Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai today urged church leaders to go and commend members of their congregations to register and vote in the election that is going to be held later this year.
“The last thing that l want to talk to you about is the issue of registering. People should go to register — people are supposed to vote. There is nothing for free except sunshine — everything you must work for. Those who think things will be given for free will lose their freedom,” Tsvangirai said.
Concerned Church leaders and citizens of Zimbabwe who met the premier at his government offices bemoaned loopholes that are in the draft constitution such as the right to abortion and the clause on homosexuality.
“What guarantee is there that the acts of parliament will guarantee the termination of pregnancy only in exceptional circumstances, because this provision of the constitution does not provide any guideline framework that pregnancy must only be terminated in these circumstances?” Christian lawyer Barnabas Muchanyerei questioned.
The premier told church leaders that the draft will constantly be improved through the passage of time so that it becomes relevant to contemporary society.
“We improve our constitutional governance as we move because we will have gone through that experience. These loopholes that you (church leaders) are pointing out, it’s already an experience. What is needed is political will and experience to say this is not 100 percent perfect.
“However, people constantly —through their parliaments, through their institutions — must constantly subject this constitution so that it is relevant to contemporary society. This is a very big step, so let’s subject into to further interrogation.
“Ndopatonetsana naMadhukuka Madhuku arikuti throw it away isu tirikuti kwete (This is where we are clashing with (Lovemore Madhuku). We can’t throw away the baby with the bath water. This is a good step forward for the country.
“If you want an improvement, we will deal with that later. Even VaMugabe vakataura kuti tikahwina tinochinja constitution — hameno kuti vanoda kudzosera 291 dzavaida kuita here dziya kana kuti tiri kuti isusu we will improve through national discourse muparlaiment and other formations (Even President Mugabe said if they win they will change the constitution — l don’t know if they want to bring back the 291 they wanted),” Tsvangirai said.
Tsvangirai added: “Let’s submit our constitution to further discussion toita zvemamwe maCOPAC (we will then hold another COPAC) outreach meetings and Vanhu vachiita (people) subject this to further debate.
Despite the loopholes, the church leaders from various denominations vowed to vote ‘Yes’ for the draft constitution.
A new constitution is part of an agreement of President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai signed before the formation of a power-sharing government in 2009.
Civic organisations have argued that the draft constitution – which outlaws homosexuality and introduces two-term president limits – does not reflect the wishes of Zimbabwe.
Led by the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), NGOs have started campaigning for a vote “NO.” The organisation says the draft constitution reflects the wishes of Zanu-PF and the MDC only.