Why ZANU-PF really wants a two-thirds majority


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The recent elections in South Africa, where the ruling African National Congress lost its majority, polling 40% of the vote down from 57%, has demonstrated the vulnerability of liberation parties especially if they fail to deliver or are seen to be departing from the aims and objectives of the struggle.

The Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front must be worried. It suffered a similar humiliating defeat in 2008 when it lost to the Movement for Democratic Change then led by Morgan Tsvangirai. But it was salvaged by then President Robert Mugabe’s elections director Emmerson Mnangagwa, now the country’s President.

Though ZANU-PF is sitting on a comfortable two-thirds majority, it knows this could evaporate at the next elections. It failed to attain the two-thirds majority at the elections proper and had to rely on controversial by-elections, hence the need to strategise right now.  

Some in the ruling party were worried about the vulnerability of the party way back before last year’s elections, hence their quest for a two-thirds majority so that they could change the country’s constitution.

While a lot of theories are being floated, like the party wanting a two-thirds majority to amend the constitution to give Mnangagwa a third term or to extend his current term to 2030 so that he fulfils his vision of making the country an upper middle income country by 2030, a senior party official told me way back in February 2023 that progressives within the party wanted to change the constitution to preserve the party and not an individual.

ZANU-PF, unlike the opposition, has always been stronger than any of its leaders while the leaders of the opposition, especially Tsvangirai and Nelson Chamisa have always been stronger than the party.

The official said ZANU-PF had been hijacked by opportunists and criminals. The party should, therefore, focus on its ideology so that people continue to focus on why they went to war rather than on what they can get personally.

“There are now too many opportunists in the party and even some criminals that are being protected by the party at its expense,” the official said. “There is need to get rid of this criminal element. This is why Mugabe was removed, but the party continues to accommodate known criminals.”

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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