Mugabe fights to retain presidential powersBy KITSEPILE NYATHI in Harare | Friday, August 17 2012 at 16:56
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party has made a raft of amendments to the country’s draft constitution to restore the president’s powers.
A draft produced by a cross parliamentary committee last month had diluted President Mugabe’s powers and compelled him to name a successor.
That document had already been approved by Zanu-PF’s ruling coalition partners who have vowed to reject the new amendments.
State media Friday said the party’s amendments explicitly banned same sex marriages and dual citizenship.
The original draft was silent on homosexuality and provided for dual citizenship.
Zanu-PF also wants a proposal that presidential candidates must appoint running mates scrapped and allow winners to choose their vice presidents.
The proposal was seen as a way of forcing President Mugabe, in power since 1980, to name a successor in the next elections.
South African President Jacob Zuma who visited Harare Wednesday ahead of a heads of state SADC summit in Mozambique noted that the disagreements over the new constitution had the potential to derail preparations for fresh elections.
Zanu-PF spokesperson Mr Rugare Gumbo said his party was looking forward to SADC bringing together the three governing parties on the constitution making process.
“We expect SADC to take a decision compelling the political parties in government to complete the constitutional making process and see it through to the referendum, “he said.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai Tsvangirai said amending the draft would be a violation of his power sharing agreement with President Mugabe.
"It has been decided that the matter would be re-visited at the summit,” he said after meeting President Zuma.
"Clause 6 of the 19th Amendment doesn’t give veto power to the principals (on the draft constitution).
"Principals cannot veto what Copac (Parliament Constitutional Select Committee) has done.”
The impasse has put pressure on President Zuma to act after Zimbabwe was given 12 months to prepare for elections by SADC in June.
The South African leader is SADC’s mediator in Zimbabwe’s long drawn political impasse.
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