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Zimbabwe MPs approve bill allowing the president to appoint VP directly

Zimbabwe MPs approve bill allowing the president to appoint VP directly
Zimbabwe's President Emmerson Mnangagwa attends a meeting with civil society organisations on August 22, 2020 at the State House in Bulawayo   -  
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Zimbabwe parliament on Tuesday approved a bill seeking to remove a clause in the constitution on electing vice presidents, a move that has received overwhelming backlash, especially from the opposition party.

The opposition said the bill is intended by President Emmerson Mnangagwa to keep a grip on the presidency.

The new raft of changes passed by the senate a week ago will see the president appoint the deputy president directly in the event of the president dying or incapacitated as the ruling part take time to choose a successor.

Mnangagwa supported the new bill say that having elected vice presidents would ensure a smooth succession and avoid political instability.

The new changes also mean the president can prolong the mandate of senior judges and even appoint judges by himself instead of them undergoing the normal public scrutiny.

Judges will now retire at 75 years instead of the previous 70, and only judges seeking to be appointed to the bench for the first time will undergo public scrutiny.

Nelson Chamisa, the leader of the main opposition MDC Alliance party, described the move by the legislature as a betrayal.

“No true constitutionalist will ever back a dictatorial amendment to the constitution,” Mr. Chamisa said. “Those who truly believe in constitutionalism, thank you for your principled voting in the National Assembly.

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