gtag('config', 'UA-12595121-1'); ZANU PF’s Strategy to Extend Mnangagwa’s Term to 2030 Unveiled – The Zimbabwe Mail

ZANU PF’s Strategy to Extend Mnangagwa’s Term to 2030 Unveiled

President Emmerson Mnangagwa
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HARARE,— ZANU PF’s ambitious plan to keep President Emmerson Mnangagwa in power until 2030 is beginning to crystallize.

Insider sources reveal a strategic maneuver to amend the constitution and electoral laws to separate parliamentary and presidential elections, potentially scheduling parliamentary elections for 2028 and presidential elections for 2030.

Alternatively, ZANU PF is contemplating postponing all elections until 2030, rallying support from certain factions within the opposition under the pretext of initiating necessary reforms. Sengezo Tshabangu, who was recently appointed as the leader of the opposition in Parliament and is aligned with the captured opposition, is expected to spearhead this campaign.

However, not all factions within the opposition support this plan. The group loyal to Nelson Chamisa, who left the party citing infiltration, has dissociated itself from any endorsement of the election postponement. They claim that the faction led by Welshman Ncube and Tshabangu is behind this controversial move.

Initially, Mnangagwa aimed to secure a third term, but this plan faced strong resistance from within his party and the military. Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga and his military-backed ZANU PF faction were particularly opposed to this idea.

“Mnangagwa’s third-term project was blocked by the army. Now he has a new plan,” a senior ZANU PF official told The NewsHawks. “He no longer wants a third term because it involves a complicated process of amending the constitution, requiring a two-thirds parliamentary majority and a referendum.”

The new strategy involves amending the constitution and electoral law to de-harmonize elections, meaning parliamentary polls would occur in 2028 and the presidential election in 2030. This approach is seen as less complex than extending Mnangagwa’s term directly. According to Zimbabwe’s constitution, extending a presidential term limit would require an amendment to section 91, which restricts a person from being elected as President for more than two terms.

Furthermore, section 328(7) stipulates that any constitutional amendment extending the term of office does not apply to the incumbent. Such a change would require a referendum under section 328(9) of the constitution.

In the current constitutional framework, a general election must be held within 30 days before the five-year term of Parliament expires. Mnangagwa, sworn in on September 4, 2023, would have the next elections due between July 5, 2028, and August 4, 2028. Parliament can be dissolved in three ways: by a two-thirds majority vote in both the National Assembly and Senate, by presidential intervention if it fails to pass an Appropriation Bill without good reason, or by automatic expiration at the end of its term.

ZANU PF insiders argue that de-harmonizing the elections provides Mnangagwa a better opportunity to extend his rule without the complications of securing a third term. “This plan is more appealing to Mnangagwa than the third-term political nightmare,” sources suggest. Mnangagwa himself has publicly denied seeking a third term, saying, “I am going for my second term… this is my last term.”

After the 2017 coup that brought Mnangagwa to power, there were internal contradictions within ZANU PF. Mnangagwa initially sought an inclusive government but later tried to marginalize Chiwenga by appointing Kembo Mohadi and Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri as his deputies. However, Chiwenga managed to secure his position and influence within the government and military.

The idea of decoupling elections is not new in Zimbabwean politics. In 2005, then-President Robert Mugabe attempted to extend his rule by moving the presidential election from 2008 to 2010 to coincide with parliamentary elections. This plan was exposed and eventually failed due to internal resistance and political dynamics within ZANU PF.

Mnangagwa’s recent efforts to sideline the military during elections by using the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO)-run Forever Associates Zimbabwe (FAZ) suggest his cautious approach towards consolidating power. However, military commanders have expressed their intent to block Mnangagwa’s plans post-elections, favoring Chiwenga’s ascension.

Chiwenga has reinforced his position by influencing key military appointments, including his ally Lieutenant-General Anselem Sanyatwe as Zimbabwe National Army commander. This move signals the military’s readiness to support Chiwenga’s future leadership bid.

While Mnangagwa has publicly denied aspirations for a third term, his supporters continue to push for his extended stay in power. The notion of “Mnangagwa for 2030” remains active, reflecting ongoing political maneuvers within ZANU PF.

As Mnangagwa navigates the complexities of internal party dynamics and constitutional constraints, the plan to amend the constitution and de-harmonize elections emerges as a strategic move to secure his leadership until 2030. With military and political factions deeply entangled in this power struggle, Zimbabwe’s political landscape remains volatile and uncertain.

The coming years will reveal whether Mnangagwa’s latest strategy will succeed or if internal resistance and constitutional safeguards will thwart his plans, setting the stage for a potential leadership transition in 2028.