Zimbabwe’s Ruling Party Proposes Third Term for Mnangagwa

Zimbabwe News and Analysis

by Motoni Olodun

Zimbabwe’s ruling party, ZANU-PF, has proposed a constitutional amendment that would allow President Emmerson Mnangagwa to run for a third term in office. The move has sparked criticism from the opposition and civil society groups, who fear it could undermine the country’s democracy and stability.

Mnangagwa, who came to power in 2017 after a military coup that ousted long-time leader Robert Mugabe, is currently serving his second and final term under the 2013 constitution. He is expected to step down in 2028, when the next presidential election is due.

However, ZANU-PF’s secretary for administration, Obert Mpofu, said on Wednesday that the party’s central committee had unanimously endorsed a proposal to extend Mnangagwa’s tenure by another five years. He said the amendment was necessary to ensure continuity and consistency in the implementation of the president’s economic and political reforms.

“The central committee unanimously agreed that our constitution should be amended to cater for the extension of the president’s term limit from the current two terms to three terms,” Mpofu told reporters in Harare, the capital. “This is in line with our party’s vision 2030, which aims to transform Zimbabwe into an upper-middle-income economy by then.”

He added that the proposal would be presented to the party’s congress in December for ratification, before being tabled in parliament, where ZANU-PF enjoys a two-thirds majority. The amendment would also require the approval of a national referendum, which Mpofu said would be held in 2025.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Alliance, which has challenged Mnangagwa’s legitimacy and accused him of rigging the 2018 election, condemned the proposal as a “power grab” and a “betrayal of the people’s will”. The party’s spokesperson, Fadzayi Mahere, said the move was a sign of ZANU-PF’s desperation and lack of confidence in its own leadership.

“This is a clear indication that ZANU-PF is not interested in the welfare of the people, but only in entrenching its dictatorship and looting the country’s resources,” Mahere said. “We reject this attempt to subvert the constitution and the democratic process. We call on all Zimbabweans to resist this assault on our rights and freedoms.”

Civil society groups, such as the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) and the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, also expressed concern over the proposal, saying it could lead to more repression and violence in the country. They urged the international community to intervene and pressure ZANU-PF to respect the constitution and the rule of law.

Zimbabwe has a history of political turmoil and economic crisis, which worsened under Mugabe’s 37-year rule. Mnangagwa, who was Mugabe’s former deputy and ally, promised to usher in a new era of democracy and prosperity, but critics say he has failed to deliver on his pledges and has instead continued to clamp down on dissent and human rights.

Despite the challenges, some analysts say there is still hope for Zimbabwe to achieve a peaceful and democratic transition, if the people and the opposition unite and demand accountability and reform from the government. They also say that the regional and international actors, such as the African Union and the European Union, have a role to play in supporting and facilitating dialogue and cooperation among the Zimbabwean stakeholders.


Source: New Zimbabwe

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