Zimbabwe: Zanu-PF Calls for Mnangagwa's Third Term in Office Derail Gains of Constitution - Rights Watchdog

Emmerson Mnangagwa.

CIVIC society organisations have described calls by Zanu PF for President Emmerson Mnangagwa to run for a third term as "unfortunate and illegal".

In Zimbabwe, a president's term is limited to two five-year terms making this Mnangagwa's final term.

Calls have however grown among his Zanu PF supporters for an unconstitutional extension of his term with the slogan "2030 VaMnangagwa vanenge vachipo (Mnangagwa will still be in office in 2030)" becoming popular at ruling party events.

Mnangagwa dismissed any third-term ambitions saying he will abide by the Constitution but fears remain the ruling party will amend the Constitution, potentially allowing him to remain in office for another term.

In a statement commemorating the 11th anniversary of the Zimbabweans Constitution, Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition said the proposals are detrimental to democracy and erode the gains made in ushering in the Constitution.

"Lately, calls by the ruling party to push for amendments that will remove the two-term presidential limits and allow President Emmerson Mnangagwa to run for a third term are illegal and unfortunate and derail the gains made since the adoption of the constitution.

"These amendments, which also seek to introduce draconian legislation and further close the democratic and civic space are stripping Zimbabweans of their fundamental rights and derailing the progress made since the constitution was first established.

"The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition reiterates that a constitution should be a sacred, living and binding document regardless of who is in power. Tampering with the constitution by political elites to serve personal interests erodes democratic values and signals a betrayal of the constitution which was overwhelmingly voted for by the citizens of Zimbabwe," read the statement.

Calls abound from Zanu PF supporters for President Mnangagwa to get a fresh mandate beyond the constitutionally stipulated two terms.

This has received condemnation from political observers, opposition and civil society groups.

"The constitution of Zimbabwe should not in any way be abused for personal interests as it is meant to protect democratic values and guarantee accountable governance," said CiZC.

Despite making promises of aligning the laws of the country to the constitution when he replaced Robert Mugabe in 2017, President Mnangagwa has been accused of being lackadaisical in making the changes.

CiZC said this defeats the ethos of constitutionalism.

Added CiZC, "The democratic and civic space in Zimbabwe continues to shrink and there has been little or no political will on the part of the government and the ruling party to implement the constitution in a way that promotes democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

"Since 2013, very few laws have been fully aligned to the Constitution and instead, we continue to witness numerous amendments to the Constitution which do not conform to the principles of democracy and good governance".

AllAfrica publishes around 500 reports a day from more than 100 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.