Mugabe, Tsvangirai resist running mate clause

HARARE - Both President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai resisted the issue of running mates because it could open a can of worms in succession battles.

Eric Matinenga , the minister of Constitutional  Affairs yesterday told reporters that the draft constitution which was being finalised and expected to be in the public domain next week, had sought to capture the people’s views and had not deferred any issue, except the running mate clause.

Matinenga said all the outstanding issues such as executive powers, devolution, composition of the Attorney General’s office and the creating of the prosecuting authority would be implemented immediately after the draft becomes the country’s governance charter. A referendum to endorse or reject the draft is likely in March or early April.

 “The issue of the running mate was not part of the outreach programme. Some people said the management committee wanted to be naughty and wanted to address some shortcomings of some political parties.

“Others said it was meant to address the same issue in all political parties and nobody was happy to have this clause,” he said.

“I don’t have personal communication with the big people (Mugabe and Tsvangirai) but I know that they were not happy with the clause. It is a very dramatic change of daily political business and we now know what is going to happen with those who want to run for high office as we are going to have running mates,” said Matinenga.

Mugabe and Tsvangirai managed to have the clause deferred for the next 10 years as they will not be required by law to choose running mates in this year’s presidential elections.

The running mate clause will force presidential candidates to pick their likely successors while still on the campaign trail.

Both Mugabe and Tsvangirai’s parties are torn apart by factions led by senior members who are eyeing the two leaders’ positions.

Matinenga said politicians claiming they outwitted others in having their views captured in the draft are misleading people.

“Some of the politicians will explain this to their political constituencies and this is what their constituencies want  to hear.

“There are no winners or losers in the draft. It is not a charter for one political party,” said Matinenga.

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