BY RICHARD MUPONDE/MIRIAM MANGWAYA
President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s spokesperson George Charamba has revealed that Zanu PF tricked the opposition MDC formations to consent to the passing of the Constitutional Amendment No 20 with a contentious clause on the running mate, waiting to get a super majority in Parliament and then amend it before it becomes operational.
The running mate clause was one of the sticking points among a myriad of other clauses which nearly derailed the Constitution-making process as Zanu PF was bitterly opposed it.
However, it grudgingly conceded to have the Constitution passed in a referendum.
The ruling party then tabled the Constitutional Amendment Bill No 2 with 27 amendments, among them the scrapping of the running mate clause, which has already sailed through the lower House on a 191 to 22 majority.
But Charamba said the ruling party presented a decoy to MDC formations to allow the constitutional work to progress while knowing very well that it would get a parliamentary majority to amend it before it was operationalised.
“… ensuring that the running mate clause would be held in abeyance long enough for a return to it,” Charamba tweeted on Wednesday.
“In a master stroke, Zanu PF agreed to this contentious clause on proviso that it would be held in abeyance for 10 years. It now appears the opposition, clearly out of depth as always, thought Zanu PF had given in to their law-making whim.”
He added: “It never occurred to them Zanu PF merely conceded without ceding an inch of strategic ground. The running mate clause was unacceptable to Zanu PF both on grounds of principle and because of unsavoury experiences of the same.”
The Constitutional Amendment Bill No 2 has been criticised for trying to consolidate the president’s power.
But Charamba said: “I point this out to expose the fallacy which is being touted by easy journalists and commentators that the current President is responsible for scrapping of the running mate in order to consolidate his hold on power and to block Vice-President Chiwenga in Zanu PF succession matrix.
“Of course, I am charmed to note that these commentators in that false reasoning admit that the future belongs to Zanu PF. On that aspect alone, they are very right!”
In an interview yesterday, Charamba said Mnangagwa was not the one who co-ordinated for the amendment of the running mate clause, but it was the Zanu PF party members.
“What the current President is doing is merely accomplishing Zanu PF’s will which was agreed on, under the then late President Robert Mugabe’s leadership,” he said.
However, the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) in statement said it was devastated by the tragic betrayal of the people of Zimbabwe by elected representatives whose primary duty is to defend the Constitution.
ZimRights national director Dzikamai Bere said the 191 MPs who voted for the Bill had betrayed the people of Zimbabwe.
“Amendment Bill Number 2 is the single deadliest blow to our constitutionalism so far,” he said.
“It is a tragedy that the people who claim to represent the people of Zimbabwe are acting with impunity against the very people they purport to represent. I hope the people will punish them for this treasonous act.”
ZimRights and other civil society organisations have described the Amendment Bill Number 2 as an affront to democracy.
ZimRights national chairperson Takesure Musiiwa said: “As ZimRights, we are against the attempt to push back into the Constitution what the people had rejected during the Constitution-making process.”
During public hearings held by Parliament, thousands of ZimRights members participated in the physical and virtual public meetings and spoke out against the amendment.