ED scared of gukurahundi, plots divisive constitutional coup

ON SPOTLIGHT: President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa


ZIMBABWEAN President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s strategy for a third term – practically a constitutional coup – is now gathering momentum and going full steam ahead after a brief retreat as the military regrouped soon after last year’s general elections, Zanu-PF insiders say.

The process of seeking a third term usually begins by testing the ground, as Mnangagwa and his allies are currently doing, to see if the idea would be acceptable and then push it through, especially when the elected president is in his or her second term.

The third term issue is complex, yet has a high success rate in Africa. As at the end of 2020, as many as 24 sub-Saharan countries have made final attempts to change their constitutions through parliament.

Four countries’ amendments did not go through. These are Zambia under Frederick Chiluba in 2001, Malawi under Bakili Mulizi in 2002, Nigeria under Olusegun Obasanjo in 2006 and in Burkina Faso under Blaise Compore in 2014.

By contrast, 20 sitting presidents succeeded in their third term bid.

So when the signs are positive, which Mnangagwa thinks they are now, the party is mobilised to push the agenda and then a legislative instrument is prepared and fast-tracked through Parliament for relevant constitutional amendments to be effected.

Zanu-PF has been handed a two-thirds majority in the National Assembly (Lower House) on a silver platter by the now suspended self-imposed opposition CCC secretary-general Sengezo Tshabangu.

Even if it does not have a two-thirds in the Senate (Upper House), it has the capacity to mobilise it using a carrotand-stick approach to sail through the bicameral legislature.

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