By Leopold Munhende/Alois Vinga
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa’s visit to Mozambique to attend Filipe Nyusi’s inauguration for his second presidential term has drawn mixed reactions from various quarters.
Mnangagwa, who is on his annual leave, left Zimbabwe Tuesday for Nyusi’s swearing-in, in Maputo Wednesday. Vice President Constantino Chiwenga is the Acting President.
However, according to MDC, the continued performance of executive duties by the President while on official leave was a sign of divisions and mistrust within the executive and Zanu PF.
Speaking to NewZimbabwe.com, MDC national deputy spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka said one could not understand the logic behind Mnangagwa announcing his annual leave but continuing to operate in his capacity as president.
“It tells you that there is trouble in paradise, that is our reading, you cannot be on leave but be at work at the same time, it is a paradox.
“Although we have nothing to do with the chaos in Zanu PF, this tells you something about what is happening within that party; the centre is not holding if there was a centre in the first place,” said Tamborinyoka.
On Monday this week, Mnangagwa received Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi at State House in Harare when Chiwenga was supposed to be in charge.
On his return from Mozambique Thursday, he will tour Zimbabwe Technology Company’s ICT Devices Factory.
However, political analyst Alexander Rusero said there was nothing sinister with the president’s visit to Mozambique.
“You will recall that President Mnangagwa is chairing the Defence and Politics Organ, a very important portfolio at the Southern Africa Development Community which makes it rightful for him to attend the inauguration,” said Rusero.
“There is need to appreciate that such portfolios cannot be filled by an Acting President and it makes sense for him to cut short his leave and play his role. Zimbabweans must remember that during the late President Robert Mugabe’s reign, no diary would trickle in this time around which shows that there has been an improvement in the way government operates,” he said.
But, University of Zimbabwe lecturer and political analyst, Eldred Masunungure described Mnangagwa’s move as an indication of deeper problems within the ruling Zanu PF and government.
“That is extremely anomalous because when you are on leave you must not be seen interfering by carrying out your official duties as such chores must be left for someone in the acting capacity,” he said.
He said President Mnangagwa has been on leave twice before and he never behaved in such a manner.
“What we are seeing happening now may indicate the existence of two centers of power where the Acting President has set limits whereas the President has absolute roles,” he said.
Masunungure said the issue of President Mnangagwa being the chair of the SADC Defence, Politics and Security Organ was not reason enough to justify his attendance of the inauguration while on leave.
“So even the foreign minister or his deputies can still stand in for him at such a level if all is well and especially in our case where we have a full time Acting President and his senior who is on full time leave,” he said.
Nyusi, who is Mozambique’s fourth president, emerged winner in elections held on October 15 last year.