PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has said he will not amend the Constitution to facilitate the extension of his tenure beyond the mandated two five-year terms.

Mnangagwa is in his second and final term which ends in 2028.

In an interview with Brick by Brick magazine, Mnangagwa said: “There is not an iota of evidence where Zanu PF or I as President has ever expressed the violation of our Constitution.”

He said the third term bid was a figment of imagination of some people.

The remarks came amid claims that Mnangagwa was seeking to extend his tenure beyond the constitutionally mandated two and had deployed loyalists to champion his cause.

This gained traction after Masvingo province, one of the provinces that stood with Mnangagwa during the Zanu PF factional wars pre-November 2017, indicated that he would be in office in 2030, two years after the expiry of his second and final term.

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A video of a Zanu PF Masvingo provincial meeting held in February showed some party leaders chanting the slogan 2030 vaMnangagwa vanenge vachipo (Mnangagwa will be in office in 2030).

It got worse some weeks later.

At a Robert Mugabe National Youth Day event which Mnangagwa attended, Masvingo Provincial Affairs minister Ezra Chadzamira said: “We all want you (Mnangagwa) to stay in office beyond your presidential term. You will be there in 2030.”

In his address Mnangagwa said: “Avo vati vaMnangagwa vanenge variko, mambenge makafunga kuti handiko. Kunongova munhu one anoziva kuti ndinoenda riinhi ndiJehovha.”

Loosely translated, Mnangagwa said he was here to stay and only God knew when he would vacate office.

We would have expected the President to rein in party members at the meeting. But because it suited him, he added fuel to the narrative.

It was clear from the word go that the third term bid was doomed as the Constitution was bound to stand in the way. Why Mnangagwa remained silent as party members dragged his name into the mud remains a mystery.

What is clear is that the third term narrative builds into what critics have always said that the ghost of uncertainty will always haunt Zimbabwe.

Writing on X, formerly Twitter, MDC leader Douglas Mwonzora said: We are relieved to hear that @edmnangagwa will not seek a third term but will respect the Constitution. We hope the President will also resist the plans to remove delimitation and voter registration functions from Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to people directly appointed by him.”

We expect Mnangagwa to rebuke any party member who wants to set him up for failure by pushing the third term narrative.

In the absence of that, claims that he is not interested in another term will remain just that, claims.

While Mnangagwa can salvage something from the rebuttal, we still feel that it is too little to late. The horse has already bolted.