President Emmerson Mnangagwa recently moved to consolidate his grip on power while weakening his highly ambitious deputy, Vice President Chiwenga, The Independent reports.
During the recently-held Zanu PF annual conference, the party endorsed Mnangagwa as its candidate for the 2023 elections when his first five-year term has just started. A government official who spoke to the publication said:
Mnangagwa made giant strides in his consolidation bid by getting a mandate from Zanu PF and effecting constitutional changes through the cabinet. He is now clearly in the driving seat because he has managed to isolate Chiwenga.
He has taken full advantage of Chiwenga’s illness to decimate his camp. It has been a long road of consolidation and this week was a major milestone alongside the earlier disruption of Chiwenga’s critical military support base.
The constitutional changes are significant in that the vice-presidents will serve at the pleasure of the President, even post-2023. There will be no running mate, meaning the VPs will be appointees. An appointee is weak and cannot openly challenge the appointer because of the risk of being dropped from office.
On Tuesday, the cabinet approved the Constitutional Amendment Bill of 2019 which will empower the president-elect to appoint two vice-presidents, while repealing the provision of running mates.