VP Mnangagwa enticed to cancel 2018 elections

COLOGNE/CAPE TOWN - Aggrieved opposition political foes and forces against MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai, and Zim PF boss, Joice Mujuru's grand coalition pact to dethrone President Robert Mugabe's ruling Zanu PF party from power in next year's crucial presidential and parliamentary polls, are reportedly enticing vice president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, to cancel the plebiscite, in favour of an all inclusive National Transitional Authority (NTA) instead, Spotlight Zimbabwe reported.

Former vice president Joice Mujuru

The country is due to hold it’s next harmonised elections by July 22 2018, in line with electoral laws enshrined in the new Constitution.

The VP is expected to take over from Mugabe before then, to finish off his term and prepare the ground to run for president himself.

Intelligence sources say, the picture of Mugabe’s awaited departure will be clear next month, when the nonagenarian is expected to make his last birthday television appearance speech as head of state, when he turns 93 on 21 February.

A formidable constituency said to be within the ranks of the thirteen local opposition parties, which met in Cape Town, South Africa where they agreed to go ahead with forming their own coalition version, in November last year ahead of the 2018 elections, is reportedly making overtures to Mnangagwa to stop Tsvangirai and Mujuru’s partnership using the NTA, which is seen as giving all the political formations in the country especially Zanu PF an electoral grace period, while the economy stabilises before an new election can be called possibly in 2023.

An MDC-T insider, admitted that a grand coalition between his party and Mujuru as the main protagonists will likely render “smaller parties without a solid support base redundant”, if they were to win the coming elections and form the next government.

The parties include African Democratic Party, Democratic Assembly of Restoration and empowerment, Free Zimbabwe Congress, Freedom Front, Progressive Democrats of Zimbabwe, Renewal Democrats of Zimbabwe, Transform Zimbabwe, Zanu Ndonga, Zimbabwe United for Democracy. They also include Dumiso Dabengwa’s Zapu, former finance minister Tendai Biti’s PDP, Welshman Ncube’s MDC and Simba Makoni’s MKD.

“A serious political war is brewing behind the scenes,” said one of the opposition leaders who has previously served as cabinet minister in government. “Tsvangirai and Mujuru refused to come to our meeting and join forces when we met in South Africa before the end of 2016, because they think that perhaps the other parties need them more. I can confirm to you that some senior politicians within the opposition have met Mnangagwa, to discuss the possible cancelation of elections in 2018, and allowing the provision of an all inclusive NTA. This is a project that will accommodate everyone and represent every Zimbabwean.”

Another politician who attended the Cape Town indaba, told this publication’s reporter now based in that city that Tsvangirai and Mujuru might end up competing against each other in a worst case scenario because, the other parties are not prepared to be taken for granted and allow the duo to own the opposition project.

“It’s now a high stakes game. Don’t be shocked if the coaltion between Tsvangirai and Mujuru crumbles. We know they met in South Africa ahead of us, and signed a preliminary electoral agreement in secrecy ahead of everyone when the MDC-T leader was going there for his cancer treatment. Mnangagwa seems to be open to the NTA idea, but unfortunately some elements from the security establishment backing him want polls to go on as planned in 2018. Lets wait and see.”

Spotlight Zimbabwe has also been told that others in opposition circles, are pushing for Makoni to be their coalition candidate to square off once again with Tsvangirai and this time around Mnangagwa instead of Mugabe. They argue that Makoni has deliberately been left in the cold by Tsvangirai and Mujuru, yet he was the one who first called for a Government of National Unity (GNU) in 2008, and was never offered any post when he could have qualified to be one of the principles in the coalition administration.

This publication has it on good account, that the grand coalition, is mooting to have the office of the Prime Minister re-introduced, and that the power sharing between Tsvangirai and Mujuru, will give genesis, to the biggest government in the nation’s history.

The PM’s office, has existed on two separate occasions. The first person to hold the position was Mugabe between 1980 -1987 following Independence from Britain. However, the position was was abolished when the constitution was amended in 1987 and Mugabe became President, taking over from Canaan Banana as head of state.

There was restoration of the office in 2009, when Tsvangirai became prime minister under the Government of National Unity (GNU). It was again abolished by the 2013 Constitution, and is poised to return in 2018.

Biti and political analyst, Ibbo Mandaza, have been vocal about the NTA, with the former finance minister arguing that it was the best panacea for the country as it was sliding into becoming another Rwanda.

“Zimbabwe is an unstable fragile state that is on the verge of an implosion. The truth of the matter is that any Zanu PF faction that takes over post Mugabe will require time to consolidate and no Zanu PF faction, post Mugabe, can hold this country together,” said Biti during a public lecture last year.

“The opposition equally, will require the National Transitional Authority (NTA) to create an even playing field before an election. Going to the elections now without a level playing field will spell doom for the opposition even if it is united. Coalition is necessary but not a sufficient condition, we don’t have time for reforms between now and 2018, Zanu PF will not reform the electoral laws willingly, and they will not reform themselves out of Power. Equally the people of Zimbabwe needs a transitional process as a rest haven away from the vicious contestation associated with Zimbabwe’s electoral authoritarianism. Suffice to say that, Zimbabwe needs a managed transition and only the NTA can offer that.”

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