ZANU PF is plotting fresh constitutional amendments that would allow President Emmerson Mnangagwa to serve for more terms after the 2023 elections.
Under the provisions of the 2013 Constitution, if Mnangagwa wins the 2023 elections, his term of office expires in 2028, but the youth league yesterday endorsed Mnangagwa as the sole candidate in the upcoming polls “and beyond”.
The Zanu PF national youth executive met yesterday in the capital and agreed that there was “need” to amend the Constitution to allow Mnangagwa to stay in power beyond the current constitutional limits.
Addressing a Press conference at the party’s headquarters yesterday, Zanu PF acting deputy secretary for youth affairs Tendai Chirau said the youth representatives from all the country’s 10 provinces had unanimously agreed that Mnangagwa was a befitting presidential candidate for the 2023 elections and beyond.
The youth’s endorsement for Mnangagwa comes ahead of the Zanu PF annual conference to be held in Bindura next week.
“The first and important thing which we discussed and agreed upon as the national executive is that His Excellency President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who is our first secretary and the president of the party, is our sole candidate for the 2023 election and beyond,” Chirau said.
“We also agreed that if need be, it is very important the current Constitution of the country is amended so that it can allow a leader to have more than two terms.
“The reason is that we realised that development does not have a term limit. Development requires someone to continuously have more time so that we can still have more good things happening in this republic.”
Zanu PF has already made over 27 controversial amendments to the 2013 Constitution to allow Mnangagwa to consolidate power, whittling powers of both the Legislature and Judiciary and allowing him to handpick his deputies.
The youth league’s proposal comes at a time when a Zanu PF member, Sybeth Musengezi, last week approached the courts challenging Mnangagwa’s legitimacy.
Mnangagwa is facing internal dissent, with his party locked in serious factional fighting in the ongoing district restructuring exercise.
But the youths claimed that Mnangagwa had proved that he was an “exceptional leader” through his various developmental projects which were aimed at empowering the youth and reviving the economy.
But the youth later made a contrary point in the address, acknowledging that the economy was on retardation, blaming it on “illegal sanctions imposed by the West”.
“We lost 90% of our investment in mining and industries due to the illegal sanctions. There is economic retardation due to sanctions,” Zanu PF youth league secretary for business development and liaison Calvin Manyengawana said.
“Zimbabwe, for close to two decades, has been isolated from the international community due to the illegal sanctions that have been imposed upon it by the United States and its Western allies.”
In May 2019, Mnangagwa declared that he would still be President in 2030.