POLAD demand say in ED “running mate” amendment

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By Leopold Munhende

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Political Leaders and Actors Dialogue (POLAD) partners have told the Zanu PF leader to bring for scrutiny, the new constitutional amendment Bill seeking to scrap the controversial presidential running mate clause.

National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) leader Lovemore Madhuku told opposition parties making up the forum had agreed to have the provisions discussed among them first before being taken to parliament.

“We agreed to have the amendments discussed at POLAD before parliament as we felt it was another necessary issue that is of importance,” said Madhuku.

“We have a committee on governance and more on various sections of Zimbabwean society that constantly recommend issues to be discussed and that is one of those which were finally communicated by (Polad co-convenor) Commissioner Selo Nare at our last gathering.”

Speaking on condition of anonymity, an opposition politician within the forum said they now felt the successes of the 2013 new constitution were being deliberately undone by the incumbent.

“The 2013 constitution was a result of massive consultations hence such a unilateral decision especially at a time the President has called for a dialogue series with us as opposition parties does not paint a picture of any sincerity on his part,” said the politician.

Reported factional fights within the ruling Zanu PF are believed to be triggering the amendment with signs Mnangagwa was keen to remove the obligation on him to choose as his running mate, Vice President Constantino Chiwenga who is believed to be having his own presidential ambitions.

The Bill was gazetted on 3 January this year.

The process paves way for the legislative house to now call for submissions from the public on issues contained in the proposed law.

The Bill also seeks to give a sitting president the sole prerogative of appointing judges to national courts while departing from the current system in which aspiring individuals are first subjected to public interviews before their names are recommended to the national leader for final appointment.

Said Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) spokesperson Marvelous Kumalo in a recent statement.

“In our view, the proposed amendments seek to entrench the interests of individuals and dent the independence of an already captured judiciary.

“Dialogue must be anchored on preserving and strengthening Zimbabwe’s constitutional order guided by an agreed all-stakeholders roadmap to the resolution of the Zimbabwe crisis.

“We reiterate that the preservation and full implementation of the Constitution is a duty of every citizen regardless of political preferences.”

The 2013 Constitution had a 10-year transitional clause for election of president and his vice-presidents.

The Bill also seeks to increase the number of cabinet ministers a president will be able to appoint from outside parliament from five to seven.