By Staff Reporter
OUTSPOKEN National Patriotic Front (NPF) spokesperson Jealous Mawarire has accused President Emmerson Mnangagwa of putting up a spirited bid to have the running mate clause scraped from the national constitution as he feared threat to his job by Vice President Constantino Chiwenga.
Mawarire was co-speaker during a Thursday public discussion on Constitutional Amendment Number 2 Bill.
The controversial proposed law seeks to do away with a constitutional clause that compels future presidential candidates to appoint running mates ahead of elections.
“We don’t want a situation where if someone is afraid of Chiwenga, says ‘no, I don’t want the running mate clause, because Chiwenga will kill me and take over after me’,” Mawarire said.
“So, ‘in order for me to circumvent that, let me change the constitution so that I will appoint a subservient deputy’.
“No. That’s not a principle that I think we should entertain as citizens of Zimbabwe.”
VP Chiwenga, who as the country’s military commander 2017, ousted then President Robert Mugabe and installed his deputy, Mnangagwa, is seen as harbouring his own presidential ambitions.
But his chances of ever occupying the country’s most powerful job could be fading by the day as Mnangagwa has already revealed his intentions to run for another term in 2023.
Mnangagwa has not stopped there as he is said to be sponsoring the constitutional amendment that seeks to remove the obligation from him and challengers from appointing running mates.
If the clause is to remain in the country’s supreme law, the Zanu PF leader would find himself in the invidious position of having to appoint VP Chiwenga as his running mate, in the process, perpetuating simmering power struggles within the Zanu PF leadership echelons.
Since taking over as the country’s number one, Mnangagwa has redeployed some top military commanders to civilian service, in apparent attempts to neutralise Chiwenga’s power base that is resident in the barracks.
Both Mnangagwa and Chiwenga have not publicly commented on the constitutional amendment.