EXCLUSIVE:President Mugabe to step down before 2018 elections




President Robert Mugabe

President Robert Mugabe, is reportedly planning to announce his shock departure from power before the watershed 2018 presidential and parliamentary elections, as the ruling Zanu PF strongman is now becoming increasingly incapacitated to pull on due to old age and a plethora of confidential health problems, Spotlight Zimbabwe reported on Friday.

The country was due to hold it’s next harmonized elections by July 22 2018, in line with electoral laws enshrined in the new Constitution.

Mugabe who frequents Singapore for first class treatment, reportedly suffers from among other health challenges prostate cancer, swollen feet causing him walking problems, and eye cataract complications, which gobble millions of dollars in taxpayer funds every year. An insider on Zanu PF affairs, Ken Yamamoto, recently revealed that Mugabe is now only able to work 30 minutes per day due to old age, and that he has drastically reduced his daily working routine .

High level sources inside Zanu PF and government have confirmed that the 2018 polls are unlikely to go on and will be cancelled, as Mugabe will cite his incapacitation to continue as leader, shortly before the plebiscite, leaving one of his vice presidents in power to lead the executive as a caretaker president until new polling dates are announced at least within 90 days after the aftermath political ordeal.

It is also coming to light that Mugabe and Zanu PF are all but leading the nation and opposition political parties down the garden path on elections, as the ruling party is afraid of losing power to former prime minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, due to the current economic crisis, characterised by cash shortages and ever soaring unemployment of over 90%. This publication has also gathered that the pending poll cancellation on grounds of Mugabe’s incapacitation, is a way of saving the party from collapse due to internal political skirmishes among factions and a sapient way to manage the nonagenarian’s jigsaw succession puzzle, now pitting Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa and First Lady, Grace Mugabe.

Mugabe himself continues “to wear a brave face and put up a show”, that elections are forthcoming when it is not true, our insider informants in the party said. The revelations come on the backdrop of the veteran leader having reshuffled his cabinet to “focus” on securing electoral victory next year, and only yesterday telling a group of Chinese journalists with a straight face that his regime is not going to allow westerners to observe the 2018 polls.
“We don’t need them. We are saying no. We are going to have elections in 2018 and we are going to say no to the whites,” Mugabe is reported by the media as saying. “We don’t mind their diplomats participating but the NGOs, no. We don’t want them at all.”

Spolight Zimbabwe has it on good authority, that Mugabe’s exit announcement should they reach an understanding, will likely be timed to see Mnangagwa, taking over ahead of his colleague Phelekezela Mphoko, who has not shown the hunger for a further presidium elevation.

“This whole talk of elections is a bluff if you ask those in the know, because we have a health crisis with him (Mugabe) and a successsion issue to solve, ” said a senior party Politburo member claiming to be neither for Mnangagwa’s Lacoste faction nor Grace’s G40 confederacy. “All these presidential interface rallies and the planned special congress in December are aimed at duping the opposition and keeping them busy. Voter registration is going on and the campaign mood is already in gear, but there are no elections. We have to play along, and not make it seem obvious. The intelligence has warned that the economic crisis that we’re in alone, is enough to hand Tsvangirai power, add that to our (Zanu PF) twin problems of the president’s health and succession. Who in their rightful mind will take that risk ,not even your newspaper if it were a political party will do that.”

Other government sources said since the ruling party enjoys the power of incumbency, they will not allow succession politics to split and destroy the liberation movement, although at face value “their house seems to be on fire”.

 “That’s the beauty of incumbency. Zanu PF will put all their differences aside just to stay in power. I can confirm that elections are highly unlikely next year, and the opposition will cry foul. However they’re unlikely to turn away another coalition proposal,” said a long serving foreign affairs official. “In fact the ruling party can hand-pick whom they want in a coalition administration or so called National Transitional Authority if polls are cancelled by Mugabe’s inability to continue in office, as there are now 74 political parties to choose from.”

According to Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) chairperson, Rita Makarau, about 75 political parties have sofar registered to contest in the 2018 polls.

Last month political analyst and publisher, Ibbo Mandaza, told a media stakeholders conference in the capital, that there are possibilities of polls not going ahead next year if Mugabe is declared incapacitated.

“There are possibilities that elections may not take place. Do you think that there would be elections if the old man (Mugabe) fell dead tomorrow? Can you see elections taking place? What if he is declared two weeks before elections incapacitated and unable to even move in a wheelchair, will there be elections?,” Mandaza said.

The former owner of the Mirror group of newspapers, also warned the West not to be “excited” by the current poll rhetoric.

A number of former cabinet ministers, who requested secrecy this week told Spotlight Zimbabwe, that the brewing developments of Mugabe’s reported announcement to call it a day before the anticipated elections, is likely to save Zanu PF from collapse, as machinations from Mnangagwa’s foes were at an advanced state to have defence minister, Sydney Sekeramayi or former central bank governor Gono “jumping the queue” to overtake him into power, despite not being presidium members.

Mnangagwa has accussed the rival G40 faction of plotting to promote Gono as the country’s next president in an 85-page dossier response to higher education minister, Jonathan Moyo’s State capture allegations against him. Mnangagwa also exposes Moyo, as allegedly being a James Bond operative for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), going by the agent code 00263.

 Part of the dossier, which has now been widely publicised reads in part: “Professor Moyo has been luring Dr Gono, telling him that they will make him the country’s next president and I can tell you that there was a picture which circulated in the media, where Professor Moyo was standing together with former advisor to Morgan Tsvangirai, Dr Alex Magaisa and Cde Kasukuwere at the Plot Restaurant (in Borrowdale),” Mnangagwa argues. “Dr Gono was also present, but he refused to be part of the picture crew, and this has been confirmed by Dr Alex Magaisa, as well as his female companion, who is well-known to Professor Moyo and who happened to have accompanied him for coffee at that restaurant.”

Sekeramayi on the other hand, it had appeared in recent weeks had become a favoured successor by Mugabe, after Grace disclosed at a rally, that the quietly-spoken politician was summoned by Mugabe to his mansion’s bedroom, some time ago without giving a specific date, when he fell ill from food poisoning, to receive instructions on what to do and the way forward as he feared he was about to die.

Mugabe’s spokesman and press czar, George Charamba’s mobile phone was not going through last night, when we sought an official comment on his boss’s power exit.

Spotlight Zimbabwe reported a fortnight ago, that Mnangagwa’s foes and Mugabe are still inwardly shaken by the prospects of the vice president being courted by the opposition or deserting Zanu PF, following Mugabe’s recent panic reshuffle. Mugabe developed cold feet at the eleventh hour in dismissing Mnangagwa, after being warned that the development could trigger unrest and mayhem in the country as the vice president reportedly has massive support within the military.

Mnangagwa has also warned of unleashing a KO punch against his political rivals, likening the succession race to the game of boxing.




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