Mugabe Ouster Plot Thickens

THE plot to push President Robert Mugabe out of office has thickened, amid reports the opposition MDC-T has rekindled its impeachment motion in Parliament and wants the matter treated as urgent.

Speaker of the National Assembly, Jacob Mudenda confirmed yesterday that he was considering the impeachment.

 “My office is considering the motion of no confidence,” he said.

The impeachment route was ignited by MDC-T Mabvuku-Tafara lawmaker, James Maridadi in June this year, before his motion papers “mysteriously disappeared in Parliament”.

In a letter dated July 27, Maridadi accused Mudenda of being reluctant to have the motion presented before a joint sitting of the National Assembly and Senate.

In the letter copied to Clerk of Parliament, Kennedy Chokuda and MDC-T chief whip, Innocent Gonese, Maridadi gave Mudenda a July 27 ultimatum, which has since expired.

“I note with concern that my no-confidence motion submitted to the papers office for processing has mysteriously gone missing somewhere in the system,” he wrote.

“I, therefore, resubmit sit for your kind consideration. Seeing as the motion is time-bound and also realising that I initially submitted it at the beginning of June 2016, I wish to request a response on this resubmitted motion by close of business today, July 27, 2016, failure to which, I will assume that Parliament is not keen to have the motion tabled. This will leave me with no option, but to seek legal recourse.”

In the proposed motion, Maridadi argues that Mugabe has illegally allowed his wife, First Lady Grace Mugabe, to usurp his constitutional powers.

“Disturbed by State capture by the President’s wife, who made public utterances that she is ruling the country; that the two Vice-Presidents consult her on State and government business. These utterances are an abrogation of the President’s constitutional mandate to a third party, which is a violation of the Constitution,” he continued.

Grace told supporters at a rally in Kadoma last year that Vice-Presidents Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko took instructions from her.

She also told another rally in Chiweshe that she was already in power and “ruling”.

Maridadi added: “Dismayed that, by his own admission, the President failed to account for $15 billion realised from the country’s diamond sector amid a shrinking economy, with more than three million Zimbabweans in need of emergency food aid.

“Startled that after announcing the disappearance of such a staggering amount, the President did not say how his government intends to either recover the money or bring to justice those who caused its disappearance.”

Early this year, Mugabe told a shocked nation that at least $15 billion in gem revenue could have been siphoned out of the country in underhand dealings.

Maridadi said Mugabe should also be removed from office because he had failed to act on rampant corruption and incompetent officials, including his nephew Patrick Zhuwao, the Indigenisation minister.

The MDC-T MP argued Zhuwao confessed to “misleading the nation for two years due to his failure to interpret a key economic enabling Act administered by his ministry”.

Also cited is Energy minister Samuel Undenge’s scandal at power utility Zesa, involving businessman, Wicknell Chivayo, who was reportedly paid $5 million without following procedure.

Maridadi said he was worried that Mugabe had shown lapses of concentration that were not consistent with his position as head of government.

“His ploughing through, for 30 minutes, of a wrong speech he had presented a few months earlier during the same joint sitting of Parliament. His tumbling at Harare International Airport in front of a capacity crowd (and) the President’s frequent absence from the country on account of his health check-ups abroad,” the lawmaker said were reasons enough to impeach the veteran leader.

The Mabvuku-Tafara legislator called on Parliament to set up a “joint committee comprising members of the Senate and the National Assembly” to investigate Mugabe and table findings for debate.

Maridadi told NewsDay he was confident that if a secret ballot were held, “Mugabe will lose”.

“If they think I am bluffing, I dare Mugabe to allow Parliament to go through this process. It is another way of reaffirming his popularity rather than a rally. I am now aware that we will not remove him through elections because he will always rig,” he said.

The move comes as civic society groups, churches and opposition parties continue piling pressure on Mugabe to step down, accusing him of gross economic mismanagement, incapacitation and failure to deal with rampant corruption within his Zanu PF government.