By Farayi Machamire
President Emmerson Mnangagwa has uncovered a plot within his fractured Zanu PF party to impeach him in the event that he wins the presidential race in July this year.
Speaking on the second day of a healing and reconciliation workshop held in Harare yesterday, the president said he had been briefed by intelligence officials of a brewing plot to dislodge him from power.
The plot, according to Mnangagwa, is being hatched by some of the candidates who won the disputed party primary polls held between April 29 and May 3 and were angling to team up with the opposition to impeach him in the ninth Parliament.
“I gather from intelligence that some of those who have won these primary elections have two minds. They have joined the Zanu PF wagon using various means, money included, to be elected with a possible view that once in Parliament, they will work together and move a motion of impeachment,” he said to odd applauses from candidates who contested in the primary elections, as if to confirm the plot.
Mnangagwa, who swept into office in November last year following a military intervention that dethroned former president Robert Mugabe, warned his rivals that the impeachment route was no stroll in the park.
“There are two things I would want to let them know. First, you must realise that the Constitution provides the basis of impeachment and such basis must be fulfilled before impeachment proceedings begin,” he said.
“Secondly, our Constitution provides an instrument to chuck out from Parliament any member whom we think is not Zanu PF any more. So iwe nemoyo wako, nengirozi yako naMwari wako ziva paumire (deep inside you and with the help of your angels and your God, you know where you stand.”
Impeachment refers to a process used to charge, try, and remove public officials for misconduct while in office.
The national charter provides for the removal of a sitting president or vice president through a resolution by half of the total membership of Parliament.
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.
A president can only be removed from office if found to have engaged in acts of serious misconduct; failure to obey, uphold or defend the Constitution; wilful violation of the Constitution or inability to perform the functions of the office because of physical or mental incapacity.
Ironically, Mnangagwa’s predecessor, Mugabe, threw in the towel in November last year when Parliament had set in motion an impeachment motion — jointly supported by both Zanu and the MDC — the country’s largest opposition party.
For the first time since he ascended to power, Mnangagwa admitted yesterday that there “were criminals around him” and that he feared going the way of deposed leader, Mugabe.
He also acknowledged the existence of “teething problems” in his party amid ugly “incidences” of infighting sparked by the much-disputed primary elections, some of which had to be re-run.
“I know as we take the first steps to democracy, elements of imposition iri kuitika (may be happening) ichiitwa nesu vakuru kudistrict nekuprovince (being done by us your leaders at district and provincial levels) but wherever this happens, we must expose the culprits.
“Hakuna ane homwe inokwana musangano asi tese tinokwana muhomwe yemusangano (the party belongs to all of us and no individual can put it in his/her pocket),” Mnangagwa said, adding that with the advent of technology, most of the challenges would be dealt with.
He called on all candidates to campaign peacefully and focus on the issues that really matter, saying party members should never take the general masses for granted.
Turning to the forthcoming elections, Mnangagwa said he was not fazed by the increased number of presidential candidates ahead of the polls on July 30.
He said he was happy that there were 128 political parties contesting in the forthcoming elections saying “it’s the best news” as it gives his party a chance.
“If it is possible I wish that all the 128 parties register to run for president tigovarakasha (so that we annihilate them),” Mnangagwa said.
“We must enjoy the little parties making noise because victory is ours.”
The 75-year-old reiterated his earlier pledge when he assumed office that he was a listening president.
Zanu PF has been losing sleep over threats by some of its members to vote for the opposition in the forthcoming elections following contested primary elections which have left the ruling party on the edge.
Ever since Mnangagwa’s Team Lacoste faction annihilated the rival Generation 40 (G40) camp last year, cracks have been widening in Zanu PF at a time when the party is facing a tricky election on July 30.
Team Lacoste, which derives its name from a French clothing company, is now riven by divisions over the fierce jostling for positions in the new administration, the scramble for tickets to represent the party in Parliament and municipalities, and sharp differences over the party leadership’s style and approach to issues.
Two main factions now exist in Zanu PF; one aligned to the seating head of State and government and the other driven by retired army generals, who still wield enormous influence among the uniformed forces.
Not helping matters is the fact that a large number of G40 functionaries, including associates of former vice president Joice Mujuru — who was fired from Zanu PF and government in 2014 for plotting to unseat Mugabe using unconstitutional means — are still commanding influence in the party’s rank and file. Daily News