FOR President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s power consolidation and 2023 presidential election bid to succeed, he desperately needs MDC-T leader Douglas Mwonzora to be on his side since Zanu PF no longer commands a two-thirds majority in Parliament.
This explains why the state has gone all out to cosy up to the MDC-T, first during Thokozani Khupe’s time at the helm and now with Mwonzora leading the party.
While Mwonzora supported Constitution Amendment (No.1), 11 of his senators this week aided the passing of the Constitution Amendment (No.2) Bill, which gives Mnangagwa imperial powers to handpick judges and remove the running mate clause.
Described as a sad milestone in Zimbabwe’s democracy, the passed Bill will further plunge Zimbabwe into pariah status.
Although Mwonzora “slammed” the passing of the Amendment (No.2) Bill, he had already whipped his senators into voting for the Bill, giving Zanu PF the much-needed two-thirds majority.
Political analysts believe Mwonzora is hiding behind the finger when he argues female senators voted for the Bill as they supported the extension of the women’s quota yet, in fact, there was collusion between MDC-T and Zanu PF.
The collusion between Zanu PF and the MDC-T became apparent during the military assisted takeover of Harvest House from the MDC Alliance led by Nelson Chamisa and after the Supreme Court judged that Khupe was the legitimate leader.
In December last year, Khupe mistakenly phoned MDC Alliance lawyer Thabani Mpofu seeking help, thinking she was phoning Thabani Mpofu, the former head of Mnangagwa’s Special Anti-Corruption Unit (Sacu).
Mnangagwa’s alliance with Mwonzora also explains why the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) has not called parliamentary and local government by-elections, triggered by recalls by Mwonzora.
Without the crucial two-thirds majority because of deaths, Zanu PF desperately needs Mwonzora as Mnangagwa amends the constitution to consolidate power.
Currently with 176 MPs out of 270 members, Zanu PF does not have the required two-thirds thirds majority in the National Assembly. Zanu PF requires 180 MPs to amend the constitution.
After recalling last year 12 MDC Alliance legislators, who are considered as radicals, Mwonzora also knows it would be impractical to win any by-election.
In an analysis of the Zimbabwe Constitution Amendment (No.2) Bill, former Higher and Tertiary Education minister Jonathan Moyo said out of 63 MDC Alliance MPs, Mwonzora targeted 12, knowing fully well that by-elections would not be held to replace them.
He said the recalls were designed to help Zanu PF gain a majority through unpopular amendments.
“Mwonzora and the CIO targeted only 12 MPs out of 63 because they, in fact, do not want to have by-elections at all; all what the CIO wanted is for Zanu PF to gain two-thirds majority in Parliament through Mwonzora, to pass unpopular amendments to the constitution of Zimbabwe, to enable Chief Justice Malaba to remain in office and to give Mnangagwa imperial executive powers,” Moyo said.
“Mnangagwa has taken advantage of Covid-19 and used the Supreme Court judgment to restructure Parliament through Mwonzora’s recalls of MDC Alliance MPs, after Zanu PF lost its 2018 two-thirds majority after the onset of Covid-19.
“The recalls have damaged and destabilised the MDC Alliance by foisting on it an irrational restructuring exercise in 2020, based on non-existent 2014 structures; they have pushed the MDC Alliance back from its huge electoral gains from the 2018 presidential election; and they have restructured Parliament for Zanu PF to regain a two-thirds majority through the backdoor to pass unpopular amendments to the Constitution; with the consequence of rendering illegitimate, parliament and its enactments.”