PRESIDENT Mugabe’s disclosure at the weekend that the constitution will be amended to increase parliamentary seats has raised the stakes in Zanu PF&#
8217;s highly-divisive succession struggle.
Mugabe said the objective of increasing the number of seats was to cater for the country’s growing population, although the last census showed the population was in fact going down owing to migration and the ravages of Aids. His remarks came as he warned party members against fighting over his job.
Opposition parties yesterday said they would mobilise against such an amendment if they discover that it is meant to serve Zanu PF’s succession politics rather than national interests.
Mugabe’s remarks provided a further insight into how the party is anxious to find ways of managing its problematic succession issue by extending patronage to those now needed to support constitutional amendments providing for transitional mechanisms.
Zanu PF last year re-introduced a senate, apparently as part of efforts to deal with Mugabe’s succession.
Movement for Democratic Change (Mutambara faction) secretary-general, Professor Welshman Ncube, who heads the Parliamentary Legal Committee, said his party would resist such self-serving manoeuvres.
“We will oppose that within the parameters of parliament,” he said. “We will mobilise against such an amendment until government realises Zimbabweans should decide on the constitution together.”
Ncube said while the idea could be justified for large constituencies such as Insiza that stretches at one point for 200km, Zanu PF’s intentions should be taken with a pinch of salt.
“If we have to amend the constitution we need a whole spectra of NGOs, civic society and political parties to achieve a national consensus. These piecemeal amendments do not help our situation at all,” he said.