MPHOKO :THE PRESIDENT ZIMBAS FORGOT
History is littered with cases of presidents who served unbelievably short terms. Some lasted less than an hour, and others a few hours, days or months. History is littered with cases of presidents who served unbelievably short terms.
One of the prominent ones is Pedro Lascurain of Mexico who occupied the coveted office for between 15 and 56 minutes. Lascurain, Mexico’s 34th President, assumed power on February 19, 1913 after convincing the incumbent, President Madero, to resign.
In a swift turn of events, Lascurain was, however, removed the very hour he got into office by General Victoriano Huerta.
Another is Germany’s Joseph Goebbels who occupied the Chancellery for just five hours after taking over from Adolf Hitler who had committed suicide in his bunker.
Goebbels, Hitler’s propaganda minister, also killed himself on the same day. This chain of events is reminiscent of what happened in Zimbabwe last week. When President Mugabe bowed out, Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko was the important man that everyone seemed to have forgotten about.
He is the man who, constitutionally, became the Interim President from Tuesday until Friday when Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa was sworn as the country’s second Executive President.
The option before Parliamentarians, particularly those from Zanu-PF, once President Mugabe resigned was to have VP Mphoko in office for 90 days, or immediately nominate a successor who would complete the former leader’s term of office.
The ruling Zanu-PF chose the latter, making Cde Mphoko the shortest-serving President of Zimbabwe. To be precise, he served for 68 hours.
To top it off, his name will feature prominently in the annals of history books as the Interim President who “ruled” without ever having set foot in the country during the 68 hours of his tenure.
VP Mphoko, who was fired from Zanu-PF, had travelled to Tokyo, Japan when the Zimbabwe Defence Forces embarked on “Operation Restore Legacy” to bring about political and socio-economic stabilisation caused by a gang og criminals who had surrounded Cde Mugabe.
He has not returned home, with reports suggesting he could be in either South Africa or Botswana. Wherever he is, he must be reminiscing on the Presidency that never was.
He did do better though when it came to consecutive number of days spent in a five-star hotel as he “struggled” to find official lodgings fit for the Vice-President of the Republic.