ZIMBABWE – The country’s ruling party, Zanu-PF, is reportedly plotting to suspend the watershed 2018 Presidential and Parliamentary elections from 2018 to 2021, in a bid to buy political time to allow the fractured former liberation movement to repair and recover from feared collapse owing to intensified factionalism, and President Robert Mugabe’s succession fight, which has already split the party between VP Emmerson Mnangagwa and his ousted predecessor Joice Mujuru, The Telescope News, has reported.
High level party insiders last week revealed that, a coterie of state security officials together with Mnangagwa’s inner circle in government and senior Zanu-PF functionaries want the vice president to engineer the necessary legal provisions, to suspend presidential elections to 2021, to give the party room to reboot, while also negotiating a safe landing for military generals said to be nervous about the likelihood of being hauled before the International Criminal Court (ICC), for crimes against humanity and political abuses committed during Mugabe’s three and a half decades in power.
“Confidential talks around the issue have already been made. The military brass is in favour of another coalition government, which they know is likely to be irresistible for Tsvangirai and his party. We are aware that VP Mnangagwa is reaching out to the opposition for the deal to be made, with the support of senior officials in the Politburo. The grand aim is to destroy Joice Mujuru’s threats of forming an alliance with Tsvangirai in 2018, while using the MDC-T to canvass for economic recovery and foreign investment from it’s Western allies,” said a Zanu-PF legislator from Mashonaland West.
The Telescope News, has already reported previously with sound authority, that Mnangagwa is set to take over power from Mugabe as the next President in 2016, amid disclosures that the latter is ready to call it a day citing his advanced age and personal health woes, which have also seriously affected his wife Grace, reported to be battling with colon cancer.
If all goes as planned, and in line with the intelligence received by this newspaper, Mnangagwa will come to power through an internal party process to finish off Mugabe’s term, which runs until 2018.
Our sources said Mnangagwa, is aware that the centre will not hold if he goes it alone and does not work with Tsvangirai, to improve things on the economic front, thus the VP intends to offer him the vice presidency in the new administration, which might resume office as early as August 2016.
“Tsvangirai might refuse a deal with Mnangagwa running to 2021, and instead opt to accept a role in a 2 year political arrangement (2016-2018) with Zanu-PF, for his own strategic reasons to prepare the MDC for presidential elections in 2018 and work with us,” said a former minister fired last year for supporting Mujuru.
According to Section 92(2) of the new Constitution, a presidential aspirant must select two other candidates for joint election with him or her, otherwise commonly known as running mates. The Section reads: “Every candidate for election as President must nominate two persons to stand for election jointly with him or her as Vice-Presidents, and must designate one of those persons as his or her candidate for first Vice-President and the other as his or her candidate for second Vice-President.”
Information at hand last night suggests that, Mnangagwa is reportedly considering to offer Tsvangirai the second vice presidency, alongside a few cabinet posts to deal with the economy.
The Telescope News, can also confirm that Mnangagwa is willing to rope other small opposition parties should Tsvangirai refuse joining him.
An MDC press officer dismissed knowledge of the deal offer by Mnangagwa, but confirmed that Zanu-PF has realised that it needs them on board to tackle the economic crisis.
Sections 101(1) and 100(1) of the new charter are also all in favour of Mnangagwa’s immediate take over, and read as thus below:
“If the President dies, resigns or is removed from office –
the first Vice-President assumes office as President until the expiry of the former President‘s term of office;…”
“Whenever the President is absent from Zimbabwe or is unable to exercise his or her official functions through illness or any other cause, those functions must be assumed and exercised—
(a)by the first Vice-President;..”