STAFF WRITERS 23 November 2017
HARARE – President-in-waiting Emmerson Mnangagwa returned home yesterday
to lead a country that is so desperate for unity and fresh ideas after
enduring 37 years of largely unfulfilled dreams under Robert Mugabe who
was forced to resign on Tuesday.
Mnangagwa, who had been in self-imposed exile following his sacking by
Mugabe from both government and Zanu PF, will become Zimbabwe’s second
executive president when he is sworn in tomorrow.
Yesterday, thousands of ordinary Zimbabweans, led by Zanu PF supporters
thronged the Robert Mugabe International Airport before they were
redirected to the nearby Manyame military base, to receive the
Blowing vuvuzelas and honking car hooters, the large crowds were a little
disappointed when they were told Mnangagwa was due to arrive later in the
day as he was still in South Africa.
Mnangagwa had earlier paid a courtesy call on South African President
Jacob Zuma in Pretoria before flying back home to cheering crowds which
lined up streets to cap a fast-paced week which had appeared to end
miserably after Mugabe had ignored massive demonstrations and passed on
the chance to resign during a live television broadcast.
In his evening address to thousands who swamped the Zanu PF headquarters,
Mnangagwa pledged to build a better Zimbabwe by providing much-needed jobs
and mending relations with the some of the world’s super powers.
“I urge myself to be your servant. I appeal to all genuine patriotic
Zimbabweans to come together, we work together, no one is more important
than the other. We are all Zimbabweans.
“We grow our economy. We want peace in our country. We want jobs. We need
the cooperation of our friends in Sadc. We need the cooperation of the
continent of Africa. We need the cooperation of our friends outside the
continent. That we shall achieve. I am already receiving messages of
cooperation and support for us to grow our economy,” Mnangagwa told the
“God in heaven is the one who knows. He is the one, who leads his nation.
He is the one who loves his people. When His people speak like you have
spoken, then God has spoken,” he added.
Mnangagwa, who will fulfill his long-held dream of succeeding Mugabe as
Zimbabwe’s only second leader when he takes oath of office tomorrow, is
expected to deliver his official speech to the nation after his
Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda announced the swearing-in
“Accordingly, Parliament has informed the chief secretary to the office of
the President and Cabinet of the nomination of Mnangagwa as the nominee in
order for him to make the necessary administrative arrangements for the
taking of the oath of President as provided for in section 94 as read with
the third schedule of the Constitution,” Mudenda said.
“The chief secretary … Misheck Sibanda, is making the necessary
arrangements for the swearing in of the coming president Mnangagwa. I am
advised that the swearing-in ceremony is planned for Friday, November 24.
Details will be provided later by the relevant authorities.”
Mudenda said the replacement of Mugabe was being done in accordance with
provisions of the Constitution.
“Furthermore, I have received a letter from the Zanu PF, in terms of
paragraph 14(4) (b) as read paragraph (5) of part 4 of the sixth schedule
to the Constitution of Zimbabwe which provides as follows: “(4)
Notwithstanding section 101 but subject to subparagraphs (5) and (6), if
the person elected president in any election referred to in subparagraph
(1) dies, resigns or is removed from office,” he said.
The Constitution provides that the vacancy in the office of president must
be filled by a nominee of the political party which the president
represented when he or she stood for election which in this case is Zanu
The curtain fell on Mugabe on Tuesday after a tumultuous week in which he
lost his grip on power following a military bloodless intervention which
led to several detentions of his former allies in the Generation 40 cabal.
The long-serving nonagenarian was facing increasing pressure due to a wave
of public discontent which culminated large gatherings in the capital last
Last Sunday, the 93-year-old was booted from Zanu and replaced by
Mnangagwa as the leader of the former liberation movement – paving way for
the 75-year-old to take over the reins at government level – as the same
meeting nominated him for Mugabe’s national post.
Mugabe’s iron-like grip on power slipped on November 15 when the military
launched the intervention which saw them overrunning the State broadcaster
and placing the longtime Zimbabwean leader under house arrest.
The operation triggered a chain of events which ended with Mugabe’s
long-awaited resignation on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, a lot is expected of Mnangagwa’s presidency with political
analysts and opposition groups hoping for him to form an inclusive
Professor of World Politics at the School of Oriental & African Studies at
the University of London in the United Kingdom, Stephen Chan, said it was
important for Mnangagwa to form a government of national unity.
“I would like him to form a coalition . . . to put the best economic
brains from both sides onto his front bench. By that, I mean both (former
Finance ministers) Tendai Biti and Patrick Chinamasa should be given
economic planning roles.
“The Zimbabwean economy is in a very deep hole. There is no quick fix. You
don’t need politicians pretending they’re magicians. You need people who
have earned some credibility from doing this job before,” said Chan.
Respected former Cabinet minister David Coltart said Mnangagwa’s Tuesday
statement in which he appeared to leave the door open for a possible unity
government was a good start.
“Mnangagwa’s statement – an interesting document – a key point is that he
states that Zanu PF cannot transform Zimbabwe alone which is correct. It
also speaks of the need to respect democracy. It is early days yet but let
us give credit where it’s due – it’s a good start,” said Coltart
MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu told the Daily News that the statement
appeared to suggest there was a plan to include the opposition in the new
“There have been informal talks taking place for a very long time now
under the forum of the Zimbabwe Institute. However, I am not aware of any
formal and more structured talks.
“It’s too early to tell. Zanu PF desperately needs total and complete
transformation from a commandist and one-centre-of-power outfit into a
modern and progressive political formation. They say ED is a technocrat
and that he will be more business savvy and accommodative compared to his
immediate predecessor. Only time will tell,” Gutu told the Daily News.