Zimbabwe parliament has approved a bill seeking to remove a clause in the constitution on electing vice presidents, a move that has been received with mixed feelings, with the opposition party the MDC Alliance at the forefront of criticising the development.
The opposition argues that 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.
President 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.
Advocate Nelson Chamisa, the leader of the opposition MDC Alliance party, described the move by the legislature as a betrayal.
By Eric Knight