Civic Groups Condemn Zanu PF’s Push for Mnangagwa’s Third Term

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HARARE – Civic society organizations have denounced calls from Zanu PF supporters for President Emmerson Mnangagwa to seek a third term, labeling the move as “unfortunate and illegal.”

Under Zimbabwe’s Constitution, a president is limited to two five-year terms, making Mnangagwa’s current term his last. Despite this, support within Zanu PF for extending his presidency beyond the constitutional limit is growing, with the slogan “2030 VaMnangagwa vanenge vachipo (Mnangagwa will still be in office in 2030)” gaining popularity at party events.

Mnangagwa has publicly dismissed any ambitions for a third term, affirming his commitment to the Constitution. However, concerns persist that the ruling party may attempt to amend the Constitution to allow him to remain in office longer.

In a statement marking the 11th anniversary of Zimbabwe’s Constitution, Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) criticized the proposal, arguing that it undermines democracy and the progress made since the Constitution’s adoption.

“Calls by the ruling party to amend the Constitution to remove the two-term presidential limit and allow President Emmerson Mnangagwa to run for a third term are illegal and unfortunate. They derail the gains made since the Constitution was adopted,” the CiZC statement read. “These amendments, along with efforts to introduce draconian legislation, strip Zimbabweans of their fundamental rights and undermine the progress made since the Constitution was established.”

The coalition emphasized that the Constitution should remain a sacred, binding document, regardless of political leadership. “Tampering with the Constitution for personal interests erodes democratic values and betrays the will of the citizens who overwhelmingly voted for it,” CiZC added.

The calls for Mnangagwa’s third term have been met with condemnation from political observers, opposition parties, and civil society groups.

“The Constitution of Zimbabwe should not be abused for personal interests; it is meant to protect democratic values and ensure accountable governance,” CiZC reiterated.

Despite promising to align the country’s laws with the Constitution when he took over from Robert Mugabe in 2017, Mnangagwa has faced criticism for his lack of progress in making these changes. CiZC argues this defeats the principles of constitutionalism.

“The democratic and civic space in Zimbabwe continues to shrink, with little political will from the government and ruling party to implement the Constitution in a manner that promotes democracy, human rights, and the rule of law,” CiZC stated. “Since 2013, few laws have been fully aligned with the Constitution. Instead, we see numerous amendments that do not conform to democratic principles and good governance.”