Zim To Adopt US Presidential Poll System

Information obtained by RadioVOP indicates that the three political parties charged with drafting a new constitution for the country have agreed that under the new supreme law of the land, presidential candidates should nominate their respective running mates.

Under American presidential election system, a running mate is a person running with another person on a joint ticket during an election.

The term is most often used in reference to the person in the subordinate position. In the event of the presidential candidate winning the polls, the running mate automatically becomes the Vice President.

In the previous elections, presidential candidates have appointed election managers. In the controversial 2008 presidential polls Emmerson Mnangagwa acted as President Robert Mugabe’s election manager while Tendai Biti was Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s manager.

There is an agreement on maintaining two Vice Presidents in the new constitution with the running mate of the winning presidential candidate automatically becoming the first Vice President. The winning President will have the constitutional mandate to appoint the second Vice President.

The Presidential term remains remain two five year terms, depending on the age of the candidate seeking re-election.

Sources privy to the delicate negotiations involving the COPAC management committee, which last week met for four-days at a secretlocation at the resort town of Nyanga, said there was an agreement between three political parties to introduce a running mate in the newconstitution envisaged to lead to fresh polls, bring closure to the coalition government.

Members of the COPAC management committee, who include Emmerson Mnangagwa (Zanu PF), Patrick Chinamasa (Zanu PF), Nicholas Goche, Welshman Ncube, Priscilla Misihairwambwi-Mushonga (MDC), Tendai Biti (MDC-T) and Elton Mangoma, among other senior party officials signatory to the Global Political Agreement (GPA), were said to be
consulting their respective parties on the latest clause they wanted enshrined in the new constitution.

Sources claimed Zanu (PF) representatives were agreeable to the clause being inserted in the new constitution but were now understood to be under pressure from colleagues questioning the motive of introducing a running mate in the constitution when it was known that the succession debate in the party was “taboo.”

While Zanu (PF) insiders saw the issue of a running mate as meant necessarily to address President Mugabe’s party’s internal succession problems, sources said negotiators from all the parties in the GPA viewed it as a way of enhancing Zimbabwe’s political system, making it more fascinating for the coming generation.

They added that the  issue of a presidential running mate, which has been in the US system since time immemorial, would ensure  long-term political stability, which critics say, has sadly has been in short supply in Zimbabwe. It would ensure political certainty, they argued.

For instance, if President Mugabe nominates Joice Mujuru as his running mate, it can almost be taken for granted that she automatically becomes Zimbabwe’s next President should the former resign, become incapacitated or die in office.

“A running mate tells a lot about what the prospective president stands for, what his/her principles are and if he/she is capable of moving the nation forward. It just makes, in my view, the whole electoral process much, much more exciting. America has used this
method for centuries to great national benefit,” said Psychology Maziwisa, a Harare-based political analyst.

Maziwisa added that in Zimbabwe, though, its most immediate use would be to bring an end to the traditionally problematic issue of succession.

“By nominating a running mate, the president’s choice becomes public and there is no anxiety anymore about who is most likely to succeed him,” he said.

COPAC management is scheduled to meet again before the end of this week in desperate attempts to conclude the constitution-making process.

Zanu (PF) has brought new demands the party wants included in the draft before the COPAC management committee.