Zanu PF’s Bid to Extend Mnangagwa’s Presidency Sparks Concerns




Emmerson Mnangagwa
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HARARE – Recent remarks by President Emmerson Mnangagwa suggesting a desire to “rule forever” have reignited fears of potential constitutional changes aimed at extending his tenure beyond 2028, sparking concerns about the state of democracy in Zimbabwe.

Mnangagwa, who is constitutionally mandated to step down at the end of his second term in 2028, made the controversial statement during the silver jubilee ordination anniversary of Archbishop Robert Ndlovu on Saturday evening. His remarks, which garnered applause from the audience, hinted at a desire for perpetual rule, alarming many Zimbabweans.

Despite previous denials of attempts to extend his presidency beyond the two-term limit, Mnangagwa’s recent statement has raised suspicions of behind-the-scenes maneuvers within the ruling Zanu PF party to circumvent constitutional constraints.

However, according to the News Day, Mnangagwa faces significant hurdles in any bid to extend his presidency. These obstacles include internal power struggles within Zanu PF, constitutional provisions prohibiting incumbents from benefiting from term extensions, and the requirement for a referendum to amend term limits.

Former National Patriotic Front spokesperson Jealousy Mawarire expressed concerns over the government’s intentions, citing a lack of transparency and the potential for constitutional violations. He emphasized the need for vigilance among Zimbabweans, given the country’s history of political manipulation.

While legal constraints may pose challenges to Mnangagwa’s bid for a third term, political analyst Rejoice Ngwenya suggested that the president’s remarks were more about garnering support than a genuine attempt to extend his tenure.

Ngwenya emphasized the complexity of constitutional reforms, indicating that any such endeavor would require significant legal and political processes.

On the other hand, political analyst Methuseli Moyo interpreted Mnangagwa’s statement differently, suggesting that the president’s remarks were a call for spiritual support rather than a declaration of intent to extend his presidency.

Moyo highlighted Mnangagwa’s engagement with various religious institutions as part of a broader strategy to bolster his political legitimacy.

Meanwhile, Midlands Provincial Affairs minister Owen Ncube, a close ally of Mnangagwa, has been vocal in advocating for the extension of presidential term limits, further fueling speculation about the government’s intentions.

Amid growing concerns, Sengezo Tshabangu, the interim secretary-general of the self-imposed Citizens Coalition of Change, revealed ongoing talks to form a government of national unity, signaling potential challenges to Mnangagwa’s leadership in the future.

As Zimbabweans grapple with uncertainty over the country’s political trajectory, Mnangagwa’s remarks have underscored the importance of upholding democratic principles and respecting constitutional norms in safeguarding the nation’s future.