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Zimbabwe: Zanu-PF’s Move to Offer Mnangagwa Third Presidential Term Worries MDC

A poster of Zimbabwe’s current president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, on a street in Harare. LindaMujuru/GP

By Leopold Munhende

Moves within ruling Zanu PF to ensure President Emmerson Mnangagwa a third term in office, against dictates of the Zimbabwean constitution, have worried MDC leader Douglas Mwonzora.

Although Mnangagwa is in his second and final five-year term, calls that emanated from Masvingo province to have him stay on for one more term are growing within Zanu PF.

He has not distanced himself from the “2030 vaMnangagwa vanenge vachipo” (In 2030 Mnangagwa will still be in power) slogans that have become popular at his party’s events.

Speaking to journalists on Thursday at his Morgan Richard Tsvangirai House headquarters, Mwonzora described the calls as being irresponsible and an affront to Zimbabwe’s constitution.

“None of the top officials including Mnangagwa himself have distanced themselves from these irresponsible calls and unconstitutional intentions,” said Mwonzora.

“Our constitution makes it clear that a president serves a maximum of two terms of five years. It makes it clear that any proposed amendments to extend term limits should be subjected to Referendum and even where the amendment succeeds, such an amendment should not benefit the incumbent.

“These calls are an affront to our democracy. They dent our image as a constitutional democracy.”

A two-thirds majority in Parliament’s lower house has reportedly motivated Zanu PF hardliners to seek scrapping of limits to a president’s stay in office, one of the key aspects of Zimbabwe’s 2013 constitution.

Although Zanu PF does not have a majority in the Senate, Chiefs and a recent nomination of characters such as self-styled CCC Secretary General Sengezo Tshabangu into the House mean passing an amendment bill of that nature could be possible.

The limits, pushed forward by the MDC during the constitution-making process between 2009 and 2013, followed President Robert Mugabe’s over three decades stay in power.

Mwonzora, who failed to stand at last year’s general elections against Mnangagwa and former colleague Nelson Chamisa, said amending the constitution to allow a third term for the incumbent would ‘cement Zimbabwe’s image as a pariah state.’

Added Mwonzora: “It will further cement the unfortunate international image of Zimbabwe as a pariah state. This will never end our international isolation.

“We demand that Zanu PF should honour the national constitution and should stop any effort to desecrate it, that Mnangagwa must himself as the first upholder of the national constitution reject calls that he should go for a third term.”

Read the original article on New Zimbabwe.

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