Zimbabwe War Veterans Oppose ZANU PF’s Bid to Remove Presidential Term Limits

March 19, 2024
Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa | Report Focus News
Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Harare, Zimbabwe – In a bold expression of internal dissent, a faction within the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) has come out against efforts by certain members of ZANU PF to amend the nation’s Constitution to remove presidential term limits. This development was highlighted following an incident where police halted a ZNLWVA meeting in Bulawayo on Friday, March 15, under suspicions that the organisers opposed the ruling party’s agenda.

The meeting, organised under the leadership of Andrease Mathibela, aimed to address issues pertinent to the welfare of war veterans, who have historically been closely aligned with ZANU PF. However, within the party, Mathibela’s group is perceived as opposing the political objectives of President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his faction.

After the disruption of their meeting, Mathibela addressed the media in Bulawayo, vehemently opposing what he termed the push for “dynastic rule” in Zimbabwe. He invoked the memory of the 2013 referendum, in which an overwhelming majority of Zimbabweans voted for a new Constitution that, among other things, established a two-term limit for the presidency, a measure aimed at fostering democratic governance following years of autocratic rule.

Mathibela criticised the government’s drift from the foundational principles of the indigenisation laws, designed to protect Zimbabweans from neo-colonial exploitation and to safeguard national sovereignty. He accused some within ZANU PF of attempting to erode the constitutional term limit to pave the way for unlimited presidential terms, warning against the dangers of such a move.

The controversy stems from increasing support within ZANU PF for President Mnangagwa’s potential third term, a proposition faced with constitutional constraints. The Constitution explicitly disqualifies anyone who has already served two terms from running for president again, a stipulation that also precludes the possibility of amending the Constitution to benefit the current president during his tenure.

The landmark case of Mupungu v Minister of Justice and others further cements this interpretation, ruling that extending term limits for sitting incumbents is unconstitutional.

Mnangagwa, who secured his first term in the controversial 2018 elections, is in the midst of his second term, set to end in 2028. Despite the legal and constitutional hurdles, the push for a third term reveals the deep divisions within ZANU PF and raises significant concerns about the future of democracy in Zimbabwe.

This report by Standard Zimbabwe sheds light on the growing tensions within the ruling party, underscoring the resistance against attempts to undermine the constitutional order and democratic principles in the country.