BY RICHARD MUPONDE
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has signed the controversial Constitutional Amendment No 2 Bill into law, which gives effect to 27 changes to the Constitution and giving him unfettered powers over the Judiciary and Parliament.
The Bill sailed through the Senate this week with a two-thirds majority of 65 to 10 after 11 senators from the Douglas Mwonzora-led MDC-T faction coalesced with Zanu PF legislators.
Mnangagwa moved with speed to sign the Bill into law despite opposition from civic organisations and lawyers who intended to challenge the way the Bills sailed through Parliament.
In General Notice 907, Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Misheck Sibanda said: “… The following laws have been assented to by his Excellency the President are published in terms of section 131(6) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe. Manpower Planning and Development Amendment Act, 2020 (No 12 of 2020). Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No 2) Act (No 2 of 2021.”
Zanu PF yesterday claimed that it pushed for the amendments because the issue of a running mate was chaotic and a major cause of strife, citing the United States, Kenya and Malawi as examples.
“The issue of running mate is not working in other countries and it causes strife. You are aware of the issue in the United States, who are champions of the clause and how the former President Donald Trump acted. We don’t want to reach a situation where we have strife for us to remove the running mate clause,” Zanu PF spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo told journalists at the ruling party headquarters yesterday.
“There’s no problem in studying other countries where the issue of the running mate caused problems. It’s not only in the US where it has caused problems, even in Kenya and Malawi, they had such problems. We can’t wait to fall in a ditch when we know that we will fall in. You want us to wait and get bruises and see whether they are treatable?”
He said there was nothing amiss for Zimbabwe to remove the running mate clause as a number of countries did not have it, including neighbouring South Africa.
“There’s nothing amiss about it. There are a number of countries which don’t have the running mate clause. Even in South Africa, it is not there. It is not like countries not having the running mate clause are heading for disaster. We have to do what we want. The succession issue is a matter of political parties to resolve internally,” he said.
Khaya Moyo denied that Zanu PF had colluded with Mwonzora’s party to pass the controversial amendments.
“We, as a party, don’t have any inclination to bribe anyone for anything. We are a principled party with values and if our values appeal to you and you vote with us, we can’t stop you. We have policies which appeal to the people and they vote with us, we don’t bribe. That’s democracy, we are a clean party,” he said.
The ruling party spokesperson said Zanu PF was proud to have steered the passage of the Bill, which he claimed attests to the seriousness of the government to adjust the Constitution in line with its standards of governance.
“We, however, take note of the spirited attempts by the sworn critics of the government misinforming the public about the amendments,” he said.
“Nothing can be further from the truth. These amendments are aimed at strengthening our flourishing constitutional democracy through the deliberate creation of a stable institution of the presidency by removing the imported running mate clause which has proved to be chaotic where it has been used.”
- Follow Richard on Twitter @muponderichard