Political analysts say Vice President Constantino Chiwenga’s recent claims that ZANU PF would initiate a constitutional amendment to give President Emmerson Mnangagwa life presidency should not be taken seriously.
Analysts who spoke to NewZimbabwe.com concurred that Chiwenga’s remarks were mere political banter aimed at easing tension between him and his principal following reports he is manoeuvring to wrest power from him.
Addressing ZANU PF supporters in Beitbridge on Wednesday, Chiwenga claimed that the party would rule forever and would change the constitution to allow Mnangagwa to rule for life.
Political analyst Alexander Rusero described Chiwenga as an excitable character trying to give his boss the impression that he had no presidential ambitions. Said Rusero:
I don’t see anything outside political banter, excitable characters trying to allay allegations of factionalism and divisions which are rocking the party.
I think in all earnest, the VP is trying to please his boss. After all, we are in an election mood. The election season is already upon us where one can say anything.
I do not think we can depict a national mood looking at what Chiwenga uttered on a podium or a platform where he was showering heaps of praises to his boss ED.
I do not see any innuendos beyond that, but it becomes problematic when a whole VP who is supposed to be the epitome of policymaking parroting such sentiments.
SAPES director, Ibbo Mandaza noted the muted response by the crowd to Chiwenga’s utterances, saying no one would be foolish to be moved by Vice President Chiwenga’s remarks. Mandaza said:
l think it was sheer rhetoric meant to conceal a lot of things happening behind the scenes. I saw the video; the response of the crowd is muted. There was no cheering.
It was a very mute response. Even the audience is not lost to the noise behind it all. People will be foolish if they get moved by that.
But renowned academic Nhamo Mhiripiri believes the ruling party, which enjoys an overwhelming majority in Parliament, change amend the Constitution if it decided to do so. He said:
Any majority party can make claims that they are doing the changes. There is a possibility ZANU PF can do that and it’s constitutional when there is a need to involve everybody, like in a referendum which is more universal as compared to the elected MPs.
With elections, you can never be sure. There might be lobbyists who might think they might have mire vision and insights on why extensions might be problematic but as long as those people are in the minority, it becomes a problem, so is it a popular will? That is the question.
This comes after ZANU PF, using its parliamentary majority, passed the Zimbabwe Constitutional Amendment Bill (Number 2) in May.
The law scraps the running mate clause in the supreme law and gives the President power to appoint judges.