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What Happens in Case of Zimbabwe President's Incapacitation?

  • Gibbs Dube

FILE: Zanu-PF supporters outside parliament during an official opening ceremony.

FILE: Zanu-PF supporters outside parliament during an official opening ceremony.

A constitutional law expert says Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa is in a position to assume power in the event that President Robert Mugabe is incapacitated.

Dr. Alex Magaisa of the University of Kent in Britain says Zanu PF conflicts can derail the succession of the president in case something happens to the 90-year old leader.

But he says the constitution is clear on what should happen in case the president is incapacitated while in office.

“The person who is acting president at the time a vacancy arises is the one who takes over up to 90 days as acting president. Then within that period, the political party which was represented by the exiting president will sit down and select a successor.”

Section 101 of the Zimbabwe Constitution stipulates that succession of the president takes place in the event of death, resignation or incapacity of the president.

“If the President dies, resigns or is removed from office, the first Vice-President assumes office as President until the expiry of the former President’s term of office; the second Vice-President assumes office as first Vice-President until the expiry of the former President’s term of office; and upon assuming office as President, the former first Vice-President must appoint a qualified person to be second Vice-President until the expiry of the former President’s term of office.”

It further states that if the first vice-president dies, resigns or is removed from office, “the second Vice-President assumes office as first Vice-President until the expiry of the former first Vice-President’s term of office; and the President must without delay appoint a qualified person to be second Vice-President until the expiry of the former first Vice-President’s term of office.”

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