A PROCESS to impeach President Mugabe will be set in motion during a joint sitting of both Houses of Parliament in Harare today — an unprecedented move precipitated by the President’s failure to resign during a televised address to the nation on Sunday night. In an eagerly anticipated speech that was beamed live to millions of Zimbabweans glued to their TV sets across the nation and beyond, President Mugabe stunned everyone with an address that was conciliatory in tone but lacking the vital clincher that would have seen him bow out gracefully after 37 years in power.
After the dramatic intervention of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces in the early hours of last Wednesday during which they stepped in to weed out criminal elements around the President, a series of events have occurred which culminated in the address by Cde Mugabe which was flighted live by ZBCtv.
President Mugabe spoke a few hours after his party — Zanu-PF — had recalled him from his position of First Secretary and replaced him with former Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
In his address, Cde Mugabe admitted that there is a crisis in the country and concerns raised by the ZDF and ordinary citizens relating to the state of the economy were genuine. He said Zimbabwe would now chart a new path aimed at restoring normalcy in the country. The President, who spoke after a meeting he held with military commanders, also admitted that Zanu-PF was also facing challenges that required attention that would be dealt with at the forthcoming Extraordinary Congress that he said he would preside over.
Crucially, the President acknowledged that the intervention by the ZDF to contain a potentially volatile situation in the country was an operation which did not amount to a threat to the country’s well-cherished constitutional order nor was it a challenge to his authority as Head of State and Government. He commended the ZDF Command Element for remaining respectful and comported with the dictates and mores of constitutionalism.
The President also touched on issues raised concerning Zanu-PF and said they would be attended to. He called for a return to the guiding principles of the party as enshrined in the constitution and said they must be applied fairly and equitably in all situations.
The era of victimisation and arbitrary decisions must be done away with and new ethos predicated on the supreme law of the party, embraced. “To all this must be a general recognition that Zanu-PF is a party of traditions, and has been served by successive generations who are bound together by shared ideals and values which must continue to reign supreme in our nation. Hints of inter-generation conflict must be resolved through a harmonised melding of old, established players as they embrace and welcome new ones through a well-defined sense of hierarchy and succession,” President Mugabe said.
His speech shows that the President is alive to the problems affecting both his party and Government and is prepared to rectify them. It also points to re-awakening for a man who has been surrounded by a cabal that was controlling him and leading him in a direction that has brought him in direct conflict with his erstwhile comrades whom he has travelled the long road from the liberation struggle to independent Zimbabwe.
Whether he is impeached today or not is another story but the enduring message from his speech is that he has acknowledged the issues raised by the military commanders and ordinary Zimbabweans and is prepared to have them rectified.
Questions remain on whether he is prepared to accept the position of his party which has recalled him from the position of First Secretary and the expulsion of some members of the G40 group from the party.
The Command Element of the ZDF has been clear in its mission — it wants to separate the President (their Commander in Chief) from counter-revolutionaries surrounding him and leading him astray. It appears from their interactions that the two parties are finding each other and a breakthrough in their negotiations might not be too far off.
On the other hand, Zanu-PF has pronounced itself unequivocally on the situation and President Mugabe will have to accept that the party has made binding resolutions through its Central Committee (highest decision-making body outside Congress) and these will have to be ratified at the Special Congress. In the meantime, Zimbabweans are anxious for the political situation to be resolved so that they can resume their normal lives in an environment that is peaceful, calm and conducive. They want to go about their business unhindered, in an environment of perfect peace and security, assured that law and order obtain and prevail as before.
In this regard, we call on them to remain peaceful and orderly as they await the successful resolution of the current crisis.