Can new constitution end Mugabe’s reign?

Robert Mugabe may well be facing very serious resistance from within his ZANU PF party not to contest the next general election, a leading pro-democracy activist has said.


Dewa Mavhinga, the regional director for Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, told SW Radio Africa’s Hidden Story program that several attempts to stop the ageing Mugabe from contesting have failed and as result people in his party are using other routes to try and stop him.

He gave as an example the first draft of the new constitution ‘leaked’ to various organisations that says ‘a person is disqualified for election as President if he or she has already held office for one or more periods, whether continuous or not, amounting to 10 years.’

ZANU PF has strong representation in COPAC and its members did not stop this clause from being included in the first draft, including its co-chairperson Paul Mangwana.

‘It’s a shrewd move by people who have run out of options on how to contain Mugabe on the way of democratically barring him from running again for the presidency. It maybe ZANU PF elements calling out for help that through a constitutional amendment Mugabe may be stopped from contesting the next election,’ Mavhinga said.

The 88 year-old Mugabe was nominated by his party as its candidate despite concerns over his advanced age and reported failing health. Some in ZANU PF have already blasted the proposal as a personalized attack on Mugabe.

But in a panel discussion on Wednesday with journalist Pedzisayi Ruhanya and analyst Dr Maxwell Shumba, Johannesburg based lawyer Mavhinga said some in ZANU PF may well be orchestrating Mugabe’s downfall

‘There is precedence that, in those cases where political parties are unable to stop an overpowering dictator from running again for the office of president, the avenue to use is through a constitution that bars the incumbent.’

He continued: ‘This may be the route that ZANU PF is taking with Mugabe, and it has happened before in Zambia, Malawi and Namibia. It could turn out to be the only way to prevent Mugabe from being a life president in Zimbabwe.’

Already recriminations have broken out in ZANU PF over this attempt to bar Mugabe from seeking another term in office. Politburo member Jonathan Moyo and Mangwana are openly at odds over the draft.

‘Debate within ZANU PF has been stifled and therefore they are venting their frustrations and looking at other avenues outside of the party, to effect the same position, which is to bar their leader from running again,’ Mavhinga added. – SW Radio Africa News

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