THE Prime Minister’s position will remain unchanged even after President Robert Mugabe appends his signature on the draft constitution.
VENERANDA LANGA /EVERSON MUSHAVA
Legal experts and Copac co-chairpersons this week dismissed assertions from some quarters that Mugabe would not need to consult Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on any issues, including election dates, as soon as the new charter became law.
Copac co-chairperson Douglas Mwonzora (MDC-T) said although the draft constitution had no provision for the post of PM, the post would cease only when a new government was sworn in and not on the day the President appended his signature on the new constitution.
“We are still going to have a Prime Minister even after the draft constitution is signed into law until the day of the swearing in of the newly elected President,” Mwonzora said.
“We put in transitional provisions in the draft constitution that take care of such issues and the arrangement is that the PM’s post, Vice-Presidents and the President will continue to be in force until the swearing in of a new government and there will be no room for Zanu PF to say that post no longer exists.”
Zanu PF Copac co-chairperson Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana concurred.
“It is provided for in the draft constitution that the PM will remain in office until a new government is formed,” Mangwana said.
According to Part 4 (15) of the draft constitution, which explains continuation of some Executive offices, the posts of, “President and Vice-President, Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Ministers, ministers and deputy ministers continue in existence until the effective date when the first President assumes office under this constitution and the persons who held those offices remain in them accordingly.”
Legal expert Chris Mhike said if enacted by Parliament, the new constitution would come into force on the day the new President elected in the first elections after the enactment of the new constitution assumes office.
“Prior to that, GPA (Global Political Agreement) provisions apply. In terms of current law, the Executive authority of the inclusive government vests in and is shared between the President, the Prime Minister and Cabinet,” Mhike said.
He said it would be out of ignorance and at most “the depth of criminal mischief” for one to claim that after the adoption of a new constitution, Tsvangirai will cease to be an executive officer and consultant on matters as important as election dates.