Indications by Zanu PF secretary for administration Obert Mpofu that the party was considering tampering with the national Constitution to extend President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s tenure beyond the stipulated two five-year terms is a clear demonstration that there is no appetite within the ruling party to break from its dark past.
The ruling party should actually be pushing for a culture of leadership renewal rather than use the governance charter to serve individual interests at the expense of the good of the nation. This is similar to what we witnessed with the late former President Robert Mugabe who eventually had to be forced out through the barrel of the gun after 37 years in power. This seems to be a vicious cycle that Zanu PF is too keen to repeat. The party needs to discard its culture of turning leaders into demi-gods and ensure that presidents come and go regularly as happens in other normal democracies.
The fact that Zanu PF has got a two-thirds majority in Parliament should not be used to tamper with the Constitution at their whim because that is akin to abusing their majority in Parliament. Doing so is a demonstration that they clearly have no regard for the people who voted for that Constitution during the referendum. In fact, this defeats that democratic process through which governance charters are crafted.
While everyone appreciates that Zanu PF can use its parliamentary majority to change the Constitution, doing so at their whim will only portray them as a dictatorial party that has no interests of the population at heart, but is just there to serve its parochial interests of hanging on to power at all costs, regardless of their gross failure to fulfil promises which they made during the last elections.
Quite clearly, some in Zanu PF have a nauseating sense of self-entitlement that makes them behave and act as if Zimbabwe is their party property. This kind of behaviour does not make them appeal even to neutrals who may consider voting for them in future. All it does is portray them as a power-mongering party lacking a democratic culture through which new leaders are raised and given the opportunity to lead.
Mnangagwa once he has done his two terms if voted back in 2023, he should feel obliged to make way for a new leader. This is the only way he can prove to the nation that he has indeed broken away from Mugabeism. But as of now, all the signs are there that he was raised in Mugabe’s shadow, and has just continued from where his late predecessor left. There is nothing new. In fact, many Zimbabweans are of the belief that they are now worse off than they ever were under Mugabe. Make no mistake, Mugabe destroyed the country due to his prolonged and aimless stay in power and this could result in any new government taking longer to reverse the late former President’s effects of misrule. Therefore, Mnangagwa must be smarter if he is to turnaround the economic fortunes of the country by embracing and entrenching democratic tenets in all spheres including in his Zanu PF party.