Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai is likely to pick his right-hand man Ian Makone as a running mate in future presidential elections, but he is facing resistance from his lieutenants, party insiders have said.
The new draft constitution released last week has a provision for presidential election candidates to select running mates who would become Vice-Presidents if the principal candidate wins.
Makone is currently the Chief of Staff in the Prime Minister’s Office and has often been accused of being behind Tsvangirai’s so-called “kitchen cabinet”.
He was reportedly MDC-T’s major financier for some time.
Sources said there were already indications that the MDC-T leader wanted to elevate Makone to the VP’s post in the event of election victory alongside Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe.
“That will be the worst mistake President Tsvangirai can do. This will definitely divide the party. I don’t think those in the top hierarchy will be comfortable with that decision,” a the source.
“It would be better if he maintains the hierarchy in choosing his running mates. Anything short of that will result in an explosion of the party.”
There are already reports of divisions in the MDC-T as senior party officials seek to strategically position themselves in the race to succeed Tsvangirai. But MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora said he was not aware of any move to appoint Makone as Tsvangirai’s running mate.
“When the draft constitution was released, the Prime Minister was away and he is not yet back home,” he said. “He could not be aware of this development. It can’t be true that he has already set his plans to make Makone one of his running mates.”
Makone and Tsvangirai’s spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka could not be reached for comment as they are in Australia with the PM.
Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs minister Eric Matinenga last Friday said the clause on running mates was meant to deal with Zanu PF’s complicated succession politics.