By Nduduzo Tshuma
MDC-T national chairman Lovemore Moyo says he does not support the provision for presidential candidates to select running mates in future elections, which is contained in the draft constitution, arguing it is divisive.
Moyo, who is also the Speaker of the House of Assembly, said this during a dinner organised by the Matabeleland Constitutional Reform Agenda on Wednesday, risking a fallout in the MDC-T over the new constitution.
The Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC-T has already publicly endorsed the draft produced by Parliament’s Constitution Select Committee.
“I do not know where they took it (idea of running mates) from, but I hear we were trying to accommodate two vice-presidents,” Moyo said.
“I think we all know the criteria used and Zanu PF said they did not want to be seen abandoning the Unity Accord.
“The thing will cause many political parties problems.
“We are putting our presidents in a difficult position. The constitution says the president chooses a running mate they want. It will lead to divisions in the party.
“It means we go back to our congress and realign ourselves.”
MDC-T secretary-general Tendai Biti was at the weekend quoted saying Tsvangirai had already picked Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe as one of his running mates.
He said the other running mate would be chosen through an open election.
But Moyo, who is supposed to be the second running mate if MDC-T follows its hierarchy, disagreed with Biti, saying Tsvangirai was yet to make a decision on the matter.
“If you ask me as an individual, I would not fight for the retention of that clause,” he said.
“Some people might say it is an advantage for Matabeleland, but there is no advantage in being a deputy.
“If you are a deputy, you are waiting to be assigned, so do not fool yourself. We have never discussed as a party the issue of running mates.”
Zanu PF is reportedly also not happy with the provision on running mates. MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora reiterated that the party had endorsed the draft constitution in its present form.
“The party, through the National Standing Committee, National Executive and National Council, agreed to support the document because it represented the views of the people and was negotiated in good faith,” he said.
The Welshman Ncube-led MDC has endorsed the draft, saying it was a compromise - Newsday.