By Tichaona Sibanda
The first Vice-President of Zimbabwe will assume office, to complete the term of the President, if he dies, resigns or becomes incapacitated, according to the new draft constitution.
Chapter 5 of the draft on the Executive, part 5.14 states that if the President dies, resigns or is removed from office, the first Vice-President assumes office as President until the expiry of the former President’s term of office.
‘The second Vice-President assumes office as first Vice-President until the expiry of the former President’s term of office. And upon assuming office as President, the former first Vice-President must appoint a qualified person to be second Vice-President until the expiry of the former President’s term of office,’ the new charter says.
If you put this into perspective, whoever Robert Mugabe nominates as his running mate for the first Vice-Presidency in the next election, will automatically succeed him if he fails to complete the 5 year-term.
Zimbabwe is set to go for harmonized elections, possibly next year, when Mugabe will be 89 years and because of his advanced age and poor health, few people doubt he will go the distance if he gets elected.
Some analysts believe he may step down to allow his anointed first Vice-President to take over, because by the time the first term ended Mugabe would be 94 years old.
If he wins and decides to step down, that gesture will once and for all settle the highly divisive succession battle in his party. As it is Joice Mujuru, the first Vice-President, might take over the reins, ahead of presidential hopeful, Emmerson Mnangagwa, the Defence Minister.
Under the current constitution if Mugabe fails to finish his term, for what ever reason, a nominee from his party will fill in the gap for 90 days until a new Presidential poll can be held. The one question that hasn’t been answered is why Zimbabwe needs two Vice Presidents in the first place. SW Radio Africa
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