National Patriotic Front (NPF) party spokesperson, Jealousy Mawarire has claimed that the late former President Robert Mugabe was scheduled to retire in December 2017.
Mawarire, a journalist and the executive director and founding trustee for the Centre for Elections and Democracy in Southern Africa (CEDSA) says the march against Mugabe in 2017 was not about him overstaying in power.
He said it was meant to secure a future for then Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Vice President Constantino Chiwenga who was a military commander. He said:
Mugabe was going in 8 months, what was the reason for plunging a country into a coup against a leader retiring in 8 months? The coup was NEVER about Mugabe going, it was about who was to replace him, simple. Anyone who thinks it was about RGM going is the one “stupid”. He had called for an extraordinary congress in December 2017 to choose his successor who was to be the Zanu-PF presidential candidate in 2018. Mugabe preferred Sydney Sekeramayi, which would have knocked out both Gen Chiwenga & ED.
He added that Mugabe had called for an extraordinary congress in December 2017 where he was going to retire.
Mugabe resigned, allegedly under duress, on 21 November 2017 after leading the southern African country since the attainment of independence in 1980. In a resignation letter read by the speaker of the National Assembly, Jacob Mudenda, Mugabe said:
My decision to resign is voluntary on my part and arises from my concern for the welfare of people in Zimbabwe and my desires to see a smooth, peaceful and non-violent transfer of power.
Kindly give public notice of my resignation as soon as possible as required by the constitution.
Yours faithfully, Mugabe.
During his 37-year rule, Zimbabwe had mixed fortunes.
The nation benefited from his socialist policies but corruption by some of his cabinet ministers resulted in the collapse of the economy.
As the economy continued on the decline path, the citizenry grew impatient and demanded his departure, something he and the ruling ZANU PF opposed for years.
In 2017, members of the public marched in the streets of Harare following the army’s “Operation Restore Legacy” which was allegedly meant to remove corrupt individuals “surrounding the president.”
Analysing some of the placards and posters that were being carried by protesters, Mawarire says it was clear that the citizenry “marched to remove Mugabe and install ED.”
Mnangagwa who had been fired as VP was in exile when the march happened. He came after Mugabe’s resignation and assumed the presidency in ZANU PF and also replaced Mugabe as president on an interim basis until the July 2018 elections.
Mawarire’s remarks come at the backdrop of a court case filed by Sybeth Musengezi who is challenging Mnangagwa’s ascendancy to power. He said it was unconstitutional.
Musengezi also wants the courts to block Mnangagwa from calling and presiding over the ZANU PF elective congress set for next month.
He also says Mnangagwa, at 80 years, is too old to lead the country.