Source: ‘Push for enactment of Presidential Transition Act’ – NewsDay Zimbabwe April 3, 2017
FORMER Economic Planning minister, Tapiwa Mashakada has urged political parties to push for the enactment of a Presidential Transition Act (PTA) to guarantee a smooth transfer of power in the next elections.
By NQOBANI NDLOVU
Mashakada, a member of the MDC-T shadow cabinet, said it will be foolhardy for parties to expect a smooth transfer of power, trusting that the Constitution will ensure a peaceful, calm and orderly transition.
“I think Political parties should put this PTA on the table for negotiation with Zanu PF before the next elections. Understanding statecraft is very important. Parties will avoid a situation where there is a vacuum after the announcement of results and before the swearing-in ceremony.
“To rally on the current Constitution is tantamount to giving the outgoing President the discretion to change his mind,” Mashakada posted on Facebook.
Opposition parties are pushing for electoral reforms to prevent vote fraud and guarantee a free and fair election. In the past, members of President Robert Mugabe’s security Cabinet, the Joint Operations Command, threatened to block the political transition if the incumbent veteran President loses the forthcoming presidential poll.
In 2002, the late army commander, General Vitalis Zvinavashe declared that the armed forces would not “support or salute anyone with a different agenda that threatens the very existence of our sovereignty, our country and our people”.
The statements have been repeated on the eve of every national election since 2002.
“It’s foolish for political parties to go into the 2018 elections without first coming up with a legal framework for a smooth transfer of power from President Mugabe to the President-elect. Basically, the PTA provides for a calm, peaceful and orderly transfer of power.
“In some African countries, Ghana for example, before they had a PTA, transition was dramatic and characterised by forced seizure of assets, and forced removal from office. The Act will provide for the setting up of a Presidential Transition Team appointed by the outgoing President and the incoming President,” Mashakada said.
He added: “The PTA should provide for the vacation of office by the incumbent and the swearing in of the President-elect, the swearing-in of the Speaker and MPs and the administration of the Oath of Allegiance to the army, prison, security and police generals. The PTA will address everything including the announcement of results and the morning after.”