Zanu PF flip flops on running mates

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF wants a clause in the draft constitution requiring that presidential candidates appoint running mates thrown out, even though the provision was brought by the liberation party.

Zanu PF’s Politburo on Thursday resolved to do away with the running mates provision, a clause that deputy minister of Justice and Legal Affairs Obert Gutu says was brought before the Parliamentary select committee (Copac) by Zanu PF.

Zanu PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo said his party had completed an audit of the draft, and wanted the new constitution to exclude the running mates provision.

“We say no to the issues of running mates and want vice presidents to be appointed,” Gumbo said on Thursday.

Section 5.5 (2) of the Copac draft constitution says: “Every candidate for election as President must nominate two persons to stand for election jointly with him or her as his or her vice-presidents, and must designate one of those persons as his or her candidate for first vice-president and the other as his or her candidate for second vice-president."

But Gutu said in a briefing paper to regional thinktank Idasa that there was unanimous support across the political divide during Copac consultations that presidential elections should include a president with a running mate, based on the American system.

“The running mate of the winner automatically becomes the first vice-president,” Gutu said.

“The MDC-T compromised here as it was Zanu PF that insisted on maintaining a system of two vice-presidents.

“They claimed that this has always been the approach in Zimbabwe and that it speaks to ethnic balance. To dilute an overbearing presidential system further the new constitution includes a two term maximum for a presidential appointee.”

The other concerns for Zanu PF was dual citizenship, which the party does not want. It also rejected the proposed separation of powers between the envisaged National Prosecuting Authority and the attorney general’s office.

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