VICE President Constantino Chiwenga, seeking to publicly absolve himself from an enervating political gamesmanship with his superior, President Emmerson Mnangagwa, has said Zanu PF was ready to initiate a constitutional amendment which will see the ruling party’s first secretary become Zimbabwe’s life president.
Chiwenga, whose estranged wife Marry Mubaiwa – now languishing in remand prison despite her serious illness – exposed his presidential ambitions and an inclination to topple Mnangagwa last year, was addressing Zanu PF supporters in Beitbridge Wednesday.
The Zimbabwean constitution, passed in 2013 by 94,5% of the electorate, provides for two five year presidential term limits.
“Zvakare manzwa pano Chairman vachitaura kuti last month in October we had the national people’s conference in Bindura which was chaired by the national chairman and all the provinces in Zimbabwe including all of you said you want an able leader who can lead in 2023,” Chiwenga said.
“You all said that you want Shumba Murambwi VaMnangagwa, ndivo vatichapinda navo muna 2023 so that all his plans will succeed in 2030. Mhandu zvino dzaoma shaya, vakati pano nepano vanenge vachingotaura zvisina maturo, isu tirikupinda naVaMnangagwa muna 2023, ndivo vatinenge tinavo (Our enemies are running scared and saying nonsensical things. We will go into the 2023 election with our president Mnangagwa).
“Kana Zanu ichitonga kusvikira madhongi amera nyanga, kana mutemo wacho futi tinochinja vakaramba vachiita nharo, toti ndivo vatinoda kusvikira amen. Saka dai zvanga zvichitobvira vatonyarara zvavo kuti zii, ivo vongomirira chete kudya sadza tichivarimira (We will not hesitate to amend the constitution to allow him to rule for life if they keep saying what they are saying. So they must hold their peace and have their meals while we work for them),” Chiwenga said in an apparent effort to appease his boss.
A power struggle has been simmering for the past three years between Mnangagwa and Chiwenga, with factions said to belong to them fighting bitterly over control of party structures. The fight has worsened during the ongoing restructuring exercise).
Mnangagwa and the former Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander are fighting for the heart and soul of Zanu PF and control of the levers of state power.
The differences between the two emerged after the November 2017 coup over several issues, such as type of transitional arrangement, key appointments, including cabinet posts and Mnangagwa’s tenure.
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