is Hon. SK Moyo.
Be that as it may, Prof Moyo makes the point that Zanu PF does not have a succession problem. He goes on further to state that: “It would be unconstitutional and indeed undemocratic for the President to do that.” He concludes by stating that: “Neither the Zanu PF constitution not the Constitution of the Republic of Zimbabwe has a provision for an anointment of a successor. But both provide for the appointment of Vice Presidents.”
In the case of Zanu PF, for one to be eligible for appointment as Vice President, one has to be elected as a member of the Central Committee. It is now obvious why the doors of the Central Committee of Zanu PF had to be shut to former VP Mujuru. This sealed her fate by excluding her name from the names of possible candidates for the post of VP.
It is Prof Moyo’s naïve opinion that President Mugabe can neither appoint nor anoint a successor in terms of both the Zanu PF and the State Constitution. As stated above, in terms of s 14(4) if the President dies, resigns or is removed from office, it is clear that in the first instance power, within the first 90 days of exit, will pass hands in terms of the operation of this provision.
In fact, if the President were to pass on during his current vacation, it cannot be in dispute that by nominating Hon. Mnangagwa to act in his absence, the successor will have been chosen, albeit, for a 90-day period. However, 90 days is a long time in the life that we call politics. It is not obvious how such a person would be persuaded to relinquish state power after the demise of the elephant in the room.
History has shown that when the baton has passed it is often difficult or impossible for the successor to voluntarily give it up. What Prof Moyo is suggesting is that the promise of a congress in the party will be honoured during the 90-day window. The events in Zambia following the death of the late President Sata suggests otherwise.
It is, therefore, not clear the legal basis of the contention by Prof Moyo that: “Happily both constitutions have very clear and well-grounded provisions for succession as to render utterly inconsequential, all the idle talk that Zanu PF has a succession problem.”
As the late economist Maynard Keynes once remarked: “in the long term we are all dead; it is not at all self-evident that the experience of the former VP Mujuru will not be repeated involving politically expedient amendment of the party constitution as well as the opportunistic introduction of new rules as Acting President Scott in Zambia attempted, unsuccessfully, to do.
By appointing Hon. Mnangagwa and Hon. Mphoko, one should like to believe that President Mugabe applied his mind on the succession issue. No person of flesh can be oblivious to the inevitability of death. As the situation stands, either Hon. Mnangagwa or Hon. Mphoko will have the honour to bury President Mugabe. It is unpredictable that either of the two will permit the occurrence of a situation where power slips from their hands.
With respect to Hon. Mnangagwa, his long walk to where he is today is well documented and one should like to believe that he will not be so naïve as to allow true democracy to prevail in the party. After all, he is fully aware that without the unorthodox methods used to get rid former VP Mujuru, he would not be where he is today.
Anyone who is naïve will conclude, like Prof Moyo, that: “Anyone who wants to succeed President Mugabe will have to win the hearts and minds, first, of the membership of Zanu PF and then of the Zimbabweans.” Surely, Prof Moyo knows better that the two VPs, who are now in the value line to power, did not need to win the hearts and minds of the membership of Zanu PF. They are simply beneficiaries of an opaque and brutal elimination process.
If the twisted system can work to open the door of the office of the VP surely why would one want to abandon a winning formula? With respect to winning the hearts and minds of Zimbabweans, Prof Moyo should know better that in terms of the Constitution of Zimbabwe this is not necessary as all that is required in terms of s 14(5) of Schedule 6 of the Constitution is that the party of President Mugabe must notify the Speaker within ninety days of the vacancy being created. It is not spelt out in the state constitution how such notification should be obtained but what is obvious is that should the President exit as set out in s 14(4) of Schedule 6 of the Constitution, the two most senior persons in the party will be Hon. Mnangagwa and Hon. Mphoko.
However, Hon. Mphoko suffers an inherent weakness as he was appointed solely on the basis that he was from the former ZAPU and, therefore, like the late Joshua Nkomo, Msika, John Nkomo, the road to power is a cul de sac as only the people from the former ZANU are the anointed ones.
Based on the above, it becomes clear that either Prof Moyo is naïve or he is trying to pull wool over people’s faces. The bus of succession is moving. It must be remarked, for instance, that President Scott in Zambia is in this position simply because he was the Vice President when President Sata died.
If he was eligible to run for the office of President, you can be rest assured that he would be the ruling party’s candidate. The situation in Zimbabwe is different in that the successor to President Mugabe does not have to face the voters but all he has to do is to cut deals with the most vocal people in the party. Already, the fact that Hon. Hungwe was reprimanded by the Herald for openly expressing satisfaction at the job well done and for being on the bus to power, exposes the fact that Prof. Moyo may be smoking something.
Hon. Hungwe knows the true destination of the bus in which Hon. Mnangagwa appears to have no visible competitor after making President Mugabe the true leader of his faction. It’s Karanga time – stupid!!!!! Hon. Mujuru is now history and the process to alienate her completely with any organ of state is underway and appears to be irreversible.
In summary, with respect to the party, it is the Zanu PF constitution that determines who should be a Vice President. As the constitution stands, the President has the sole constitutional right to appoint any member of the Central Committee. He has already done so.
Although the state constitution was framed on the basis that Zanu PF had a democratic constitution and that President Mugabe’s deputies would be elected, this is no longer the case and thus President Mugabe has the power to anoint his successor. I am not sure about the most recent undemocratic experiment, and whether democracy will be restored to Zanu PF anytime soon.
Ordinarily the VP must be an MP. However, this appears to be no longer the case. It would appear that the President can select anyone to be his VP. That person need not have any connection with Parliament. The state constitution permits the ruling party to impose its nominee as the successor. Already, President Mugabe who is vested with the sole power to choose his successor has done so.
Even Ministers remain Members of Parliament. What has been debated is whether the VPs should or should not be elected or appointed to Parliament before consideration as possible VPs as is the case in the party where one has to be elected into the Central Committee.
The legitimacy of VPs who are just appointed without passing through the corridors of parliament is an issue. However, according to Prof. Moyo this weakness will be exploited when the succession issue comes before the party. So the VPs have been warned that all gloves are off after the exit of President Mugabe. According to Prof Moyo, nothing can be taken for granted.