Zimbabwe may be gearing up for its second army-driven removal of a sitting president in the past two-and-a-half years.
The economic meltdown in the country constitutes the biggest threat to Zanu PF’s continued hold on power, the ruling party has admitted.
The country is going through one of the worst economic crises since 2013 characterised by severe currency shortages, scarce fuel supplies and galloping inflation.
Jonathan Moyo – a former cabinet minister for Zanu PF – has claimed that the wheels are in motion to remove Emmerson Mnangagwa from office through a military coup.
Will there be another army coup in Zimbabwe?
The one-time Higher and Tertiary Education leader has predicted that a “bloodless transition” – similar to what we saw in 2017 when Robert Mugabe was booted from his throne – will take place again this year:
Who could replace Emmerson Mnangagwa?
Spotlight Zimbabwe – who have a respectable track record after predicting the demise of Mugabe – also report that vice president Constantino Chiwenga is going to ‘take over the reins of government from Mnangagwa as a transitional president’, with an announcement set to be made on national television.
The likes of Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) Commander Philip Valerio Sibanda, lands and agriculture minister Perence Shiri, and foreign affairs minister Sibusiso Busi Moyo are all being touted for key positions in the new regime. Former central bank governor Gideon Gono is reportedly being considered as another possible replacement for Mnangagwa, but Chiwenga remains the front-runner.
Mnangagwa could be replaced
The VP was instrumental in the previous leadership transition, using his army connections to usher Emmerson Mnangagwa into the leadership role. However, it now seems that Chiwenga wants the gig for himself, and is willing to make a tactical play for the highest power in the land.
Since assuming the presidency in 2017, Emmerson Mnangagwa’s tenure has been underwhelming to say the least. Despite winning the 2018 Elections in Zimbabwe, the country has been blighted by soaring fuel prices and a massive rise in inflation. Millions of Zimbabweans face the threat of starvation over the next 12 months.
Swapping Mnangagwa for Chiwenga would still mean that Zanu PF retain power in the neighbouring nation. They’ve held onto control of Zimbabwe for the best part of 40 years.
Main opposition leader Nelson Chamisa and his party the MDC refused to recognise Mnangagwa’s election victory in last year’s elections citing alleged vote rigging.
The opposition party has been pushing for dialogue between the two leaders to resolve the crisis, but Zanu PF insists that there is no need for the talks.
Instead Mnangagwa set up a dialogue forum of fringe political parties that took part in the July 2018 presidential elections, which the MDC has dismissed as a farce.
Churches have also been pushing for dialogue between Mnangagwa and Chamisa to resolve Zimbabwe’s political and economic crisis, which has left millions on the brink of starvation.
According to the UN, 60% of Zimbabwe’s population is food insecure due to a severe drought during the 2018/19 farming season.
Mnangagwa, who took over from Mugabe in 2017 following a military coup, has been struggling to deliver on his promise of a quick economic turnaround.
Foreign investors continue to stay away from Zimbabwe due to the unstable political situation in the country and unpredictable economic policies.
In June Zimbabwe dumped the multi-currency regime that had helped stabilise the economy for over a decade and reverted back to its own currency.
The Zimbabwe dollar, however, has been losing value rapidly due to low economic activity in the country.