PRESIDENT MNANGAGWA says he does not have intentions to run for a third term, emphasising that there is “no iota of evidence” where the ruling party, Zanu-PF, has pushed for something that violates the supreme law of the land.
Zimbabwe, he also said, was a constitutional democracy that abides by the dictates of the law.

In an exclusive question-and-answer interview with “Brick by Brick” magazine editors Munyaradzi Huni and Baffour Ankomah, President Mnangagwa indicated that speculation that the Constitution would be amended for him to run for another term was misplaced.

“Well, I am very happy that Zimbabweans are very imaginative,” he said.

“They can imagine about anything, which shows there is democracy in the country, you see. But we in Zanu-PF are very democratic and we obey the Constitution.

“There is not an iota of evidence where Zanu-PF or I, as President, has ever expressed the violation of our Constitution.

“But we allow people to dream properly or widely. They will still wake up and find things are working and the Constitution hasn’t changed.”

In terms of the Constitution, extending presidential term limits would require amending Section 91 of the supreme law, which disqualifies a person “for election as President or appointment as Vice-President if he or she has already held office as President for two terms, whether continuous or not, and for the purpose of this subsection three or more years’ service is deemed to be a full term”.

The Bill containing the amendment must be passed by a two-thirds majority in both the National Assembly and the Senate.

However, Section 328 (7) does not allow an incumbent to extend the period he may hold office.

It reads: “Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, an amendment to a term-limit provision the effect of which is to extend the length of time that a person may hold or occupy any public office, does not apply in relation to any person who held or occupied that office, or an equivalent office, at any time before the amendment.”

In effect, amending Section 91 to extend presidential term limits will apply only to future Heads of State.

Section 328 (7) can only be amended through a referendum, as set out under Section 328 (9) of the Constitution.

The latest interview is the second time President Mnangagwa has publicly pronounced that he will not seek re-election.

In an interview with ZTN Prime on the eve of last year’s harmonised elections, he said: “I am going for my second term . . . this is my last term.

“I believe that my party in particular, Zanu-PF, embraces our vision that, first and foremost, the stability of our country depends on us; the modernisation and industrialisation of our country depends on ourselves.

“People from outside can only come and support our programme.”

In the interview with “Brick by Brick”, the President, however, said in cases where governments intend to amend constitutions, due process has to be followed.

“A constitution is supposed to be made by the people of the country,” he added.

“Once you have come up with your own constitution, before you change it, you must comply with what it says.”

Constitutions, added President Mnangagwa, are changed “if you are not happy with what the constitution is saying”.

“The constitution doesn’t make the country,” he continued.

“It’s the country which makes the constitution. As long as your constitution is serving you well, keep it.

“If it’s not serving you well, you sit down and amend the provisions that no longer serve the interests of the country.

“We must be constitutional democracies, like ours.”

Turning to Zimbabwe’s assumption of the Sadc chairmanship, the President said he will prioritise regional food security and peace during his tenure

The broader Sadc agenda, he said, does not change with the assumption of office by a new chairperson.

“When we assume the chairmanship, I believe that, in my view, the most important item we must deal with is food security.

“We would want to see the co-ordination and cooperation that ensures that Sadc countries are food-secure.”

Sadc countries, he added, must share their experiences, technologies and models of agricultural production to guarantee regional food security.

“Secondly, the question of security. Some members of Sadc are facing insecurity in their respective jurisdictions. So, all Sadc members, we have said an attack on one is an attack on all of us.

“During our chairmanship of Sadc, we will do our best to support those member states that are facing insecurity and see how we can help.”

President Mnangagwa also said Zimbabwe’s bid for a seat on the United Nations Security Council enjoys the support of both Sadc and the African Union.

“We felt that it is time that one country in our region, Sadc, should take that seat. We in Sadc have agreed that Zimbabwe should put its foot forward. Whether we succeed or not, life continues.

“We have the full support in Sadc and we have full support in the AU,” he said.

He also described the recent piecemeal relaxation of illegal sanctions imposed on the country by the United States as a non-event.

“These sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe are illegal,” he said.

“That is the position also of the United Nations Security Council. Now, the (Joe) Biden administration proposed to remove some of them and leave some of them.

“We are saying no. In the first place, they are totally illegal. They must go in totality. We cannot feel that he is being benevolent by removing part of the illegality and leaving part of the illegality on us. The illegality must go in total.”

The President also called for dialogue in ending Israel’s ongoing military offensive in Gaza.

Sunday Mail

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