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Mnangagwa to embark on thank you rallies across the country

by Staff reporter
26 Feb 2024 at 04:53hrs | Views
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa will soon embark on thank you rallies across the country in a  calculated move to lay the groundwork for a third term bid in 2028, ruling party insiders have alleged.

Zanu-PF political commissar Mike Bimha told NewsDay that the thank you rallies are scheduled to start any time soon with the first one slated for Mashonaland Central province.

"We will definitely have the rallies soon, but we do not have the actual dates," Bimha said.

Asked if Mnangagwa will use the rallies to prop up his third term bid, Bimha said: "I do not know about that."

However, power brokers in Zanu-PF yesterday told NewsDay that the rallies will be used to gauge sentiment on Mnangagwa's third term bid.

"While thanking the people will be part of the message, the primary goal is to use these rallies to start laying the groundwork for President Mnangagwa's re-election campaign in 2028. By reconnecting with the people, showcasing his achievements and gauging their sentiment, the party hopes to build momentum for a potential third-term bid," said an insider.

Some Zanu-PF leaders, including Vice-President Kembo Mohadi, have already endorsed Mnangagwa's third-term bid.

Mohadi, Zanu-PF's Masvingo provincial chairperson Robson Mavhenyengwa, Masvingo Provincial Affairs and Devolution minister Ezra Chadzamira and the party's local youth league called for the extension of his term during the National Youth Day held at Mushagashe Vocational Training Centre last Wednesday.

Chadzamira told Mnangagwa that the province will be behind him if he chooses to extend his term limit.

"We all want you (Mnangagwa) to stay in office beyond your presidential term. You will be there in 2030," he said.

Outspoken Bikita South MP and former Information deputy minister Energy Mutodi confirmed that Masvingo province had offered President Mnangagwa a third term.

"Zanu-PF Masvingo province today offered President ED Mnangagwa a third term in office as President of Zimbabwe. Amid cheers, whistling and ululations, the Provincial chairperson Robson Mavhenyengwa chanted the slogan 2030 vaMnangagwa vanenge vachipo! with a deafening applause," Mutodi posted on his X account on Wednesday.

Mnangagwa did nothing to quell the calls for him to get a third term saying only God knows when he will leave office.

"I don't have the power to say so as this matter is in the hands of God," he said.

Mnangagwa (81) is currently serving his second term and constitutionally his last in office, having been first elected in 2018.

The Constitution only allows a president to serve a maximum of two five-year terms.

Even if an amendment is made, Mnangagwa will not be eligible for a third term because it cannot benefit the incumbent according to Section 91(2) of the  Constitution, which states that  one is disqualified for an election as President if he has already held office in a similar position under this Constitution for two terms.

Human rights advocate Aaron Hamauswa said it would be a sad day for democracy if Mnangagwa chose to run for a third term.

"Constitutional amendments to benefit the incumbent are a dangerous precedent that undermines democracy and the rule of law. A third term would extend Mnangagwa's already authoritarian rule and further stifle political competition and dissent," he said.

But a pro-Mnangagwa commentator and founder of Youth in Business Timothy Masenda said a constitution is just a document which can be changed to suit people's needs.

"The Constitution is a living document and can be amended to reflect the will of the people. If the people want Mnangagwa to stay, it is their democratic right [to do so]. Mnangagwa's leadership has brought stability and economic progress. A third term would allow him to consolidate these gains and ensure continued development," he said.

Analysts say a third term bid will tarnish Mnangagwa's legacy at a time when the veteran politician is at pains to show the world that he is different from his long-time tutor, the late former President Robert Mugabe.

Since his ascendancy to the throne via a coup in November 2017, Mnangagwa has undertaken several reforms as part of a re-engagement drive to repair Zimbabwe's damaged relations with the West. The once frosty relations are thawing and critics say the third term bid will turn the country into a pariah State.

Source - newsday