Parly in move to kick out Mugabe

HARARE - Members of Parliament will today seal President Robert Mugabe’s fate by pushing through a motion to impeach him following the expiry of an ultimatum he was given by his ruling Zanu PF party on Sunday to relinquish power.

The lawmakers meet as Zambian President Edgar Lungu has sent former president Kenneth Kaunda to Harare to try to convince the ageing veteran of Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle, aged 93, to step down in a “dignified exit”.

“Dr Kaunda used the presidential jet and has already arrived in Harare,” a senior government source in Lusaka told news agency, Reuters.

Apparently, Kaunda is also 93 years old.

Kaunda’s arrival is unlikely to forestall the impeachment motion, the latest in a series of strategies by Mugabe’s rivals to pressure him to vacate office.

Mugabe had been given a noon deadline to resign which expired yesterday.

By late yesterday, 230 Zanu PF MPs were caucusing to ensure that they mobilise the two-thirds majority needed to push through the impeachment motion.

Party chief whip Lovemore Matuke is under strict instructions to ensure the motion is carried through within the shortest possible time in the wake of fears that this route might give Mugabe and his allies some breathing space to regroup and wriggle out of the current mess.

Impeachment could see Mugabe kicked out by a vote in Parliament in under a day and would represent an ignominious end to the career of the “Grand Old Man” of African politics, who was once lauded across the continent as an anti-colonial hero.

Matuke told Reuters the party’s MPs will meet at 1230 GMT to start mapping out Mugabe’s impeachment.

On paper, the process is relatively long-winded, involving a joint sitting of the Senate and National Assembly, then a nine-member committee of senators, then another joint sitting to confirm his dismissal with a two-thirds majority.

However, constitutional experts said Zanu PF had the numbers and could push it through in as little as 24 hours.

“They can fast-track it. It can be done in a matter of a day,” said John Makamure, executive director of the Southern African Parliamentary Support Trust, an NGO that works with the Parliament in Harare.

This follows a weekend of high drama in Harare, culminating in reports that Mugabe had agreed on Sunday to stand down — only for him to dash the hopes of millions of his countrymen in a bizarre and rambling national address.

Flanked by the generals who sent in tanks and troops last week to seize the State broadcaster, Mugabe spoke of the need for national unity and farming reform, but made no mention of his fate, leaving the nation of 16 million people dumbstruck.

Legal and Parliament watchdog Veritas said while those itching to see Mugabe’s back are getting more desperate by the day, impeachment processes usually take days to complete in the sense that it is an elaborate process that cannot be limited to specific timeframes.

“How long is difficult to say, because Parliament’s Standing Orders do not specify what notice must be given of impeachment motions, nor how joint sittings of the two Houses are convened — in fact they do not deal with impeachment at all.

“In the absence of a laid-down procedure, presumably the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders, the Speaker and the staff of Parliament will make it up as they go along. Nonetheless, the process would need at least several days to complete bearing in mind that:

“An impeachment motion, like all motions, requires at least a day’s notice to be given before it is debated (perhaps Parliament would waive this requirement). Detailed grounds of impeachment would have to be prepared. A joint sitting would have to be arranged. An investigation committee would have to be appointed.

“The committee would have to investigate the grounds of impeachment and give the president an opportunity to state his case (and the president would have no incentive to be brief) and to prepare a report to Parliament,” Veritas said in its bulletin.

United Kingdom-based constitutional law expert  Alex Magaisa who was instrumental in the crafting of the current governing charter said even if Zanu PF is to succeed in impeaching Mugabe, their preferred successor, Emmerson Mnangagwa, will not automatically replace the incumbent.

“There are also some challenges with this option: First, if this is what the authors of the coup want, it won’t guarantee Mnangagwa’s immediate succession since he is currently not in government,” Magaisa said.

“Instead Phelekezela Mphoko will assume power for up to 90 days during which the ruling party must nominate a replacement to complete the remainder of the term (s. 14(4)(a) of the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution),” he added.

It is still possible, according to Magaisa that Mugabe’s adversaries might throw caution to the wind and proceed with his removal and deal with the aftermath after ensuring that the 93-year-old leader is out of the picture.

“The party could immediately nominate a successor soon after the removal. The national Constitution requires the ruling party to simply nominate a candidate to fill the presidential vacancy but crucially, it does not actually prescribe how this is done,” he opined.

This gives Zanu PF the liberty to choose any method that works for it.

For example, the party’s provincial coordinating committees could simply issue resolutions to the effect that they want Mnangagwa to be the successor.

“This can be achieved within days, if not hours. It could even be organised in advance. Mphoko would only be acting president for hours, if not minutes after Mugabe’s removal by Parliament,” he said.

Magaisa warned, however, that the pursuit of parochial partisan interest by senior Zanu PF officials such as its legal secretary Patrick Chinamasa could complicate their efforts to get rid of Mugabe

During a recent party central committee meeting, Chinamasa indicated that the process to remove Mugabe will only benefit Zanu PF and not its rivals.

Chinamasa’s sentiments have angered MDC MPs who are now thinking twice about supporting Mugabe’s impeachment.

“I submitted the impeachment motion to Parliament, the statement by Chinamasa is worrying. I thought we were doing it for the nation but Chinamasa revealed that it’s for a certain Zanu PF faction, it’s very sad. Our party will inform us the way forward,” Tafara Mabvuku MP James Maridadi told the Daily News.

In his impeachment motion, Maridadi notes that Mugabe has become the country’s source of instability by his indiscriminate and continuous sacking of members of his Cabinet including two vice presidents in the past four years on allegation of plotting to assassinate him and forcibly take over power.

He said none of the allegations raised against both Mnangagwa and his predecessor Joice Mujuru have been tested in court of law and that “the president has since reappointed some of those he dismissed on the same allegations”.

He said “this attests to the president’s poor sense of judgment and disrespect for the rule of law.”

Maridadi also accused Mugabe of abrogating his constitutional mandate to his wife Grace.

“Therefore we call upon this House to cause the removal of the president from office in light of the above and that voting in the motion of no confidence in the president be by secret ballot,” reads part of the motion.

MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu yesterday said while their party supports the resignation of Mugabe, it does not wish to enter into any coalition with Zanu PF.

“The MDC would like to make it abundantly clear that it is none of our business to participate in the internal factional fights within the Mugabe regime. We are not and we will never be part and parcel of the various factional fissures within the collapsing Mugabe regime,” said Gutu.

“...As such, Patrick Chinamasa and other like-minded politicians should appreciate that the MDC is not at all desperate to push the factional agenda of any particular Zanu PF faction. We are there to protect and fight for the interests of the generality of the suppressed and oppressed masses of Zimbabwe. The war veterans are in fact very correct and patriotic when they argue that we need to create a new political dispensation in Zimbabwe, which dispensation will be inclusive of the interests of all Zimbabweans regardless of race, colour, creed or political affiliation. Zimbabwe belongs to all her citizens and is definitely not the sole preserve of a select few within any political formation or organisation.”

War veterans have rubbished Chinamasa’s sentiments, saying they were regrettable.

Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association chairperson Christopher Mutsvangwa said Chinamasa’s views went against the spirit in which the ex-combatants were going about their business.

“We have reached out to everybody to make sure this is inclusive — the commercial farmers union, the Diaspora — we have been working together and we are on the same page. This is a Zimbabwean initiative as far as we are concerned. We are not here to pursue political parties’ myopic views. We are war veterans, we united people during the war and we want to move with focus in unity so Chinamasa is offside,” he said. — Additional reporting by Reuters.

Comments (4)

mdc-t nid to suport the impeachment move because we started it with Maridadi! however, we nid to be wary of being swallowed by zanu in general & lacoste in particular because all this is turning out to be a wel choreographed act by lacoste in response to g40's muv to ditch ed!

SaManyika Chaiye - 21 November 2017

Hypocrisy ine Zanu PF just beats me, and then all of sudden we are all supposed to say "yeee"and dance to Kutonga Kwaro gamba, ripi racho? We lost a good 17 years under the dictatorship of Zanu -PF so Zimbabweans lets not make rush decisions based on desperation to have Mugabe gone, after all we have come a long way. Let's not be used ne Zanu because we know very well kuti Zanu is not for the people and they are not honest. Hondo yakarwiwa nemunhu wese and yet Ma war vets for some strange reason have this sense of entitlement yekuti they are more Zimbabweans than others. You Zanu are to blame for Mugabe's sad situation, you should have helped me leave the office honourably especially in 2008 when he was beaten by Tsvangirai, instead iwe Chiwenga, ED nevamwe venyu you forced him to stay on despite his protest that he wanted to go, so, so what are you saying, who do you all want to fool?

Tongogara - 21 November 2017

The thick veneer of hypocrisy is wearing out, allowing us to see clearly those wolves which appeared to be sheep. Deja vu - we've been here before, 2008, GNU then the kick in the teeth, then a zero economy. I'm astounded that even so called "analysts" feel that Zimbabweans are so stupid that the brand "new" second hand politicians will make Zanu (RF) stronger, than what? Thinking is clearly very difficult work, not everyone excels at it. When you're in the midst of thieves or killers, you will hear whispers of "steal it" or "kill him" - we've already heard from Chinamasa!!

Sagitarr - 21 November 2017

uncle Bob must just step down, he has done nothing but shame for the people of Zim for the whole 37 yrs. He's good in killing those who are trying to do what is good for the country

mohubedu makola - 21 November 2017

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