HARARE – Serious fresh ructions have emerged in Zanu PF, resulting in two prominent members of the former liberation movement revealing explosive details over the past few days of an apparent plot to topple President Emmerson Mnangagwa from power, the Daily News can report.
So serious is the plan to remove Mnangagwa from power, that a sitting ruling party Member of Parliament (MP) and a former Cabinet minister say they have been threatened with death for refusing to back the ouster of the country’s increasingly embattled leader.
While the demons of factionalism, succession and tribalism have become synonymous with Zanu PF over the past three decades, what makes this latest planned putsch against the party’s leader more stunning is that Mnangagwa is only a mere six months into his five-year term — after he narrowly won the hotly-disputed July 30, 2018 presidential poll.
In a stunning tweet on micro-blogging site Twitter yesterday, one of Mnangagwa’s fiercest lieutenants and MP for Gokwe Nembudziya, Justice Mayor Wadyajena, threw the cat among the pigeons when he sensationally claimed that some Zanu PF legislators were planning to impeach their leader.
“They threatened to kill me & harm my family. I stand by @edmnangagwa & wish they knew ours isn’t just a political relationship.
“However they try, we’ll never quit nor be intimidated. The plot is foiled, they lack numbers for impeachment &the devil isn’t @ProfJNMoyo but amongst us!” Wadyajena said.
In separate tweets, former Finance deputy minister, Terence Mukupe, poured oil on the raging fire yesterday, claiming that he had also been threatened with death for backing Mnangagwa.
“I am in Harare … I will never sellout on my president … you are wasting your time threatening to kill me and my family … I will never join your sick plot!
“Come get me and do as you please but my president is not going anywhere … We are going to shame you devilish people!” Mukupe similarly wrote on Twitter.
Earlier on, the former Harare East MP had also given a most revealing sneak peek into the Zanu PF ructions when he cryptically suggested that Mnangagwa was not the problem as Zimbabwe experiences myriad crises, but some unnamed dark forces within the government.
“I’m worried with what’s going on … The citizens are blind to what’s really going on … The next 72hrs are going to be crucial regarding the path we are going to take as a nation … Chokwadi chichabuda (the truth will come out) … President Mnangagwa is not the issue … Viva Zimbabwe.
“We as Zanu PF are not irrational … No one benefits from violence and destruction of properties … Look closer and pray fervently and what’s really going on shall be revealed to you …
“I salute the Zanu PF youth league … You are truly the last line of defense … Nyararai kuchema for now tomirira kuuya kwaDaddy!!!! (Don’t cry as all will be well when ED returns).
“They can crush our bones but they can never crush our loyalty to our President!! Even mukatirakasha Kusiri kufa ndekupi!! (your thuggery will never defeat us),” Mukupe said in his stunning tweets at the weekend.
Mnangagwa, who first swept to power through a popular coup in November 2017, warned mid last year of a plan to impeach him by disgruntled party MPs, following the 2018 national polls.
Addressing Zanu PF supporters after the party’s chaotic primary elections on May 30 last year, Mnangagwa, however, warned the supposed plotters that it would not be easy to impeach him.
“I got intelligence that some of those who have won these primary elections have two minds.
“They have gone to join the Zanu PF wagon using various tricks, money included, to be elected with a possible view that once in Parliament, they will band together and move a motion of impeachment.
“There are two things I would want you to know. First, you must realise that the Constitution provides the basis of impeachment and such basis must be fulfilled before impeachment proceedings begin.
“Secondly, our Constitution provides a tool, an instrument to chuck out from Parliament any member, who we think is not Zanu PF anymore,” he warned then.
Under the country’s jurisprudence, impeachment is a process that may be used to charge, try and remove public officials for misconduct while in office.
Section 97 of the Constitution says the Senate and the National Assembly, by a joint resolution passed by at least one-half of their total membership, can deal with the question of whether the president or a vice president should be removed from office for various reasons.
But a president can only be removed from office if he or she is found to have engaged in acts of serious misconduct, has failed to obey, uphold or defend the Constitution, and wilfully violates the Constitution or is unable to perform the functions of the highest office in the land because of physical or mental incapacity.
Ironically, Mnangagwa’s predecessor, former president Robert Mugabe, threw in the towel on November 21, 2017 after Parliament had set in motion an impeachment process which was supported by both Zanu and the MDC legislators.
Mnangagwa was expected to return home yesterday after cancelling his trip to this year’s World Economic Forum (Wef) meeting, so that he could come back and deal with the worsening political and economic crises at home.
During his absence, the country was plunged into chaos after deadly riots broke out in Harare, Bulawayo and several other towns, after protesters flooded the streets to demonstrate against steep fuel prices that the president had announced ahead of his trip to Europe.
Rights groups have also, in the meantime, accused the government of unleashing terror on the opposition and the pro-democracy movement, in the aftermath of the riots.
At least 12 people were killed and 78 others seriously injured after being shot by security forces during the protests.
Zimbabwe is in the grip of a ginormous economic crisis which has seen prices of basic goods rising sharply and the government failing to end a biting fuel crisis that triggered last week’s riots when Mnangagwa hiked the prices of petrol and diesel.
Apart from the shortages of fuel and other basic goods, the government has also had to contend with myriad problems in the health and education sectors, as well as shortages of critical medicines.
Many government critics say the economic measures that were unveiled by authorities in October last year are at the centre of the country’s troubles.
Mnangagwa, who was feted like a king when he replaced Mugabe in November 2017, initially lifted the mood of crisis-weary Zimbabweans who were hopeful at the time that he would turn around the country’s economic fortunes.
However, the post-July 30 election shootings — which left at least six civilians dead when the military similarly used live ammunition to quell an ugly demonstration in Harare’s central business district (CBD) on August 1 — as well as the latest round of deaths and the vicious clampdown of dissenting voices — are seen as having dented his international image significantly, in addition to harming his chances of getting financial support from Western powers.