Zimbabwe parliament votes to scrap presidential running mate rule

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Jekesai Njikizana /AFP
  • Zimbabwe parliament has voted to scrap a clause in the constitution on electing vice presidents.
  • Senior judges will also now be appointed by the president in consultation with the judicial service commission instead of being subjected to public interviews.
  • Zanu-PF used its two-thirds majority in parliament to remove the provision.

Zimbabwe's parliament approved legislation on Tuesday removing a clause in the constitution on electing vice presidents, a move which the opposition says is intended by President Emmerson Mnangagwa to concentrate power in the presidency.

The parliament also extended the tenure of senior judges, who will now be appointed by the president in consultation with the judicial service commission, instead of being subjected to public interviews as is the case now.

In 2013, Zimbabweans voted for a new constitution including a clause stipulating that the vice president should be elected together with the president, but the clause was suspended for 10 years in a compromise between the ruling ZANU-PF party and the opposition.

ALSO READ | Zimbabwe's Mnangagwa says 'fight still on' to fix broken economy

ZANU-PF used its two-thirds majority in parliament on Tuesday to remove the provision, saying that electing vice presidents as well as the president would create multiple centres of power that could destabilise the government.

The removal of the clause means a president will continue to appoint his or her deputy and that in the event of the president dying in office or being incapacitated, the ruling party will convene to choose a successor.

Mnangagwa's opponents say that having elected vice presidents would ensure a smooth succession and avoid political instability.

The lack of a clear succession plan in ZANU-PF led to a coup in 2017 by the military, which supported Mnangagwa and was opposed to a faction that had coalesced around the wife of the late former leader Robert Mugabe.

Under the changes affecting the judiciary, judges of the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court will now retire at 75, instead of at 70, and only judges seeking to be appointed to the bench for the first time will undergo public interviews.

Do you want to know more about this topic? Sign up for one of News24's 33 newsletters to receive the information you want in your inbox. Special newsletters are available to subscribers.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
Voting Booth
As South Africa faces down the third Covid-19 wave, how are you keeping your family safe ?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Staying at home, isolating and being careful
3% - 1222 votes
Sanitising and wearing masks when we go out
12% - 4718 votes
Going on as usual, we're not afraid of the virus
85% - 33688 votes
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo