Viral video sparks speculation of ED Mnangagwa’s bid for third term in office


Ruling Zanu PF structures are reportedly engaged in covert political manoeuvres to push for President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s third term in office, it has emerged.

Mnangagwa (81) is currently serving his second term, and constitutionally his last in office, having been first elected in 2018.

The Zimbabwean constitution only allows a President to serve a maximum of two terms.

However, there is a possibility that this can be changed through a constitutional amendment which would require a two-thirds majority in both the House of Assembly and Senate.

Zanu-PF currently holds a majority in the national assembly only.

A bold slogan: “Mnangagwa will be there in 2030,” has since emerged as the alleged campaign to ostensibly promote Mnangagwa’s continued leadership gains momentum.

The slogan, political observers note, suggests a concerted effort to extend Mnangagwa’s tenure beyond the constitutionally mandated two terms.

A video of a Zanu PF Masvingo provincial meeting held over the weekend showing some party leadership doing the slogan has since gone viral on the internet.

Zanu PF Masvingo provincial chairperson Robson Mavhenyengwa confirmed that the party held its meeting over the weekend, but refused to comment on the viral video.

“I confirm we held a meeting over the weekend, I cannot comment on what was discussed,” said Mavhenyengwa.

Zanu PF information director Farai Marapira downplayed the allegations that his principal was seeking a third term by amending the Constitution.

“President Mnangagwa was recently given a fresh mandate to lead the people of Zimbabwe and is focusing on that. Anything more than that, [is] a lie,” he said.

Mnangagwa has, however, been accused of strategically using the recalls of opposition legislators as a ruse to secure a two-thirds majority in Parliament and potentially extend his presidential term.

After decimating potential rivals in the ruling party and putting his close allies in strategic government positions, Mnangagwa’s biggest hurdle for a potential presidential term extension was in Parliament where the ruling party needed two thirds majority to amend the Constitution, political observers posited.

Zimbabwe Council of Churches said the recalls of opposition legislators led to Mnangagwa consolidating power.

“The recalls could be interpreted as a deliberate move to silence and dismantle opposition alternative voices leading the country towards a one party State which is a violation of the Constitution. The recalls pose a threat to democracy as this could lead to consolidation of power which contradicts the democratic tenets,” ZCC said.

A new study by think tank Zimbabwe Democracy Institute (ZDI) says the recalls feed into the grand scheme of Mnangagwa’s third term ambition.

“The recalls, which have been affected by the ruling Zanu PF party’s Speaker of Parliament, who is the secretary of legal affairs in its Soviet-style political bureau (Politburo) intends to reduce the opposition’s representation and increase the ruling party’s chances of achieving a two-thirds majority in Parliament,” ZDI said.

“Whereas the recalls may be misconstrued to be a microcosm of internal opposition CCC squabbles, they feed into a broader dual securocratic State consolidation project.

“That of countering the internal and external legitimacy challenges exposed by the opposition on one hand, and on the other hand weakening the opposition’s power in Parliament to pave way to President Mnangawa’s third term power ambitions,” ZDI said.

Political analyst Pardon Taodzera sounded the alarm, warning that the manoeuvres to extend Mnangagwa’s term had serious implications on Zimbabwe’s democratic institutions.

“The push for Mnangagwa’s third term represents a significant erosion of democratic norms and principles. It sets a dangerous precedent and undermines the will of the people,” he said.

“Zimbabweans deserve a leadership transition based on democratic principles and the rule of law. Any attempts to circumvent constitutional safeguards for personal gain will only deepen political instability and undermine the country’s progress.” NewsDay.

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