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Mnangagwa's two-thirds backdoor plot intensifies

by Staff reporter
26 Oct 2023 at 10:49hrs | Views
President Emmerson Mnangagwa is persistently pursuing a Zanu-PF two-thirds majority in Parliament by announcing elections in constituencies left vacant after the recall of several CCC legislators by Sengezo Tshabangu, who asserts their position as the opposition party's interim secretary-general.

Informed sources reveal that Mnangagwa's quest for a two-thirds majority stems from his ambition to amend the country's constitution to enable a third term in office. The current Zimbabwean constitution, enacted in 2013, limits presidential terms to two.

Mnangagwa initially ascended to power via a military coup in November 2017 and later secured his first term as an elected president in the contentious 2018 elections. His second and final term followed another controversial election, which was disputed by the primary opposition party CCC, the Southern Africa Development Community, and numerous electoral observer missions on August 23 and 24.

Exploiting Tshabangu as a willing instrument, Zanu-PF, with assistance from the Central Intelligence Organisation-linked Foreever Associates Zimbabwe (Faz), orchestrated the expulsion of 15 legislators from the National Assembly and nine senators. This move was designed to facilitate the President's constitutional changes.

In a letter dated October 3, Tshabangu wrote to the Speaker of Parliament, Jacob Mudenda, and the Minister of Local Government, Winston Chitando, recalling legislators and councillors. Tshabangu asserted that these individuals, elected on a CCC ticket, had ceased to be party members.

The recalled MPs include Pashor Sibanda (Cowdray Park National Assembly), Ereck Gono (Lobengula Magwegwe), Nicola Watson (Bulawayo South), Desmond Makaza (Mpopoma Mzilikazi), Obert Manduna (Nketa), Mlilo Sitabile (proportional representation), Jasmine Toffa (P.R), Janeth Dube (P.R), Evidence Zana (Youth Quota), Morgan Ncube (Beitbridge West), Nomathemba Sibanda (P.R), Velisiwe Nkomo (P.R), Prince Dubeko Sibanda (Binga North), and Bright Moyo Vanya (Lupane East). Mabvuku Tafara MP Febion Kufahakutizwi was also recalled.

Mnangagwa declared by-elections in some of these constituencies on a Friday, furthering his strategy for a two-thirds majority.

He set the nomination court to convene on November 7, with the by-elections scheduled for December 9. Zanu-PF is expected to allocate significant resources to its campaign and is counting on opposition voter apathy to regain constituencies lost in the August 23 elections.

Mnangagwa has a history of amending the constitution to advance his political agenda. In the previous parliamentary term, he introduced the Zimbabwe Constitution Amendment (No. 2) Act, which made various changes, including the removal of the running mate provision to enable him to appoint a compliant deputy. This also granted him increased control over cabinet appointments, the Prosecutor-General, and the Public Protector.

The Act allowed the President to elevate judges of the High Court and the Supreme Court to higher positions upon the recommendation of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), without the requirement for public interviews, potentially leading to promotions based on political considerations and cronyism. Additionally, it permitted judges of the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court to continue serving beyond the current retirement age of 70, subject to the President's consent following consultation with the JSC. This change effectively eroded judges' security of tenure and independence, as they would hold office at the President's discretion.

In the previous parliamentary term, Zanu-PF fell short of its goal of obtaining a two-thirds majority in Parliament, winning 136 out of 209 National Assembly seats contested. A by-election in Gutu West followed the death of independent candidate Christopher Mutonhori Rwodzi, reducing the threshold for a two-thirds majority to 186, which Zanu-PF achieved with a total of 176 legislators.

The National Assembly comprises 280 members, including 210 elected members, 60 women chosen through proportional representation (PR), and 10 youth quota seats. Zanu-PF secured 136 elected seats, 33 PR seats, and seven youth quota seats, totaling 176. In contrast, the CCC managed 103 seats in total: 73 elected seats, 27 women PR seats, and three youth quota seats, in line with the constitutional provisions for parliamentary selection.

Source - newshawks