HARARE – Under siege Joice Mujuru is still Vice President of Zimbabwe until she has been officially fired from her job political analysts have said. This is despite her being booted out as the Vice-President and Second Secretary of Zanu PF.
University of Kent (UK) law lecturer Dr Alex Magaisa said “while Mujuru has effectively lost her Vice President’s position in Zanu PF, she is still the Vice President of the country until such time that she is relieved of her position in terms of the national Constitution.”
“There is some confusion as to the method of her removal. But as I have explained before her removal is governed by section 14(2) of the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution and not by section 97 that some people are referring to.
“While section 97 provides for a removal method that involves Parliament, section 14(2) provides for an easier removal method because in terms of that provision the Vice President who is appointed by the President serves at his pleasure. This means she can be removed whenever the President pleases, the same way that he can hire and fire his Cabinet Ministers,” Magaisa said.
Mujuru, the target of a sustained barrage of attacks in the state media, boycotted the entire 5 day Zanu PF congress but resurfaced at Stoddard Hall in Mbare on Sunday morning to bid farewell to veteran politician and diplomat Kotsho Lloyd Dube (79), who died on Monday and was later declared a national hero.
When Mujuru entered Stoddard Hall, everyone including her fierce rival, Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, stood up. She was seen greeting army, police and prison chiefs who were gathered at the venue.
According to the state owned but Zanu PF controlled media, Mugabe had wanted to accommodate Mujuru in another capacity but her absence from the congress had infuriated the President. Mugabe did not even appoint her to the Central Committee even though he could use his new powers to appoint 10 people.
Closing the Congress last night, President Mugabe said: “If people are shifted they should not cry foul. If you are dropped, well, we say sorry; but we will say goodbye to you and there will be many goodbyes.
“Some have already chosen, through their own irregular acts, to bid us farewell. Those who are not here (Mujuru, Didymus Mutasa and Nicholas Goche) have said goodbye to us I don’t see us having them back in the Central Committee.”
But will Mugabe fire Mujuru as Vice President of Zimbabwe?
Magaisa said “I cannot see anything that would be an impediment to Mugabe exercising his will. When you serve in a position at the pleasure of another individual, you can be removed if that person no longer pleases to have you in that position. It’s a very subjective decision.
“The major question here is not whether Mugabe has the power to fire her – because clearly, he has that power – but why he has not exercised this power so far. I think Mugabe wants it easy for himself. He would rather she resigns than for him to exercise his powers to fire her.”
“Mugabe does not have a history of firing his senior lieutenants. He wants her to fall on her own sword. Also, I think Mugabe is just waiting for the Cabinet reshuffle, which he will soon perform. He will just say he is reshuffling his Cabinet and in that process he will appoint his new VPs.
“But even if anyone argues that there is some legal impediment to her removal, I do not think that will stop Mugabe. They amended the Zanu PF constitution without even following their own procedures. Imagine what they can do to the national constitution which they never wanted in the first place?
“They have a two-thirds majority to achieve that. The fact of the matter is that Mujuru is just enjoying her last days in that office. To her credit she has retained a dignified stance in the face of hostility and abuse by her own boss. But there is little to save her if Mugabe wants her gone. He has already made it clear and it’s now just a matter of time,” said Magaisa .Nehanda Radio.