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Zimbabwe Heats Up as Ruling Party Youths Call for Mnangagwa's Third Term

HARARE, Zimbabwe - A chorus of support for President Emmerson Mnangagwa's continued rule beyond his constitutional term limit has emerged from ZANU-PF youths in Masvingo Province, raising eyebrows and sparking debate in the politically charged nation.

Wilson Waison

Over the weekend, chants erupted during a provincial gathering, declaring Mnangagwa, currently 81, as the party's leader until 2030, effectively urging an amendment to the constitution that currently restricts him to two terms.

Political analysts, however, have dismissed the move as reckless and premature. "These are just overzealous pronouncements by provincial youths," said South Africa-based pro-ZANU-PF commentator Kudzai Mutisi. "There's no serious discussion about extending or removing term limits yet."

This comes on the heels of ZANU-PF's internal campaign for Mnangagwa's third term, fueled by their recent two-thirds majority in parliament's lower house. But Mutisi cautions against reading too much into provincial endorsements. "They don't automatically translate to a national push," he noted.

Moreover, Mnangagwa himself has publicly stated his adherence to the constitutional term limit, further clouding the picture. And even if a debate were to take place, Mutisi emphasizes that it wouldn't necessarily guarantee a third term for the incumbent president.

The Zimbabwean constitution includes a safeguard against personal benefit from altering term limits. Section 28(7) explicitly states that any such amendment cannot apply to individuals already holding the office.

Despite the recent electoral gains, questions remain about ZANU-PF's true parliamentary strength. Analyst Liam Kanhenga highlights the difference between the two houses. "They do have a two-thirds majority in the National Assembly, but not in the Senate," he clarifies.

Kanhenga also emphasizes the crucial role of a referendum in any attempt to amend the constitution. "Only a referendum can give all Zimbabweans a say in this critical debate," he argues.

With Mnangagwa already in his final term, these recent developments have ignited debate across Zimbabwe, raising questions about the future of the country's political landscape and the potential implications for democratic principles. The coming months will be crucial in determining whether these chants remain mere provincial pronouncements or morph into a national push for constitutional change.


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