Mnangagwa third term bid is an awful idea and must be stopped


By Trevor Ncube

Once upon a time in Africa coups were the only sure method of changing governments. And then, multiparty states emerged with fixed presidential term limits. These were soon replaced by amending constitutions, by hook or crook, to facilitate “constitutional” elimination of term limits.

Regrettably, it appears President Emmerson Mnangagwa might be jumping onto this rickety bandwagon, having benefited from a coup to get into power.

Youth Day celebrations in Masvingo recently sent out a clear message that some in the ruling party desire a Mnangagwa third term. A youth-led campaign would provide plausible deniability, but not when ZanuPF national leaders, including Vice President Kembo Mohadi openly endorse the self-serving third term bid.

After 37 years in power as Prime Minister (1980-1987) and President (1987-2017), Robert Mugabe convinced himself, and some in his orbit, that he was indispensable.

It is too early for Mnangagwa to get ideas of his indispensability, but he has done well to make himself the one-eyed man in a room full of blind people. You pause a bit when asked – so who will lead ZanuPF when Mnangagwa steps down?

As far as performance is concerned there is little to commend Mnangagwa for a third term. The economy is in the doldrums. Repression is at its most suffocating since independence. Infrastructural decay has been normalised. Corruption has become a national subculture.

In hushed tones some argue a third term is a must to entrench the Mnangagwa family dynasty and progress the Karanga agenda. Fortunately, these are private, provincial and ethnic matters that don’t involve the rest of us. Not to mention the dangerous precedent that this would set.

If Mnangagwa and his supporters were genuinely concerned about his legacy then a peaceful and constitutional transfer of power would do the trick. He would set a new bar of being the first elected Zimbabwean President to willingly step down. Now, this is a precedent worth fighting for!

Mnangagwa’s first five years as President have been underwhelming and failed to separate him from Mugabe’s record. There is a strong argument to be made that he has turned out worse than Mugabe on so many counts. This is hugely disappointing. Gravely concerning is Mnangagwa’s failure to learn from Mugabe that clinging to power is a sure recipe for a coup.

If his track record won’t commend him for a third term then there isn’t much that his age can do for him. What is an older Mnangagwa going to do for Zimbabwe, which he was unable to do in Mugabe’s cabinet and as President? He will be 85 by the end of his second term and 90 if he forces a third term. Mugabe was 93 when he was forced out of power, mentally and physically incapacitated.

Generally speaking, there are those who argue that presidential term limits must be discarded as liberal democracy is seen as a Western concept, which runs afoul of Africa’s culture. The African culture in question being that the continent is better served by “consensus” presided over by a strongman.

Of course those who argue that democracy is a Western concept and a colonial hangover see no problem with the colonial borders imposed after the Berlin Conference.

While our constitution clearly states that; “the President must uphold, defend, obey and respect the constitution,” Mnangagwa has presided over the most egregious desecration of our supreme law. Now that Zanu PF has all, but secured a two-thirds majority in the National Assembly this could be a done deal unless Zimbabweans decide otherwise.

In 1989 Mugabe and Zanu PF were intent on imposing a one-man, one-party state dictatorship but this was stopped in its tracks. Opposition from within Zanu PF, by public intellectuals and a small private media helped stop this terrible project.

The Mnangagwa third term bid is a terrible idea and it must be stopped. It will take a broad progressive coalition that includes elements in Zanu PF, the churches and civil society to disabuse Mnangagwa and his sycophants of this awful idea. It is bad for democracy, Zanu PF and the nation.

Trevor Ncube is Chairman of Alpha Media Holdings and host of In Conversation With Trevor. This is an excerpt from the weekly Newsletter . Please subscribe for thought provoking fresh insights.

In Conversation With Trevor

In Conversation with Craig Chimtengo


Craig Chimtengo, Founder & Creative Director of Mr Rocca (London) shares his inspirational rags to riches story in this episode. Second hand clothes triggered his interest in fashion and his passion to create a global fashion house. Watch Her Episode Here

Audience Responses

From Craig Chimtengo episode, our community had this to say:

These conversations are too rich to be put out on YouTube for free. It’s a blessing to have them. Great lessons and takeaways from this interview.
Thank you for hosting Craig. He is very authentic.
Nice to see two well dressed and accomplished gentlemen having a candid conversation Craig is the epitome of class his decorum and sense of purpose is really inspiring.
Well done Craig. Your story is very inspiring. To Trevor keep it up brother, your show is one of its kind. I have been following your show from day one and has never been disappointed.

Coming Next: In Conversation with Gugulethu Siso


Don’t miss the next episode with Founder & CEO of Thumeza Fintech Gugulethu Siso In Conversation
with Trevor.

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in conversation with trevorZimbabwean entrepreneur and newspaper publisher Trevor Ncube
sits down with various high-profile guests in a series of
candid, conversations that seeks to go beyond the headlines and
beyond the sensational.

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