Blow for ED

HARARE - The glue that had appeared to bind Zanu PF after it got rid of “criminals” around toppled despot Robert Mugabe seem to be peeling off at critical stages when President Emmerson Mnangagwa is about to test his popularity at the forthcoming polls after assuming the reins of power in December last year.

As first reported by the Daily News last week, the resignation of retired brigadier general Ambrose Mutinhiri from both his constituency (Marondera West) and the party — a few weeks after Mugabe had briefed African Union (AU) Commission chair Moussa Faki Mahamat that his removal in November last year was “unconstitutional” — has exposed new fault lines within Zanu PF.

His surprise resignation also comes at a time when Mnangagwa has been dragged to the Constitutional Court by a group of Zimbabweans who are challenging his legitimacy.

Mutinhiri, who hand-delivered his letters of resignation to the Zanu PF headquarters and to Parliament on Friday, upped the ante, accusing Mnangagwa of using the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) to grab power, in what analysts said could be representative of the unspoken sentiment in some sections of Zanu PF.

Mnangagwa came to power in November last year through the intervention by the ZDF, which followed his expulsion from both government and party.

Following the takeover by the army, Mugabe resigned in the subsequent days at a time his party had also started instituting impeachment proceedings.

However, there have been concerns over Mnangagwa’s legitimacy, even though regional and international bodies have embraced him.

In his resignation letter addressed to the Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda and copied to Zanu PF secretary for administration Obert Mpofu, Mutinhiri, who is a senior Zipra commander, said Mnangagwa’s government was “illegal”.

“As a trained soldier, a former freedom fighter, a former Zipra commander during the liberation struggle, a former diplomat and a former Cabinet minister, I am too aware of not only the values and ethos of Zimbabwe’s armed liberation struggle and the subsequent role the founding commanders of the liberation envisaged for the national army in independent Zimbabwe but also of the functions and limits of the ZDF as enshrined in the Constitution of Zimbabwe authored through a people driven process and adopted after a national referendum as recent as 2013.

“The fundamental values and tenets of both Zimbabwe’s heroic liberation struggle and the Constitution of Zimbabwe dictate that executive authority is derived from the people and not from the gun. In other words, the enduring principle of Zimbabwe’s armed liberation struggle and constitutional democracy is that politics must always lead the gun. The ZDF coup of 15 November 2017 violated a cherished heritage of our liberation struggle and of our hard-won constitutional democracy,” Mutinhiri said.

Efforts to get a comment from Zanu PF spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo could not yield any results as he was said to be in a meeting yesterday.

Political analysts that spoke to the Daily News yesterday said Mutinhiri’s stance could be testimony of the bottled disgruntlement of many within Zanu PF and could have the effect of increasing the momentum within the MDC Alliance, under the youthful leadership of Nelson Chamisa.

“It makes those pro-democracy activists who supported the coup to change their mind given than one of the Zanu PF inner circles confirmed the coup. It’s also a sign that all is not well. It also confirms factionalism in Zanu PF along the lines of seating MPs and those in military aspiring to take over the seats. It also confirms that a coup is not a sustainable power transfer strategy and once a coup is done a precedent is set and another coup will happen,” political analyst Maxwell Saungweme said.

Many of Mnangagwa’s allies were left disgruntled after being snubbed from key government positions despite biting the bullet for the former vice president during the Mugabe administration.

His elevation to presidency, created a crisis as some of his allies felt the spoils only benefitted army officials, who were awarded with key government posts.

A retired army commander and brigadier, Mutinhiri was born February 22, 1944.

He was trained in Russia during the Rhodesian Bush War and was known for training the best calibre of soldiers during this period, even the late general Solomon Mujuru testified that he was trained by Mutinhiri.

He served as minister of Youth Development and Employment Creation and Provincial Affairs minister for Mashonaland East.

Zanu PF is said to have panicked because of Mutinhiri’s resignation, amid unverified reports that its national chairperson Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri has beseeched party organs to reach out to members of the Gammatox faction who were shunted aside by the party in 2014 for hobnobbing with former vice president Joice Mujuru.

This comes as retired brigadier general Agrippa Mutambara, leader of the Zimbabwe People First, has issued a scathing statement, dismissing reports that his party officials had defected to Zanu PF.

“Fellow Zimbabweans, it would be more honourable to quit politics than to board a sinking titanic. Zanu PF is a sinking titanic,” said Mutambara, in a statement.

Political analyst Shakespeare Hamauswa said the stance taken by Mutinhiri is evidence of the fault lines within Zanu PF.

“I think it shows there are a lot of people within the party who are not happy with what is happening. Although, previously we had retired army personnel joining politics, the situation is now different because serving army generals are influencing the direction of the party.

“We are seeing the military system coming to the centre of politics. As a result, many civilian politicians are left disgruntled. It also looks like G40 members are still within the party. By resigning possibly he (Mutinhiri) knows he was going to be booted out,” Hamauswa said.

Another political analyst and University of Zimbabwe senior lecturer in the department of Social Science Tawanda Zinyama said Mutinhiri’s exit must not be underestimated.

“Yes, indeed it (his exit) does have an impact because Mutinhiri is a very senior guy in Zanu PF and secondly he is a member of Zapu and that affiliation alone has got an impact,” Zinyama said.

He also said Mutinhiri has got followers of his own, who are going to leave Zanu PF because of his exit, adding that in the country’s 10 provinces there are like-minded people, who are also contemplating leaving the ruling party.

“Zanu PF may say, it’s just an individual who has left, but he is not an individual, there are many that follow him. And given that we are heading towards elections, a party cannot afford to lose even a single person, because politics is a game of numbers,” he said.

He however, said the legitimacy issue being raised by Mutinhiri in his letter may not gain traction with regional and international community such as the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) and the AU have already embraced Mnangagwa.

He said what has only been left is for Mnangagwa to win the forthcoming elections to legitimise his position in power.

In his letter, Mutinhiri said an illegality was perpetrated by a “few rogue elements” in the command structure of the ZDF, who abused their positions, resulting in last year’s events.

“Our national Constitution clearly defines the role of the ZDF and outlaws any of its serving members from engaging in partisan politics as was witnessed on 15 November 2017 when some rogue elements in the command structure staged a coup in the name of ZDF under the shocking pretext of averting a Zanu PF electoral loss in the forthcoming harmonised elections,” he said.

Mutinhiri, who has in the past been tipped to be appointed the country’s vice president by virtue of being the most senior surviving member of the Zipra command in line with the Unity Accord signed between PF Zapu and Zanu PF in 1987, said the ruling party has been hijacked and corrupted by fascist elements.

“I am a firm believer, as a disciplined former soldier and product of our nationalist movements, in the sanctity of democratic ethos and constitutionalism that put our people as the only source of legitimacy in the governance structures from local to national levels,” he said.

He further said the situation was also made worse by the Parliament, which he claimed failed to defend the Constitution in a “misguided attempt to justify a military coup”.

“I therefore condemn and despise any attempt at usurping the people’s power by those entrusted with the national duty to protect the country’s citizens and their leadership. I, like many others in the country and particularly in Zanu PF, refuse to be associated with such illegality in the false name of restoring legacy of (ex) President Mugabe, let alone that of our heroic armed liberation struggle,” Mutinhiri said.

He said the turning of guns against Mugabe was tantamount to turning guns at millions of Zimbabweans that voted him into power.

“It is therefore incumbent upon every patriotic, law abiding Zimbabwean to stand up and condemn the coup and make sure that, never again will such an affront on the Constitution be allowed.

“I am aware, as is everyone else who cares to look at the situation closely that Zimbabweans from all the country’s 10 provinces are not happy with the militarisation of our national politics. As such, I have chosen to be on the side of the people and to move forward with the people to restore normalcy, democracy, constitutionalism and legitimacy in Zimbabwe as a matter of national urgency,” he said.

Comments (13)

and your biggest blunder is to side not with the people in the streets but those under blue roof. therefore you are fake and go hang!!!!! who are you anyway, you never won any election freely.

uncle Real - 5 March 2018

@uncle real shut up ur mouth coup is coup mugabe or no mugabe full stop

g40 - 5 March 2018

F...k the g40,we are no fools we see and hear what's going on. Mutinhiri is the anointed by the old man to lead this new party founded by Jonathan Kasukuwere and Zhuwawo and funded by the ex st family. Mutinhiri is the puppet from within. We know the shit and we say he can go hang and will not be missed

Syd Chiwambu - 5 March 2018

What surprises me is Mutinhiri remained in the party and parliament from November 14 to only yesterday, doing what? Wasn't he aware that a coup had happened or he expected to be made VP on the Zapu ticket so when it did not happen decide to jump ship? We know him for bullying, maiming and murdering MDC supporters in Marondera especially in 2008, was that being democratic and with the people? We have had Zvinavashe and lately Chiwenga calling press conferences on the eve of elections to say they won't salute anyone without war credentials, was that democracy? In 2008 Presidential results where kept for 5 weeks by the army while people were being harrased by the army, why did he not raise a lip to condemn it? Is he with the people considering what I have said above or he is for the ex-1st family of Matibili and the others? This junta is better than the coups we have had because it is in the open while the rest where hidden but very painful. So thank you for resigning. ED we shall deal with him in July but Matibili and you people forget it and join opposition politics.

Chen Chikezha - 5 March 2018

When Mugabe stole elections in 2008 where were you comrade . Why did you keep shut .your mouth . But the end of zanu is just around the corner . We want to see zanu out of power nothing less than that will be good for this nation

Diibulaanyika - 5 March 2018


MUTONGI GAVA - 5 March 2018

Thumps up Cde Mutinhiri. ED & Chiwenga are illegitimate. Moreover ED is unelectable and will be beaten by Chamisa hands down. Only President Mugabe can win against MDC and RGM has massive grassroots support esp in rural areas even to this very day. Viva Gushungo !!

Bhonzo - 6 March 2018

Mutinhiri and his Bob are sick guys! They think we are fools, hatione manje! Army payaibatsira Zanu pf kurova opposition and brutalise people, akadii kuita resign? We can never be students in his class of 'democracy'! Shame!

Gamba Ranhasi - 6 March 2018

change has come to Zimbabwe, people will say whatever they want but we have change in Zimbabwe. That is very important, and we salute ED and the army.

MAX MAPHOSA - 6 March 2018

change has come to Zimbabwe, people will say whatever they want but we have change in Zimbabwe. That is very important, and we salute ED and the army.

MAX MAPHOSA - 6 March 2018

We MIGHT have forgiven Mugabe to retire in peace but we will NEVER NEVER NEVER FORGET HIS FAMILY & CRONIES' evil, wicked misrule and looting our country's resources. We will not listen to the senile and deranged outbursts emanating from the BLUE ROOF OLD PEOPLE's HOME

Daniel5 - 6 March 2018

Mutinhiri should just shut up his dirty beak. Where was he when Mugabe stole elections in 2008 and 2013? Why didn't he resign becoz Mugabe was an illegitimate leader. We tired of Mugabe and his bunch of cronies who surrounded him. Mugabe ruled 3 terms stealing elections,why didn't you tender in your resignation. Hooo nokuti maiba mose. Makarova vanhu during your term naMugabe. Makauraya vanhu muMahusekwa nemaresettlement eBeatrice. Lead your party and create an upper hand for MDC victory. Munoda kuvhoterwa nevanhu vasins kuenda kuhondo asi muchiramba kuti nyika itongwe neasina kuenda kuhondo. Please be be prepared for a wind of change. Its hard to accept change. Change upsets power hungry people. Its only people with chronoplastic minds like Mutinhiri who become bitter when they face change. Kana chirungu chaakanyora muresignation letter yake, akatonyorerwa. Beware of the wind of change akomana.

Takaitora - 6 March 2018

It is so amazing to learn that the same people who have been in power for 37years to the demise of the nation to where it is now now where there is no cash in a war free country are still claiming to be ligitimate saviors of the nation. Somalia is even better than us because you can still access US$ cash from the ATM when it is so much in tatters surely they are not even shy, such kind of greediness is really pathetic. Mutinhiri is now a new person in the country am sure when ZANU was beaten in 2008 and the army took power and forced Mugabe to stay in power he was on subcutaneous leave only to resurrect now what an irony indeed. And such people are the same who want to lead 12million people really are we safe in these hands as it is in Zimbabwe now we have a wasted generation which is likely to leave its children and great grand children in poverty what a shame and we have close to 5 million who have been displaced due to the economic decay and even those countries at War like Rwanda never had such a massive number of people displaced

brian - 8 March 2018

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