Dawn of new era!

HARARE - The commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF), General Constantino Chiwenga, was late last night locked in hard negotiations with his commander-in-chief, President Robert Mugabe, as the belligerent parties tried to no avail to break a political impasse that followed the military’s seizure of power mid this week.

Chiwenga led the military in the dialogue mediated by a special mission dispatched to Harare on Wednesday by South African President Jacob Zuma, in his capacity as chairman of the Southern African Development Community (Sadc).

Well-placed sources said the talks had to be conducted at State House, Mugabe’s official residence, after Chiwenga declined to meet the Zanu PF leader at his private residence in the leafy Borrowdale suburb.

As the negotiations dragged into late hours yesterday, sacked vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa returned home, perhaps to join military leaders at the negotiating table.

Mnangagwa looks like the army’s favourite to lead a post-Mugabe transition being resisted by the Zanu PF leader, which might involve Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the main MDC opposition party, and former vice president Joice Mujuru, who now leads the National People’s Party.

At the time of going to print, Zuma’s special envoys — South Africa’s minister of Defence Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and minister of State Security, Bongani Bongo — were about to return to South Africa empty-handed, after failing to break the impasse.

The negotiations were also attended by Defence minister Sydney Sekeramayi, State Security minister Kembo Mohadi and Roman Catholic cleric, Father Fidelis Mukonori, among others.

In Gaborone, Botswana, regional leaders who were meeting to discuss the political crisis in Zimbabwe wrapped up their meeting without finding a solution to it.

A statement released at the end of the Sadc Organ Troika recommended that a special emergency summit to discuss the tense situation in the former British colony.

The Troika, however, made it clear that the military should respect the national charter and that the region will not countenance a coup.

This came as the United Nations indicated yesterday that it is monitoring developments in Zimbabwe.

As the curtain fell on Mugabe, whose 37-year grip on Zimbabwe came to an end in the early hours of Wednesday following an intervention by the military, the country seems to be on the verge of a new dispensation.

Mugabe is currently under house arrest following Wednesday’s seizure of power.

As it is, according to the military, Mugabe is still president, meaning that there is still constitutional rule and therefore negotiations currently underway are meant to persuade the veteran Zanu PF leader to resign and make way for a transitional government.

The military has been careful with its selection of words describing its intervention saying it has not staged a coup but “intervened” to remove criminals around Mugabe.

Constitutionally, if Mugabe retires, the last person to act as president will assume duties for 90 days and then Zanu PF can convene an extra-ordinary congress to nominate a new president who will complete Mugabe’s term.

At present, there is a crisis as the last person to act was Mnangagwa, who filled in for Mugabe when he was attending the World Health Organisation conference in mid October.

However, Mnangagwa was sacked from both Zanu PF and government, which means that certain legal headaches must be resolved first for him to assume power.

Legal experts say according to the new Constitution, both the National Assembly and the Senate should have upheld his sacking but this was not done. This should also have applied to Mujuru.

According to Section 97 of the Constitution which deals with the removal from office of the President or Vice President:

(1) The Senate and  the National Assembly, by a joint resolution passed by at least one-half of their total membership, may resolve that the question whether or not the President or a Vice President should be removed from office for —

(a) serious misconduct;

(b) failure to obey, uphold or defend this Constitution;

(c) wilful violation of this Constitution; or

(d) inability to perform the functions of the office because of physical or mental incapacity;

should be investigated in terms of this section.

(2) Upon the passing of a resolution in terms of subsection (1), the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders must appoint a joint committee of the Senate and the National Assembly consisting of nine members reflecting the political composition of Parliament, to investigate the removal from office of the President or Vice President, as the case may be.

(3) If —

(a) the joint committee appointed in terms of subsection (2) recommends the removal from office of the President or Vice-President; and

(b) the Senate and the National Assembly, by a joint resolution passed by at least two-thirds of their total membership, may resolve that the President or -Vice President, as the case may be, should be removed from office; the President or Vice President thereupon ceases to hold office.

This did not happen in the cases of both Mnangagwa and Mujuru, which presents a window of opportunity for those negotiating for the former Justice minister to bring him back into government on a technicality.

But for this to sail through, it needs the endorsement of Parliament and other key stakeholders, hence the mooted transitional authority comprising the MDC, the National People’s Party, Dumiso Dabengwa’s Zapu and others.

Political parties and analysts say the country must move with speed to put in place a transitional government that should steer the country towards elections, which may have to be postponed due to seismic developments which took place this week.

Elections were due to be held next year before August.

Mnangagwa is tipped to lead the transitional government which could possibly include leaders of the opposition such as Tsvangirai.

For that to happen, Mnangagwa will have to either be re-instated as VP and go to congress where he would secure the vote from Zanu PF to become new leader of the former liberation movement.

Or, Parliament could simply reverse the constitutional violations by Mugabe which relate to the removal of the VP and re-instate him.

Political analysts yesterday told the Daily News that it was important for the country to move forward and implored the military to kick-start the process of a political transition.

“What has happened has happened, this is time when we should move forward. If they (the military) are saying Mugabe is head of government, let him be seen as the president.

“There must be a negotiated transitional authority which takes into account the Constitution. We are proposing a national transitional authority and it should not contain those who are current actors, it must be a non partisan, not even some of us who are pushing it should be involved.

“Parliament should come up with an  executive that runs government and effects necessary reforms that will lead to free and fair elections in about two and three years,” said Ibbo Mandaza, a local political analyst.

Stephen Chan, a Professor of World Politics at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London in the United Kingdom, said he was hoping for a coalition government.

“We can only await developments. The shape of the new government will reveal intentions and plans. I hope there is the offer of a coalition government,” said Chan.

Constitutional lawyer Alex Magaisa also agreed that a transitional government was the best foot forward for Zimbabwe at the moment.

“Zimbabwe is due to hold elections next year. That may now be postponed as the country finds its feet after this radical disturbance to the constitutional order.

“Meanwhile, some “transitional authority” made up of diverse elements, including the opposition — ostensibly to fix and take the country forward — may be patched up to run the country, with the promise to prepare for democratic elections in the near future,” said Magaisa.

Whether Mnangagwa will strike a deal with Tsvangirai or go it alone still remains unclear. Few will, however, be surprised if they strike a deal because they have previously been said to have a working relationship.

In the early 2000, it was revealed that Tsvangirai had talked with independent mediators on behalf of Mnangagwa, who was the Speaker of Parliament then, and the then commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, Vitalis Zvinavashe.

The MDC leader was later to reveal that “they wanted my assurance that if Mugabe retired, the MDC would take part in a transition towards new democratic elections”.

Tsvangirai named retired army colonel Lionel Dyke, a close associate of both men, as a mediator.

Recently, Reuters reported that Mnangagwa was envisaging cooperating with Tsvangirai to lead a transitional government for five years with the tacit backing of some of Zimbabwe’s military and Britain.

Meanwhile, The African Union (AU) commission chairperson, Moussa Faki Mahamat, said they were closely following the developments in Zimbabwe.

“He urges all stakeholders to address the current situation in accordance with the Constitution of Zimbabwe and the relevant instruments of the African Union, including the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance,” the AU said in a statement.

“The chairperson of the Commission expresses the commitment of the African Union to working closely with the Southern African Development Community and the leaders of the region, and to support their efforts. In this regard, the African Union associates itself with the statement made by President Jacob Zuma of South Africa on behalf of Sadc.”

Comments (12)


Cecil Makadzange - 17 November 2017

can some1 send jonathan moyo some twitter bundles! kunyarara kwacho kwanyanya aah!!

SaManyika Chaiye - 17 November 2017

Chiwenga be careful on what you are doing. never give up just tell him to resign

pat - 17 November 2017

Mugabe must just go now, we are tired of this man, eish, we are suffering because of his policies.

Bango P - 17 November 2017

At this rate consider changing to "telling it as it WAS" That's yesterday's news you want us to read in todays paper. we already know the whole story hey. We want the latest. Move with the times or become redundant!!

Ralph - 17 November 2017

Newsday is now a disgrace.

Joel - 17 November 2017

Tomorrow all patriotic zimbabweans must go for a final push the army has done its part and the civilians must finish off tomorrow by a huge march to state house and camp there demand Mugabe to resign a s a p . Never mind political affiliations it does not work tomorrow .This the opportunity we had been craving for we must grab it faster and make use of it

Diibulaanyika - 17 November 2017

Good morning fellow Africans. Greetings from the village in Ghana. The elders in the village are slightly confused on developments in the village 3weeks away from Ghanatown. The traditions of coups in Ghanatow is that the pictures always shows one person dead either the coup plotter or the King. The elders in the village are very confused because in this case they saw both the Coup plotter and King smiling and shaking hands. And bizarre the King who is supposed to be dead by now is even presiding over the local school and awarding Culture trophies. We've never seen this before in Ghanatown or any of the nearest town like Nigeriatown where the King would have already crossed the River Niger to see refuge somewhere in Camrountown. So the elders of Ghanatown have sent me to ask what happened in Zimbabwe. Is it a Coup or just the Army passing by to say hello to the King in his Palace. Somebody please give me a response to take back to the elders otherwise my head would be served on a silver plate by the traditional executioners!

Kofi Ananse - 17 November 2017

We are living in a fast paced world. News is becoming accessible quicker. Dailynews is fast becoming outdated/irrelevant with it's 'read it in today's paper'. Read yesterday's news in hard copy. I am not in the country. Where am I supposed to buy 'today's paper' ? Be serious

Munya - 17 November 2017

@Kofi Ananse: This is how we do things here in Southern Africa. We have a coup over a cup of tea, glass of wine, bottle of champagne, or whatever tickles our foe's fancy.

Munya - 17 November 2017

The General has a reached a point of no return.If Mugabe is allowed to carry on then we will lose count of body bags containing military officials.] Mugabe will go on a killing spree you have never seen. So please General don't look back .The suffering masses are behind even those who have ZANU PF cards and t- shirts . We are almost there .Tell us what to do and we will do it.

chimuti - 17 November 2017

My only hope is that Chiwenga realises he is in a treasonous circumstance though it is what everyone in Zim wants. If he backs down, he is dead meat!!!!

Manje So! - 17 November 2017

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