No third term for me, Mnangagwa repeats

President Mnangagwa dances at his inauguration ceremony (pic: Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi/AP)

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has dismissed speculation that he plans to stay on beyond his current term. 

Chants by ZANU PF youths urging Mnangagwa to stay until 2030 had fueled talk that he wants to change the Constitution, which allows only two five-year terms. In an interview with the state-funded Brick-by-Brick magazine, published Sunday, Mnangagwa dismissed the talk as “dreams”. 

“Well, I am very happy that Zimbabweans are very imaginative,” he said. “But we in ZANU PF are very democratic and we obey the Constitution. There is not an iota of evidence where ZANU PF or I, as President, has ever expressed the violation of our Constitution.”

This is the second time he has vowed to obey the Constitution. In an interview with ZTN on the eve of September elections, he said, “I am going for my second term, this is my last term”, adding that infrastructure projects would be his legacy. 

Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi has also denied there’s a push to keep Mnangagwa in power. 

“We don’t have any legislative agenda to extend presidential terms. We absolutely don’t have those issues on our agenda,” he told Daily News in March. 

“It’s also not easy to just amend the Constitution as constitutional amendments have certain restrictions that were placed on them.”

Extending the term would need a President to go through a series of legal hurdles, which ZANU PF has no appetite for. 

“You don’t just need two thirds majority in Parliament, you also need to go for a referendum to do that, unlike an Act of Parliament where you need a simple majority. Such amendments need a referendum. Those are the provisions which safeguard the tampering with the Constitution willy-nilly. It’s not an overnight process, but a cumbersome one,” Ziyambi said. 

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