Zimbabwe's ruling party has achieved a two-thirds majority in Parliament according to by-election results released by the country's elections commission over the weekend. That paves the way for the ZANU-PF party to amend the constitution as it wishes — including removal of the two-term limit for the presidency — but creates dread for opposition parties.
ZANU-PF now holds 190 out of 280 seats in the National Assembly after winning six seats over the weekend, according to Zimbabwe Electoral Commission figures.
Farai Muroiwa Marapira, the ZANU-PF spokesperson, attributed his party’s victory to policies of President Emmerson Mnangagwa since he took power in 2017 from the late Robert Mugabe.
“With this two-thirds majority, we will look to ensure that we process our legislation faster for the betterment of our country,” Marapira said. “ZANU-PF is the only party that has – from its inception – been focused only on ensuring that people of Zimbabwe are served and to the best of the requirements and ability.”
Maripara added that people’s trust in the party was not misplaced.
“[We] assure them that they are safe in their trust of ZANU-PF, and they will not regret this decision of trusting in policies of President Mnangagwa,” he said.
Hwange Central legislator Daniel Molokele, who is with the country’s main opposition party — the Citizens Coalition for Change or CCC — expressed worry.
"It is indeed a very dark day in the history of Zimbabwe,” he said. “The gain that had been done to stop the two-thirds majority has been reversed, but we know that parliament is no longer relevant in deciding the future of Zimbabwe. It is heavily compromised; it is now a toothless bulldog.”
The same sentiment came from Linda Masarira, leader of the Labour, Economists and African Democrats, or LEAD, party. She said the two-thirds majority just means every decision will be made on behalf of ZANU-PF and not others in the country.
“I think it is a travesty of multiparty democracy, which is actually enshrined in the constitution of Zimbabwe, and I don't think we're going [anywhere] very fast if we're going to be having one party making the decisions, all the decisions for all Zimbabweans.”
Gibson Nyikadzino, a Harare-based political analyst, said the election victories should keep ZANU-PF in the driver’s seat of Zimbabwe politics for years to come.
“It also means that it will be easy for ZANU-PF to discuss proposed legislative agendas or the agendas,” Nyikadzino said. “And also at a broader national scale, it means that ZANU-PF remain a dominant party because the opposition [has] proven it lacks the capability to ideologically organize and mobilize its people or its structures.”
Zimbabwe’s next general election is slated for 2028. That’s when Mnangagwa’s second and final term will end – unless ZANU-PF changes the constitution.