‘Zimbabwe faces ‘banana republic’ label if leaders ditch two-term rule’


Zimbabwean citizens are voicing strong opposition to any attempts to amend the country’s constitution and remove the two-term limit on the presidency.

The two-term limit was overwhelmingly approved by over 80% of Zimbabwean voters in a 2013 referendum and is seen by many as a critical safeguard against one-party rule and concentrated power.

Bulawayo Mayor David Coltart

“These clauses were debated across Zimbabwe and reflect a deeply held belief that presidents should not remain in office too long,” said David Coltart, a senior official with the Citizens Coalition for Change opposition party.

Zimbabwe has only had two presidents since independence in 1980 – Robert Mugabe, who ruled for 37 years, and the current president Emmerson Mnangagwa. Many believe Zimbabwe’s economic and democratic development has been hindered by this long period of one-party dominance.

“It is also a sad fact that our first President remained in office too long – until he was old and decrepit – causing some to remove him unconstitutionally through a coup,” Coltart said.

Opponents argue that amending the constitution to scrap the term limit would send a troubling signal about Zimbabwe’s commitment to democracy and the rule of law. It could also deter much-needed foreign investment, they say.

“Accordingly any move to amend these clauses now will not only be a grave violation of our Constitution, it will also perpetuate the perception that Zimbabwe is a banana republic and an unsafe investment destination,” Coltart warned.

The debate over the presidential term limits comes as Zimbabwe grapples with a range of pressing economic and social challenges, from a shortage of clean water to high unemployment. Many citizens believe the focus should be on addressing these issues rather than changing the constitution.

“We should rather now be concentrating on what policies we need as a nation to deliver clean water to citizens, ensure a safe, healthy environment, rapidly expand foreign investment and create millions of jobs,” Coltart thundered.

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