GLOBAL Political Agreement (GPA) principals last week resolved that running mates in presidential elections must be introduced 10 years after the new constitution is adopted to help manage President Robert Mugabe’s explosive succession issue, it was revealed yesterday.
Report by Everson Mushava Chief Reporter
Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara and MDC leader Welshman Ncube last Thursday agreed to compromise on a number of contentious clauses to allow the constitution-making process to move forward.
Zanu PF had opposed the provision on running mates in the Copac draft amid fears it would complicate Mugabe’s succession in the faction-riddled party.
There have been suggestions that the MDC formations had been outwitted by Mugabe to accommodate Zanu FP amendments to the draft.
But instructions given by Copac to drafters on the agreed amendments showed that most of the major Zanu PF proposed changes were rejected.
The constitution will still provide for devolution of power, split the Attorney-General’s Office, a National Reconciliation Commission after 10 years and dual citizenship.
Ncube yesterday said there were no winners or losers in the process and compromises were made to save the draft constitution.
“It was a win-win situation,” he said. “No political party won.
“It is the people of Zimbabwe who emerged the winners because they will have a better constitution as compared to what they had.
“All parties compromised, remember Zanu PF did not even want the word devolution to be included in the constitution.
“They also did not want the issue of running mates, the Prosecuting Authority and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.”
Ncube said an agreement was reached to delay the implementation of some clauses to deal with internal fissures in parties such as Zanu PF.
“If the idea is good, it is better for it to become after years than not to have it at all,” he said.
“The issue of running mates was seen to be good, but at the moment causing divisions in Zanu PF as they were used for factional fights and we agreed to defer its implementation.
“The same was done on other issues that were deferred, considering the fears and concerns of other parties.”
According to the Copac document in our possession, the parties agreed to “adopt GPA provisions (20.1.8) transitional for five years and revert to 18 July 2012, that is, in the event of a vacancy arising in the office of the President, such vacancy shall be filled, within 90 days, by a nominee of the party which held that position prior to the vacancy”.
Some of the changes also include the setting up of a National Prosecuting Authority that will be weaned from the Attorney-General’s Office in the next seven years, while a Truth and Reconciliation Commission will be set up 10 years after the constitution comes into force.
The President’s powers have also been curtailed with Clause 5:24 of the draft stipulating that for him/her to declare war, parliamentary approval must be sought.
“Clause 5.24 in respect of whether or not in declaring war the President should seek approval of Parliament, it was agreed to recast the clause to read as follows; ‘The President has power to declare war and make peace and must report same to Parliament within seven sitting days.’
“Any declaration of war may be revoked by a two-thirds majority vote of a joint sitting of Parliament.
“Upon receiving the decision of Parliament to revoke the war, the President shall take all reasonable and practical steps to disengage from that war taking due consideration of the need to ensure the safety of the Zimbabwean persons and equipment in that war”.