HARARE, Feb 4 — Zimbabwe’s ruling ZANU-PF now commands a two-thirds majority in parliament and could amend the constitution and prolong President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s control, after by-election results released today.

The party won a clean sweep in six constituency elections held yesterday after a peculiar political manoeuvre that was denounced as a fraud by the opposition saw six opposition MPs sacked.

Zimbabwe Electoral Commission chairman Rodney Kiwa told AFP: “Elections went well. ZANU-PF has won in all the six constituencies. I do confirm that position.”

This was the second time Zimbabwe has held parliamentary by-elections since the start of a political crisis that has hobbled the opposition and may now cement 81-year-old Mnangagwa’s control.

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Analysts and opposition activists warn that ZANU-PF could now wield their super-majority—of 190 seats out of the 280 total, and with two vacant—to remove a two-term limit on the presidency and allow Mnangagwa to stand again.

The seats became open after a self-proclaimed interim secretary general of the opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), Sengezo Tshabangu, orchestrated the recall of six of the party’s MPs.

Opposition supporters attacked the move, insisting that Tshabangu was a ZANU-PF stooge, imposed on the party merely to disrupt it and build a ruling party majority to secure Mnangagwa’s rule.

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“The ruling party has demonstrated that it will not stop at anything in their push for a one party state and an all powerful president,” Obert Masaraure, spokesman for civil society umbrella group the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition.

ZANU-PF has long denied having anything to do with Tshabangu and rejects claims it aims to create a one-party state.

When general elections were last held ZANU-PF was 10 seats short of the two-thirds majority in parliament, now after a series of disputed by-elections it has attained that goal. — AFP