Sat. Jul 13th, 2024

In the dramatic landscape of Zimbabwean politics, the story remains consistent – a narrative of intrigue, power, and suppression. The scene at Mzingwane High School, Esigodini, on December 14, 2018, captured this essence perfectly. President Emmerson Mnangagwa, amidst the echoes of a recent coup, appeared before 5000 delegates at Zanu PF’s Annual National People’s Conference. His agenda was clear: fortify his position and eye a re-election in 2023.

Mnangagwa’s ascent to power followed a unique trajectory. A bloodless coup had ousted long-standing President Robert Mugabe, and Mnangagwa, only three months and 18 days into his leadership, was already laying the groundwork for the 2023 elections. Initially, he had an agreement with Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga – a pact formed during the tumultuous days of the coup – that envisioned Mnangagwa stepping down after a single term. However, as stability returned, so did his ambitions, leading to a strategic elimination of former allies and a clear path for his prolonged rule.

Chiwenga, once the mastermind behind the coup, found himself sidelined as Mnangagwa, initially the civilian face of the coup, began cementing his authority. The subsequent election, marred by allegations of fraud, only strengthened Mnangagwa’s position. His vision extended beyond a second term, eyeing a potential third term in office.

Mnangagwa’s focus wasn’t limited to consolidating power within his party. He turned his attention towards the main opposition, the CCC, aiming to diminish its influence in parliament. His goal was to secure a two-thirds majority, crucial for amending the constitution to allow for a third term post-2028. At 81 (officially, though rumored to be 85), Mnangagwa’s insistence on remaining in politics reflects his unyielding ambition.

This journey unfolds against a backdrop of a nation grappling with economic and political challenges, a legacy of the Zanu PF’s decades-long rule. Mnangagwa’s moves are strategic, each step calculated to extend his tenure amidst a nation in crisis.

His aspirations to stay in power until 2033, potentially concluding his third term at 91 (or 96, if rumors are accurate), underscore a deep-seated culture of political longevity that has marked Zimbabwe’s governance for over four decades. This desire to cling to power, irrespective of advancing age, is a telling sign of the entrenched political dynamics in Zimbabwe.

Mnangagwa’s reign, characterized by strategic political moves, internal purges, and a quest to diminish opposition presence, mirrors the broader political turmoil in Zimbabwe. As he steers towards a future filled with political machinations, Mnangagwa’s legacy, and indeed the legacy of this period, will be remembered as a pivotal chapter in Zimbabwe’s complex political history.

In summary, Emmerson Mnangagwa’s political journey in Zimbabwe is more than a quest for power; it’s a reflection of the entrenched political culture that has governed the nation. His maneuvers for an extended reign, amidst a nation facing significant challenges, highlight the ongoing struggle within Zimbabwe’s political theatre – a struggle between the pursuit of power and the principles of democratic governance.

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