Why President Mnangagwa ditched “ED 2030” campaigners and vowed to retire in 2028: War Vets want him to go


The air is thick with political intrigue in Harare as President Emmerson Mnangagwa, in a move that has sent ripples through the ruling Zanu PF party, declared his intention to step down after his current term ends in 2028. This announcement, made during the commissioning of a water treatment plant in Manicaland, comes amidst a brewing power struggle within the influential Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA), The Zimbabwe Independent has reported.

“Our (Zanu PF) Constitution says after every five years we go to congress. There we choose a President who is supposed to be at the helm for two terms of five years each,” Mnangagwa stated, adding, “I have done my first five years and we went to congress and I was re-elected to lead for another five years. This is my last five years, which will end soon, and then I go and rest.”

While Mnangagwa’s retirement pronouncements may seem straightforward, a closer look reveals a complex web of political maneuverings and jostling for power within the Zanu PF ranks. The war veterans league, a powerful force within the party, has been a key player in this drama, with different factions vying for control and influence.

One faction, led by Andreas Ethan Mathibela, has made it clear that they will not endorse any attempts to extend Mnangagwa’s rule beyond 2028. This stance puts them at odds with two other factions, one led by Zanu PF spokesperson Chris Mutsvangwa, and another led by Ellias Moffat Marashwa. The latter group, elected at a congress in Chegutu on May 4, has been declared the legitimate body by the High Court.

This internal conflict within the war veterans league is not merely an internal matter; it has significant implications for the future of Zimbabwean politics. The war veterans, as a group, hold considerable sway within Zanu PF and their support is seen as crucial for any leader seeking to maintain their grip on power.

The declaration by the Mathibela-led faction comes at a time when Zanu PF’s political commissar Munyaradzi Machacha, appointed by Mnangagwa after the sacking of Mike Bimha in May, is undertaking a restructuring exercise. This exercise is widely perceived as a move to consolidate support for the President within the party.

“The Constitution of Zimbabwe stipulates that the presidential term is limited to two terms, unless amended and agreed upon through a referendum,” Mathibela emphasized. “The onus remains with the legislature to follow due process if there is a need for any amendments. As an association, we respect the constitutional provisions and the legislative process governing such matters.”

However, the Mathibela faction’s stance is not universally shared within the ZNLWVA. The Mutsvangwa-led faction, despite a High Court order blocking their plans to hold an elective congress next month, maintains that Zanu PF’s rank and file are clamoring for Mnangagwa to stay in power.

“The ardent party stalwarts would want more of his good rule because it is delivering the fruits,” Mutsvangwa asserted. “We are watching the on-going debate with smug satisfaction. Here are Zimbabweans in the cut and thrust of the debate about Presidential term limits.”

The war veterans’ league, once a monolithic force, now finds itself fractured, with different factions vying for control and influence. This internal conflict, coupled with Mnangagwa’s declaration, has created a complex political landscape in Zimbabwe, where the future of the country’s leadership remains uncertain.

While Mnangagwa has pledged to step down in 2028, the events unfolding within the ZNLWVA suggest that the road to succession may be far from smooth. The war veterans, as a powerful force within Zanu PF, will undoubtedly play a significant role in shaping the political landscape of Zimbabwe in the coming years. The question remains: will their influence be a force for stability or a catalyst for further political turmoil?

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