Latest News Editor's Choice

News / Local

Mnangagwa 'offered third term in office'

by Staff reporter
21 Feb 2024 at 16:54hrs | Views
A Zanu-PF lawmaker on Wednesday said Zanu-PF had "offered" President Emmerson Mnangagwa a third term in office after several party officials chanted a slogan that the 81-year-old "will still be there in 2030."

Mnangagwa began his second and final term after winning disputed elections last August, but there is a new push among his loyalists to amend the constitution to scrap term limits.

The amendment would require affirmation by two thirds of lawmakers in the National Assembly, and again in the Senate. Even then, the constitution says the incumbent cannot benefit from an amendment to a term limit provision, requiring movers of such a plan to take it to a public referendum.

"Zanu-PF Masvingo province today offered President ED Mnangagwa a third term in office as president of Zimbabwe," Bikita South MP Energy Mutodi wrote on X while attending Youth Day celebrations at Mushagashe Training Centre in Masvingo, attended by Mnangagwa.

He added: "Amid cheers, whistling and ululations, the provincial chairman Robson Mavhenyengwa chanted the slogan ‘2030 vaMnangagwa vanenge vachipo!' to a deafening applause."

Vice President Kembo Mohadi, who took to the podium to introduce Mnangagwa, also repeated the slogan.

"Your Excellency, before I invite you to take the podium, I was thrilled by the new slogan. Allow me to chant the slogan," Mohadi said.

Mnangagwa's second and final term expires in 2028, and the slogan's crafters appear to be suggesting that he will be well into his third term in 2030.

Mnangagwa made reference to the new slogan during his speech, remarking: "Those saying Mnangagwa will be there in 2030, was there any suggestion that I won't be there? Only one person knows when I'm going, and that's Jehovah."

In a 2018 interview with CNN, months after coming to power through a military coup, Mnangagwa said he would respect the constitution and serve just two terms.

"The maximum is two terms, for any president, and I will abide by that," Mnangagwa said.

In another interview with Zimpapers Television Network ahead of the August 2023 elections, Mnangagwa said: "I am going for my second term, this is my last term."

Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, who is on a trip to Russia and missed Wednesday's event, is the frontrunner to replace Mnangagwa as Zanu-PF's leader. Attempts to extend Mnangagwa's time in office would rile his supporters and stoke factionalism in Zanu-PF.

Explainer: Hurdles to Extending Mnangagwa's Time in Office

Under section 328(5) of the constitution, a Bill to amend the Constitution must be passed by a two-thirds majority of the National Assembly and the Senate before it becomes law. In addition, if the Bill seeks to amend the Declaration of Rights or Chapter 16 (which relates to agricultural land) it must be approved at a national referendum before it can become law.

Section 91(2) is not part of the Declaration of Rights nor does it fall within Chapter 16 of the Constitution, so it can be amended by a two-thirds majority of both Houses of Parliament to remove the presidential term-limits.

Section 328(7) of the Constitution provides that an amendment to a term-limit provision ‒ and section 91(2) is a term-limit provision ‒ which has the effect of extending the length of time that a person can hold a public office such as the presidency does not apply to anyone who held that office, or an equivalent office, before the amendment. This means that even if two-thirds of the members of Parliament were to pass a Bill extending or revoking the term limits imposed by section 91(2) of the Constitution, the Bill would not permit President Mnangagwa to stand for a third term in office.

The only way to permit him to stand for a third term would be to repeal section 328(7), but this would require a national referendum in addition to a two-thirds majority in Parliament: see section 328(9).

Source - zimlive