Zanu PF Dismisses Succession Rumors, Asserts Mnangagwa Will Serve Full Term

President Emmerson Mnangagwa
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HARARE – Zanu PF spokesman Chris Mutsvangwa on Monday dismissed questions about President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s rumored plans to extend his term past 2028, affirming that the 81-year-old leader would complete his second and final five-year term.

Zanu PF was compelled to refute a false statement attributed to the party’s director of information, which claimed Mnangagwa would “leave office on or before the 2028 elections, and not any day longer.” Farai Marapira, the real director of information, clarified that the statement was part of “malicious and fallacious attempts to misinform the public.”

The disputed statement had also criticized a slogan used by Mnangagwa loyalist and Midlands provincial minister Owen Ncube, who proclaimed that Mnangagwa “will be there in 2030.”

Speaking at a news conference to announce a mini-reshuffle within the Zanu PF politburo, Mutsvangwa emphasized that succession was not currently on the party’s agenda. Political commissar Mike Bimha was stripped of his portfolio post in the reshuffle.

“If the president wants anything, he brings it to the party, his politburo, his central committee, and eventually his congress. We have not discussed that issue at that level; so we have no reason to fan flames that are not on the agenda of the party at the present time,” Mutsvangwa said.

The Zanu PF spokesman also rejected suggestions that Mnangagwa could be replaced before 2028, possibly by his ambitious deputy Constantino Chiwenga, who led the 2017 coup that brought Mnangagwa to power.

Inside sources within Zanu PF claim that Chiwenga and his allies in the military are increasingly concerned about “criminal activities” by Mnangagwa allies and members of his family, which they fear might push him to seek an extension of his rule to avoid accountability.

Mutsvangwa, known for his animosity towards Chiwenga while harboring his own presidential ambitions, appeared to dismiss any possibility of Mnangagwa not completing his term. “The president just won an election last year in August for a five-year term; the next election is in 2028. Right now he’s occupied with fulfilling the mandate of the past election, which he’s doing excellently.

These are the issues that are occupying the president, not to compress these four years, five years, into a succession issue right now. Succession is not the primary issue of why he was elected,” Mutsvangwa stated.

Zimbabwe’s constitution limits presidents to two five-year terms, but some within Zanu PF are publicly urging Mnangagwa to amend the constitution through a referendum – either to extend the government’s term by two years to 2030, or to remove term limits. Despite potential opposition, Mnangagwa’s supporters appear determined.

In the reshuffle, Mnangagwa replaced political commissar Bimha with Munyaradzi Machacha, the principal of the party’s Herbert Chitepo School of Ideology. Bimha will remain an ordinary member of the top organ. Additionally, Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda was appointed the party’s new treasurer, swapping roles with Patrick Chinamasa, who becomes the legal secretary.