Mashudu Netsianda, Senior Reporter
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has said he will not go beyond the two terms of office prescribed by the Constitution and pledged to accept the outcome of investigations into the post-independence disturbances, which mainly affected people in the Midlands and Matabeleland region.
The National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC), which is headed by former Labour Court judge Retired Justice Sello Nare, has since been appointed to gather evidence and investigate the post independence disturbances, commonly known as Gukurahundi.
Speaking in an interview with CNN’s television host Christiane Amanpour last Friday, President Mnangagwa, said he will abide by the country’s Constitution, which limits the Presidential term even if the people still wanted him to stay.
His remarks put to rest assertions by political analysts aligned to the opposition alleging that the President was likely have the Constitution amended to enable him to stand as a presidential candidate beyond two terms.
The President, who is in the United States for the 73rd Ordinary Session of United Nations General Assembly, said under his Government, he will entrench constitutionalism.
“Now with the new Constitution, which came into effect on the 22nd of May 2013, we have now limited the terms of Presidency (to) just two terms, if you are able to have two terms, then the maximum a person can remain in office are two terms. But beyond that, No, the Constitution forbids,” he said.
“I would like to entrench constitutionalism in Zimbabwe; I will abide by that without any iota of resistance at all. Even if the people love me to the hilt, I will still go away because I believe constitutionalism is important.”
President Mnangagwa said 10 years in leadership is long enough to allow one to implement their vision.
“In fact, you must give your people a chance to have other people coming. Ten years is not a short period in my view. It is quite a long period, and if you have a vision, it is a period long enough to implement your vision,” he said.
Turning to the Gukurahundi issue, President Mnangagwa said he appointed the independent NPRC eight months ago to conduct an inquiry into the disturbances.
“At the time that happened, my predecessor (former President Robert Mugabe) said it was a moment of madness, that is what he said, which is a result of what was happening internally. When I took over I felt that we needed to have finality on this issue. So I appointed a peace and national reconciliation commission, which is now eight months into investigations and gathering evidence,” he said.
President Mnangagwa said the Government will comply with the recommendations of the report, which would be made public.
“It will be on the basis of that report and the recommendations of that report. We should be man enough as a Government to accept whatever recommendations are made and see how, as a Government, we comply with the recommendations of the report,” he said.
“What I will not want to do is, in advance, say I will do this, I will do that. We will act according to the report.”
Vice-President Kembo Mohadi is responsible for the cluster on Peace and Reconciliation.
Under the new dispensation, the Government has shown commitment to engage people on civil disturbances and human rights violations through the enactment of the Peace and Reconciliation Act in January last year, which also created the NPRC. President Mnangagwa signed the NPRC Bill into law to operationalise the NPRC that was appointed in 2014 by his predecessor. The President revealed that he has already engaged traditional leaders from Matabeleland on the matter.
According to Section 252 of the Constitution, the NPRC’s functions are to ensure post-conflict justice, healing and reconciliation. — @mashnets