Zimbabwe’s Ruling Party Pushes for Mnangagwa’s Third Term

Controversy Over Mnangagwa's Potential Third Term

by Motoni Olodun

Zimbabwe’s ruling party, ZANU-PF, has sparked controversy by advocating for President Emmerson Mnangagwa to seek a third term in office. This move has raised concerns among rights watchdogs, who argue it undermines the constitutional gains made in recent years.

President Mnangagwa, who came to power in 2017 after the ousting of long-time leader Robert Mugabe, is currently serving his second term following a disputed election in 2023. The Zimbabwean constitution, adopted in 2013, limits presidents to two terms. However, ZANU-PF officials are now pushing for constitutional amendments to allow Mnangagwa to run again in 2028.

ZANU-PF’s Secretary for Administration, Obert Mpofu, has publicly supported the idea, stating that Mnangagwa’s leadership is crucial for the country’s continued stability and economic recovery. “We believe that President Mnangagwa’s vision for Zimbabwe is not yet complete, and he needs more time to fully implement his plans,” Mpofu said.

This stance has alarmed human rights groups, who argue that extending Mnangagwa’s rule would erode democratic principles and the rule of law. Dewa Mavhinga, Southern Africa Director at Human Rights Watch, criticized the proposal, saying, “This push for a third term is a direct attack on Zimbabwe’s democracy and a betrayal of the promises made during the constitutional reform process.”

The call for a third term comes amid ongoing economic challenges in Zimbabwe. Despite some signs of recovery, the country continues to struggle with high inflation, unemployment, and a fragile healthcare system. Supporters of Mnangagwa argue that his policies are beginning to bear fruit and that continuity in leadership is essential for sustained progress.

Opponents, however, see this move as a power grab that could lead Zimbabwe down a path of increased authoritarianism. Nelson Chamisa, leader of the main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), condemned the proposal, warning that it would set a dangerous precedent. “We cannot allow the gains of our hard-fought democracy to be undone by those who seek to cling to power,” Chamisa said.

The debate over Mnangagwa’s potential third term is likely to intensify as the next election approaches. Analysts predict that ZANU-PF will face significant resistance from both domestic and international actors if they attempt to amend the constitution. The international community, including the African Union and Western countries, has previously pressured Zimbabwe to uphold democratic standards and respect the rule of law.

While the future remains uncertain, there is hope among Zimbabweans that the country can navigate this political turmoil and continue its journey towards a more democratic and prosperous future. As the debate unfolds, many are calling for dialogue and compromise to ensure that the will of the people is respected and that the country’s democratic foundations are strengthened.

Source: NewZimbabwe.com

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