Gweru Urban legislator Brian Dube has warned that scrapping the running mates Clause from the constitution might work against the country in future should there be an unreasonable President who might end up appointing his wife as Vice President.
The Zanu PF government is proposing to amend the constitution to remove the running mates clause coupled with adjustments to various provisions such as the promotion of judges among other things.
According to Zanu PF Chief Whip in the National Assembly Pupurai Togarepi, the clause serves to do nothing but promote unnecessary power struggles in both the government and political parties.
However, Honourable Dube told Parliament that the clause was put in the constitution due to the possibility of risk that may arise from one centre of power which may not be properly checked.
Dube said the unthinkable almost happened in 2017 when Former First lady Grace Mugabe was moments away from becoming Vice President of Zimbabwe after being nominated by almost 9 out of the country’s 10 provinces.
“We have an experience already as a country in 2017, whereby an Executive President who had appointed Vice Presidents at some point thought or realised that he had done so bad and felt someone else amongst his lieutenants was getting more support and they fired that person. The firing was not even logical but it followed what we want to go to now.
“Where we are saying a Vice President serves at the mercy of the appointing authority who is the President. We already have an experience and if we are a nation that does not want to learn, then it is unfortunate because we already experienced what this thing can do,” he said.
Honourable Dube added that, “I think that those who were alive to what was happening around 2017, we risked having someone’s wife as a President by virtue of having a powerful person there with the powers to decide who they want. Some other Vice Presidents were already pleading that they were lonely and wanted a quick appointment of their mother to assist them to do the job.
“So, is this where we want to be?
The legislator continued “When we are making these amendments, I urge this Parliament to not consider the individual who is there because you may have an individual who may be rational and reasonable and may never wish to have possibly their wife or son as President to succeed them.
“It may be unfortunate that at some stage, this nation may have an unreasonable one like what we almost had in 2017 and we risk having something that we never want to see – having a person who can act as President when that person does not meet even the minimum requirements of being a leader,” he said.
According to the Gweru Urban legislator, removing the running mates clause is a not smart move adding that one centre of power that Zanu PF is desperately trying to have is not safe for the country.
Honourable Dube added that an elected Vice President does not work to please a certain appointing person but they will work to please the electorate and the citizens.
“Why do we need a Vice President who is directly elected? It is also that when they are performing their duty, they are not performing their duty in order to please a certain boss but to please the whole nation. As soon as you become a Vice President, you are now a public official and your duty and obligation is to the whole nation.
“So we do not want a person who lives every day to check on whether the boss is very happy. We want a Vice President who may be able to tell their boss that this is not right. So the only person who can do so is a person who has direct mandate from the citizenry,” he said.
He said the smartest thing is to have a public official who has a direct mandate from the people.
Speaking on the same issues Proportional Representation legislator Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga said while some people are supporting the running mates clause, they must know that it is not the end of all the challenges as it has its own problems.
“I know that others were talking about the running mate as if it is a panacea, look at what happened in Malawi when Madam Joyce Banda moved away, she was a running mate – Mutharika then fired her.
“What then happened is that you still had a Deputy President, but who could not be fired because constitutionally she also had been elected. You can see what happened even when the senior Mutharika passed away, you understand the chaos that existed at that particular point in time,” she said. Get all COVID-19 statistics for Zimbabwe from COVID-TRACKER