Churches have vowed to mobilise their followers countrywide to vote against the draft Constitution at the referendum if the document does not outlaw homosexuality and same-sex marriages.

This follows revelations by Copac co-chairperson Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana that Copac deliberately left the draft vague on homosexuality after failing to agree on whether or not to outlaw it.

The National Statistical Report, that contains the views of the people, says 76 percent of Zimbabweans want homosexuality outlawed.

Copac by allegedly staying unclear on homosexuality in the draft through phrases such as “natural differences,” is accused of giving gay rights silent treatment. This development, legal experts say, is open to manipulation should the Gays And Lesbians Association of Zimbabwe approach the courts for same-sex marriages.

The churches say the proposed new Constitution should clarify that Zimbabwe does not condone homosexuality. “As the church, we have never been for homosexuality and we want it clarified in the draft Constitution that it is outlawed,” said Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe president and spokesperson, Dr Goodwill Shana. “The current draft doesn’t have a provision where homosexuality is outlawed. We want it amended.”

Pentecostal Assemblies of Zimbabwe leader Bishop Trevor Manhanga said churches would mobilise people to vote against the draft at the referendum if the amendment was not effected. “If they don’t clarify in the Constitution that homosexuality is outlawed, then we won’t vote for it and we will mobilise our people to vote NO.”

Bishop Joshua Chiwenda of Revival Ministries International said, “There is no negotiation on that matter because homosexuality is an abomination before God and our culture. We want the amendments by Zanu-PF on homosexuality to be incorporated in the draft Constitution. We want it to be clearly outlined that homosexuality is outlawed. It must be outlined that, according to the Word of God and culture, homosexuality is outlawed.”

Pastor Alwyn Bizure of Adonai Ministries was even more dismissive, “We want the draft Constitution to clearly spell out that homosexuality is outlawed. If anyone commits the crime then those people should be sentenced to life imprisonment.”

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