Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe. Picture: REUTERS
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe. Picture: REUTERS

The protracted battle to force Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe out of office will enter parliament on Tuesday with a motion to impeach him likely to be tabled by Zanu-PF.

Parliament reconvenes on Tuesday after a two-week break and the governing party said it had already put in place a motion that would result in Mugabe’s impeachment.

Zanu-PF said on Monday that Mugabe had been formally notified of the plan to impeach him. It said the party’s chief whip had been instructed to proceed with the process and a motion was expected to be submitted on Tuesday.

Zanu-PF removed Mugabe as leader on Sunday after 40 years at the helm since 1977. The party also fired his wife Grace and a number of his allies from party positions, capping a dramatic week after the military seized power.

"We will move a motion tomorrow, set up the committee tomorrow and on Wednesday it reports back and we vote him out," Zanu-PF deputy secretary for legal affairs Paul Mangwana said.

A defiant Mugabe has so far refused to bow to increased pressure by the war veterans and the public to resign. On Monday, the war veterans called for marches on Tuesday to his "blue roof" mansion in Harare suburb Borrowdale — where a sit-in would be staged. But in an address on national television, the armed forces generals urged restraint, saying they had agreed on a roadmap with Mugabe.

Army commander Constantine Chiwenga said protesting students and the veterans should respect the progress made, which could lead to sacked former vice-president Emmerson Mnangagwa returning to Harare.

Unfazed by the sabre rattling, Mugabe on Monday issued a call for his cabinet to meet on Tuesday morning at State House. However, more than half his cabinet is either being detained by the army or gone into hiding.

But it is the impeachment process that is now gripping the attention of most Zimbabweans. Tendai Biti, a lawyer and leader of the opposition People’s Democratic Party, said that in the worst-case scenario, the bid to impeach Mugabe could take "between two to three weeks", warning that Zimbabweans should not hope to see Mugabe’s back very soon.

The process of impeachment entails a motion being tabled by an MP and the two houses of parliament sitting. A resolution is then passed and referred to the committee on standing rules and orders. Once referred to this body, it elects a nine-member committee, which investigates the charges. Once this committee gives approval for impeachment, it is subject to a vote by parliament. At least 233 votes out of the 350 are needed.

Zanu-PF said about 230 of its 260 MPs could support the motion to impeach Mugabe.

But Piers Pigou, the southern Africa director of the International Crisis Group, said there was a risk that not everyone in Zanu-PF would play ball.

Nelson Chamisa, one of the three Movement for Democratic Change deputy presidents, said in an interview yesterday that the two-thirds majority needed by Zanu-PF in light of its internal fissures was "a tall order".

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