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'plotted' life presidency
Gwatidzo, The Zimbabwe Guardian
November 19, 2007
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe's
assertion that the decision by his government to harmonise the country's
crucial presidential and parliamentary elections next year was bent
on cutting costs and that it was a position agreed upon by his administration
is untrue, it has now emerged.
Part of the
audio interview, which Mugabe gave OMNI, a
Canadian television station last year and which was not broadcast
due to time limitations, was made available to The Zimbabwe Guardian.
In the interview President Mugabe suggests that he decided, not
Zanu PF, that elections be married without making any consultations
- seemingly for his own ends.
The revelation crystallizes
the widely held political view that President Mugabe made the controversial
decision to call for polls next year so as to grant himself a life
presidency while monopolizing his candidature to maintain a strong
grip on power.
The disclosure could
portray Mugabe in unflattering light with the Southern African Development
Community (Sadc) heads of states who mandated South African President,
Thabo Mbeki, as chief negotiator between Mugabe and the opposition
so as to resolve Zimbabwe's deepening crisis.
It will also come as
a shock to many ruling party and government officials who hitherto
thought the issue of holding the harmonised elections in 2008 was
President Mugabe who
is set to be endorsed as the ruling Zanu PF candidate next month
during a special party congress gave a cosmetic impression all along
through state media that his party and government had brainstormed
the issue of harmonizing elections.
Vice President Joice
Mujuru's husband, Retired General Solomon Mujuru, who heads a faction
opposed to President Mugabe's continued stay in office, tried to
block Mugabe from extending his tenure to 2010.
In the audio interview
Mugabe is asked by his interviewer: "I have had talk that the
presidential elections are in 2008 and the rest of them in 2010
and you might harmonise the two. What are your thoughts on that?
Do you have an opinion on whether they should harmonise them?"
Mugabe retorts, "Well,
well the suggestion came from me earlier on. I said the six year
term for a president was far too long. And then of course it produced
the disparity, the imbalance, and the discord between the parliamentary
elections and the presidential elections.
when we still had the ceremonial president, and I was Prime Minister
by the way I began as Prime minister, only in 1988 I became President."
The new twist
to Mugabe's disputed and contentious endorsement to lead his party
against a splintered opposition next year, comes on the backdrop
of the veteran politican giving assent, a fortnight ago, to Constitutional
Amendment Act (No 18), a legal measurement which gives him sweeping
powers and provides for the harmonisation of the presidential and
Legal critics argue the
new legislation will deliver to Mugabe an easy win next year as
aspiring parliamentarians from his party will campaign on his behalf
to seek re-election, therefore bolstering their own ballots.
President Mugabe is currently
battling for political survival owing to growing resistance to his
rule within his own government and the Zanu PF party.
President Mugabe has
bulldozed himself to become the party candidate in next year's crucial
Presidential elections as a measure to thwart his imminent oust
from office, sources within the inner circles of his party said.
Sources added that Zimbabwe's
economic crisis has also exacerbated the situation for Mugabe, thus
explaining why he wants to keep a grip on power. Others argue that
he's bent on possibly dying in office in order to evade possible
indictment for 'crimes against humanity' he is alleged to have committed
Zanu PF officials contacted
last week preferring anonymity maintain that the President no longer
trusts anyone in his party especially members from the Mujuru faction
who have put up strong resistance to his self-imposed candidature
which is due to be forcibly endorsed on December 14 when his party
convenes an extra ordinary congress.
Mugabe's pendulum is
now heavily tilted to his former bodyguard and current rural amenities
minister, Emmerson Mnangagwa who has thrown his weight behind his
Mugabe's press secretary,
George Charamba could not be reached for comment last night as his
mobile phone went unanswered. Charamba was also said to be attending
meetings after numerous calls to his office last week.
Mugabe who has clearly
fallen out of favour with the ruling party's old guard as their
choice for President next year, has turned to war veterans for support
and the party's youth so as to intimidate his opponents inside the
party, critics say.
The Zanu PF Women's League
is also drumming up support for Mugabe, who is all but set to be
the ruling party candidate next year after the two Vice Presidents
publicly endorsed him, with Joseph Msika on Saturday calling for
Mugabe to rule for life.
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