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Generational Dynamics Web Log for 20-Nov-2017
20-Nov-17 World View -- Robert Mugabe stuns Zimbabwe by refusing to step down

Web Log - November, 2017

20-Nov-17 World View -- Robert Mugabe stuns Zimbabwe by refusing to step down

Plans go ahead to impeach Mugabe

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from

Robert Mugabe stuns Zimbabwe by refusing to step down

Robert Mugabe, giving his speech on Sunday
Robert Mugabe, giving his speech on Sunday

The people of Zimbabwe, as well as the international media reporters, were uniformly stunned (or gobsmacked, as one BBC reporter said) by Sunday's events, that were incredible even by the standards of Zimbabwe.

First, as expected, the governing party of president Robert Mugabe's governing Zanu-pf party voted to expel him from the party, and to demand his resignation. According to the resolutions of the Zanu-pf Central Committee:

"The Central Committee congratulated the masses of Zimbabwe for their participation in the historic solidarity march yesterday in support of the Zimbabwe War Veteransí Association. ...

That Cde R.G. Mugabe be and he is hereby recalled from the position of President and First Secretary of Zanu-PF forthwith. Further, the resolutions that Cde R.G. Mugabe should resign forthwith from his position as President and Head of State and Government of the Republic of Zimbabwe and if the resignation has not tendered by midday tomorrow 20 November 2017 (Monday), the Zanu-PF Chief Whip (Cde Lovemore Matuke) is ordered to institute proceedings for the recall of the President in terms of Section 97 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe. ...

That Cde E. D. Mnangagwa be the partyís nominee to be appointed to fill the vacancy of State President in terms of Part 4, paragraph 14 sub paragraph 5 of the Sixth Schedule of Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment Number 20. That the Extraordinary Congress scheduled for 12th to the 17th of December 2017 should proceed for purposes of ratifying the decisions we have taken this afternoon, in particular ratifying the appointment of Cde ED Mnangagwa as the First Secretary and President of Zanu-PF. The Extraordinary Congress should also ratify the decision we have taken today to recall Cde R.G. Mugabe as President and First Secretary of Zanu-PF. ...

That Cde Phelekezela Mphoko be and is hereby recalled from the position of Vice President and Second Secretary of Zanu-PF for being divisive, a member of the cabal, protecting criminals, preaching hate speech and behaving in a manner inconsistent with the Office and decorum of the Office."

According to numerous reports, Mugabe and the army had reached agreement that Mugabe would announce that he would step down in a speech televised nationally (and, in fact, globally, since a lot of people around the world, including myself, were watching it live).

So as the world watched, Mugabe came into a conference room with a dozen army generals, shook their hands, and sat down at the table to read his speech.

Now what happened next is open to speculation. According to some social media, one could see Mugabe switch speeches just before he sat down, though this has not been confirmed.

At any rate, there's little doubt at the shock and surprise on the faces of the army generals as Mugabe read his speech. Instead of resigning, he said that he would be presiding over the December 12-17 Extraordinary Congress mentioned in the above Zanu-pf statement, and then he went on to forgive the army:

"We cannot be guided by bitterness or revengefulness which would not makes us any better Zimbabweans. ...

The congress is due in a few weeks from now. I will preside over its processes, which must not be prepossessed by any acts calculated to undermine it or to compromise it the outcomes in the eyes of the public. The way forward thus cannot be based on swapping by tricks that ride roughshod over party rules and procedures. ...

Whatever the pros and cons of the way they [the army] went about registering those concerns, I as the president of Zimbabwe, as their commander in chief, do acknowledge the issues they have drawn my attention to, and do believe that these were raised in the spirit of honesty and out of deep and patriotic concern for the stability of our nation and for the welfare of our people. ...

We must learn to forgive and resolve contradictions real or perceived in a comradely Zimbabwean spirit.

Iím happy that throughout the short period the pillars of state remained functional."

He gave the speech in a halting manner, with several pauses, and seemed at times to be confused. At the end of the speech, he said goodnight, and then he apologized for having said some things out of order, and hoped that they could be corrected.

Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai was dumbstruck. "I am baffled. Itís not just me, itís the whole nation. Heís playing a game. He is trying to manipulate everyone. He has let the whole nation down."

Some people expressed sadness that 93 year old Mugabe had skipped his chance to leave office with dignity, and instead would be humiliated by the events to come. Reuters and Zimbabwe Herald and Zimbabwe Herald

Plans go ahead to impeach Mugabe

The Zimbabwean War Veterans Association, otherwise known as the "old guard," is the organization of veterans that won the war against Ian Smith, the white supremacist leader of Rhodesia, leading to independence of Zimbabwe in 1980.

Chris Mutsvangwa, the leader of the Zimbabwean War Veterans Association, said that Mugabe has a Monday noon deadline to resign, and then plans to impeach Mugabe would begin on Tuesday, as scheduled. Furthermore, he said that people would take to the streets on Wednesday, hoping to replicate the events of Saturday, when hundreds of thousands of people were in the streets demanding that Mugabe step down.

However, some analysts are saying that the plans to impeach Mugabe are fraught with complications.

One problem is that there may not be sufficiently severe charges to justify impeachment in the eyes of some members of the parliament.

Even if an impeachment is successful, then who would become president? In the Zanu-pf statement quoted above, Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa should become president. But Mugabe recently fired Mnangagwa as vice president, with the objective of replacing him with his own wife Grace Mugabe, who would then succeed him. So Mnangagwa could not become vice-president unless Mugabe could be convinced to reinstate him prior to being impeached and convicted.

Otherwise, the next candidate to become president would be the second vice president -- Phelekezela Mphoko.

However, if you look again at the Zanu-pf statement quoted above, Mphoko is accused of "being divisive, a member of the cabal, protecting criminals, preaching hate speech and behaving in a manner inconsistent with the Office and decorum of the Office."

So if the strict rules of Zimbabwe's constitution are followed, then the entire impeachment process is potentially blocked by many severe complications.

Mugabe was undoubtedly aware of all this when he refused to resign. According to some commentators, he may be trying to provoke the army into deposing him by force, which could theoretically trigger an intervention by the African Union and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) bloc of nations. Australian Broadcasting and Guardian (London) and The Nation (Kenya)

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 20-Nov-17 World View -- Robert Mugabe stuns Zimbabwe by refusing to step down thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (20-Nov-2017) Permanent Link
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