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Too early for Grace Mugabe’s supporters to celebrate

Zimbabwean media, especially the online media, has been awash with headlines like: “Grace Mugabe in Zimbabwe leadership race”,  “Moves to make Grace Mugabe Zimbabwe VP”,  “Grace Mugabe takes over from Bob”,  “Grace Mugabe takes charges of ZANU-PF congress” “ Plans to make Grace Mugabe Zimbabwe President”, “Grace Mugabe for President”, “Mugabe succession: Grace Mugabe starts Mnangagwa elimination process”.

The headlines are based on the assumption that the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front is going to hold an elective congress in December at which the constitution is going to be amended to put a close that one of the Vice-Presidents should be a woman.

Since the constitution already says that the party should have two vice-presidents, one from the former Zimbabwe African People’s Union and the other from the former Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front, the former ZANU-PF will nominate Grace and thus push out Mnangagwa.

This was tried in 2015 but Mnangagwa supporters are said to have agreed to a woman vice-president but came up with a former ZAPU candidate thus scuttling the plan to prop Grace.

It is not clear why the same cannot happen at the proposed congress unless Mnangagwa and his supporters have been totally decimated they cannot challenge the nomination.

But what seems to have been totally forgotten is that if ZANU-PF goes by the book, it cannot amend its constitution unless the special congress is held next year and not in December.

According to the party constitution: “Any proposed amendments shall be submitted to the Secretary for Administration at least three months before the date of the meeting of the Central Committee at which the amendment is to be considered;

“The Secretary for Administration, upon receipt of the proposed amendments, shall cause the same to be circulated to the Provinces at least two months before the date of meeting.”

Unless these provisions were amended in 2014, it means that the party does not have enough time to do what is required to make legal constitutional amendments.

Besides, the constitution specifically states that a special congress can “deliberate only on those matters for which it has been specifically convened”.

This poses the question why was the special congress called? To endorse Mugabe. To hold elections? Which elections since vice-presidents are now appointed?

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