BY MOSES MATENGA
ZANU PF and MDC-T yesterday allegedly whipped their senators into line ahead of today’s vote for the passage of the Constitutional Amendment (No 2) Bill, amid fears that the proposed law changes will make fundamental changes to the Constitution.
Zanu PF chief whip Pupurai Togarepi said ruling party legislators met “to deal with housekeeping issues”.
“Of course, if there is a vote and we have a routine meeting, we also discuss how to proceed and ensure everybody comes, and we see where we stand then we see the numbers and encourage people to come,” Togarepi said.
“We do not do a caucus because we have a crisis, we don’t have a crisis in terms of our approach to issues in Parliament where you find that in other political parties there is dissent or anything. We don’t have that in Zanu PF and it is, therefore, just a routine caucus,” he said.
MDC-T spokesperson Witness Dube said party legislators were ordered to oppose the Bill although their colleagues in the National Assembly joined forces with Zanu PF to pass the Bill last month.
Dube, however, referred further questions to the party chief whip in the National Assembly Paurina Mpariwa who was not picking up calls.
If the Bill passes, it will among other provisions give unfettered power to the President, including doing away with the running mate clause and handpicking judges, as well as increase the tenure of the proportional representation women’s quota to 2033, among several other amendments.
The scrapping off of the clause on running mates is set to come into effect in the 2023 elections to settle Zanu PF succession disputes and give the President the prerogative to appoint his deputies.
Impeccable party sources last week said the MDC-T leadership ordered opposition legislators to criticise the Bill publicly in Parliament, but when it comes to voting, some of its members must assist Zanu PF to garner the much-needed two-thirds majority in Senate.
The Constitutional Amendment No 2 Bill sailed through the Lower House on a 191 majority against only 22 MPs from the MDC Alliance and four from Mwonzora’s faction who opposed it.
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