VP affirms ED as 2023 nears. . . says Mnangagwa is sole Zanu PF candidate in those polls

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VICE President Constantino Chiwenga appears to have put to rest, once and for all, claims that he is jostling for
power with President Emmerson Mnangagwa — after he recently publicly endorsed his boss as Zanu PF’s sole presidential candidate in the 2023 elections, the Daily News can reveal.
In addition, the powerful VP — who doubles up as Health minister, and who masterminded the late former president Robert Mugabe’s stunning ouster from power in 2017 — also warned some Zanu PF bigwigs against name-dropping and fuelling factionalism in the ruling party.

This comes as the demons of rampant factionalism and tribalism that gutted Zanu PF during Mugabe’s last few years in power have returned to the former liberation movement with a vengeance.

It also comes as the countdown to elections for Zanu PF’s highlydivisive district co-ordinating committees (DCCs) has been marred by allegations of dirty money changing hands — amid unproven claims that remnants of the party’s
vanquished Generation 40 (G40) faction are burning the midnight oil to influence the outcome of the polls, in an alleged bid to engineer their political comeback.

Addressing a special Zanu PF Mashonaland East provincial co-ordinating committee (PCC) meeting in Marondera last weekend — which was also attended by Mnangagwa — Chiwenga spoke strongly against factionalism, saying he and Mnangagwa were inseparable.

“Let us unite as we prepare for a resounding victory come the 2023 harmonised elections with our flagship, none other than the president of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa.

“He will be there and those who dream otherwise must realise that it was just but a dream after all,” he told the gathered Zanu PF bigwigs.

“There is no room for factionalism at any level in the party. We are a party that cannot be undermined by being defined in the confines of individuals. I repeat, no to factionalism in the party. Those engaging in factionalism and name dropping are on a selfish, lonely and self destructive path. We are one and we shall remain one. Hapana kuti uyu ndinomuda, uyu handimudi. (You cannot choose which leader to follow or not to follow),” Chiwenga told the meeting further.

This is not the first time that Chiwenga has gone public to quash rumours that he is working hard to oust Mnangagwa, and to run for the national presidency in 2023 on a Zanu PF ticket.

Speaking in December 2018, at the Zanu PF annual conference in Esigodini, Chiwenga also pledged his unwavering loyalty to Mnangagwa, chanting the slogan, “2023 — ED Pfee; ED Pfee — 2023” while introducing his boss to
party supporters.

“On behalf of all delegates who have come from the four corners of the country, I want to thank you … and in thanking you, I want it heard here and far, from now until 2023, when the next elections fall due, that you are our one and only presidential candidate.

“In that plebiscite, our national Constitution allows you two full terms which you shall have so that the party Zanu PF continues to draw from your wise, compassionate leadership. We will not wait for 2023. We start now to prepare for your victory which we know is sure to come,” Chiwenga said then.

Early this month, Zanu PF also reiterated that Mnangagwa would complete two terms in office — further bolting the door against ambitious party bigwigs said to be interested in his job. Acting Zanu PF spokesperson Patrick Chinamasa also said Mnangagwa needed to be given more time to fulfil the promises that he made when he replaced Mugabe as Zimbabwe’s new leader in November 2017.

“We say this because we do not want politics where things are started and are not finished. You cannot start on a serious development path or project and expect it to be completed in one year or one term.

We want the president to fulfil what he set out to do when he first won the elections in 2018. In Zanu PF, we are very clear at all levels of the party. We need uninterrupted development in Zimbabwe. We need peace and tranquillity so that we can have political stability and chart our own development path,” Chinamasa said.

This comes after Mnangagwa himself readily admitted in 2018 that he was aware of plots to unseat him by some disgruntled Zanu PF bigwigs, through impeachment efforts with the opposition.

Addressing Zanu PF supporters after the party’s chaotic primary elections in May of that year, the ruling party leader also warned the supposed plotters that it would not be easy to impeach him.

“I got intelligence that some of those who have won these primary elections have two minds. They
have gone to join the Zanu PF wagon using various tricks, money included, to be elected with a possible view that once in Parliament they will band together and move a motion of impeachment. There are two things I would want you to know. First, you must realise that the Constitution provides the basis of impeachment and such basis
must be fulfilled before impeachment proceedings begin.

Secondly, our Constitution provides a tool, an instrument to chuck out from Parliament any member, who we
think is not Zanu PF anymore,” Mnangagwa said then. In February this year, the MDC also made sensational claims that it was working with some disgruntled Zanu PF MPs to impeach

Mnangagwa over the country’s worsening economic rot, as well as the killings of civilians by security
forces.

“Impeachment is one of the available ways to the country to get rid of this dictator. There are many people in Zanu PF who are fed up with his brutal rule and they have been whispering to and encouraging us to take that move (impeachment).

“There is, therefore, no doubt that impeachment can be carried out … every possible card is on the table, but I will not divulge our next strategy for now. Violation of the Constitution is central to every impeachment process, the main one being the crimes against humanity that were committed on the people of Zimbabwe in August 2018 and in January 2019,” combative MDC Alliance deputy national chairperson Job Sikhala told the Daily News then.

The larger-than-life Zengeza West MP was referring to the August 1, 2018 army shootings which left at least six innocent civilians dead — after soldiers used live ammunition to quell an ugly demonstration that had broken out
in Harare.

Security forces were further accused of killing at least 20 civilians in January 2019 following deadly riots which erupted in Harare, Bulawayo and several other towns — after a steep fuel price hike that was announced by Mnangagwa ahead of his trips to Eastern Europe at the time.

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