Critical Analysis Of ED’s Announcement On His Political Future – 3rd Term or No 3rd Term?
6 July 2024
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By Brighton Mutebuka

1. The ides of Mutare visited Zimbabwe today and made us witness a rare moment in history – a Zimbabwean leader occupying the seat of power voluntarily pronouncing his political future after the expiry of his term of office.

2. Not only was it a sombre moment, it was also jarring, – to the extent that it was unprecedented – and also in light of the swirling / frenzied speculation centring on whether or not there are machinations behind the scenes tasked with securing him a 3rd term, which would be unconstitutional, or extending his current term, which would equally be unconstitutional.

3. In recent months, none other than ED himself had set the cat among the pigeons by joining his Lieutenants public drum beating in chanting the slogan that he would still be in power in 2030.

4. In a recent episode in Chikomba District which was rather mortifying, he went as far as lining up his Cabinet Ministers to join him at the podium to repeat that dreadful & potentially dangerous slogan.

5. Viewed in light of those developments, today’s events presents as a stunning Volte-Face or U-Turn which has blindsided the nation.

6. Many felt that ED was courting trouble with his provocative slogan, while a great many others concluded that the Constitutional obstacles & political fundamentals he faced were simply way too formidable as to be insurmountable navigation wise, even for a wily, seasoned & ruthless veteran like him.

7. Many eyes were trained on General Chiwenga, the more powerful of the two current VPs and the coup kingpin, to try and suss out whether he was primed to execute any moves on the political chessboard.

8. He wisely kept his cards close to his chest and played poker politics – and continues to do so, making it very difficult for his opponents to read him.

So What Does ED’s Announcement Mean?
a. It seems rather bizarre that it was announced in that fashion. Many are openly and naturally speculating why it unfolded in that fashion.

b. Some have referenced the recent state capture scandals, while some have referenced the shocking incidents surrounding ED‘s son and current Deputy Min of Finance‘s Borrowdale Home – which appears to have been the subject of an arson attack (*not yet confirmed*.)

c. ED‘s demeanour was that of someone who appeared to have been forced to make the announcement.

d. The announcement just tumbled out of him – there was no coherence, a sense of control and authority or mastery of the environment around him. Zvangonzi bvoo pachena, with no fanfare – as if it was some sort of burden that had been tormenting him!

e.To me, there seems to be too much of a disconnect between the investment that he had hitherto appeared to have made in potentially unconstitutionally retaining power – especially the choreography surrounding the likes of Tshabangu, Mudenda, Mudha, Ncube & others – and the sudden and dramatic abdication.

f. My take is that caution still needs to be taken pertaining to whether or not today’s announcement is grounded in sincerity. It really was a damp squib and bordered on feebleness …. a sort of anti-climatic capitulation and wholly uncharacteristic of political gladiators of his ilk.

g. It leaves one feeling that there is another instalment in store … more twists and turns before the finale. As we saw with Robert Mugabe, figures of history such as these rarely bow out without drama.

h. They find power terribly addictive and the corridors of power irresistible. They almost always feel drawn towards giving it one more shot before the coup de grace, which often makes for a dramatic & unforgettable exit!

Final take? It’s not over until it’s finally over. All the leading gladiators should sleep with their eyes open! There is a reason why there has never been a peaceful & democratic succession in ZANU PF & Zimbabwe since independence – from Mgagao Declaration to November 2017!