MDC backs draft constitution

2012-07-28 20:25

Harare - The party of Zimbabwe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai pushed on Saturday for approval of a disputed draft constitution needed for new elections, calling it "the best document" possible.

A spokesperson for the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), Douglas Mwonzora, said that if the draft was looked at objectively, "one will come to the unescapable conclusion that it is the best document so far since 1896".

That date marks the colonisation of the country which was initially known as Rhodesia.

A new constitution, which is to be put to a public referendum, is one of Zimbabwe's main reforms ahead of elections to replace an uneasy coalition formed by President Robert Mugabe and Tsvangirai three years ago.

The coalition was designed to prevent the country from tipping into wider conflict in the aftermath of a bloody presidential election.

European Union officials have said they would lift most sanctions imposed against Zimbabwe a decade ago once the country has held a "credible" vote on a new constitution.


Mwonzora said his party's officials were satisfied with the draft and had agreed to support the document, which was completed last week by negotiators from the country's two man political parties.

Some analysts have criticised the document as a flawed compromise which will not have any effect, however.

The proposed constitution would curtail presidential powers and impose a two-term limit of 10 years. Mugabe has been in power since Zimbabwe's 1980 independence.

It would also strip the president of immunity from prosecution once he leaves office, a major concern for Mugabe who fears being hauled to court over human rights abuses.

Following a long debate on allowing same-sex marriage and ending capital punishment, the draft defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman and maintains the death penalty except for women and people aged 70 or older.

It provides for citizenship by birth, descent or registration, but does not allow dual citizenship.

The draft also foresees compensation for white farmers who were forced off their land by Mugabe's controversial land reforms and protects the property rights of the new farmers.

  • Lacrimose - 2012-07-28 22:07

    MDC plans, ZANU laughs. Mugabe's been in power for TWENTY TWO years. How many draft constitutions? How many elections? Zimbabwe has been here over and over again. I have to tip my hat to Tsvangirai for his persistence & by now maniacal belief that things can change whilst Uncle Bob and The Henchmen exist.

  • millionwatts1 - 2012-07-28 22:16

    This MDC doesn't know whether its coming or going!

      larry.piggott1 - 2012-07-29 14:21

      It doesn't matter whether they are coming or going, as long as they are on the same Gravy train.

  • xovizwe.ndebele - 2012-07-29 00:32

    Tsvangirai is a spineless leader,,even if ths draft sees lite,he wl neva rule Zimbabwe.he is just a day dreamer!we nid politcal leaders nt e fly by nite,.mickey mouse ones.he spent 12days in prison,what.s that.promotng same sex marriage,nx!

      Lennon Chenga - 2012-07-29 10:50

      True, he is just a puppet that does not represent real issues affecting the mass.

  • eddie.serane - 2012-07-29 00:43

    Almost done

  • Lennon Chenga - 2012-07-29 10:48

    Tsvangirai's term has expired, his MDC constitution states that a party president can only go for two terms. His term ended three years ago. He has officially split his party because of that, now there are two MDCs. He should rewrite his constitution before going into elections. Set the example and pass the reigns! You've achieved nothing for your followers except giving false hope. You built a strong opposition which is healthy in any democracy but your sell by date is long past due!!

      sandy.langenstrass - 2012-07-29 20:13 say Tsvangirai's time is up..and he should resign..... Don't you think the same applies to Mugabe...who has most certainly over stayed his time? If people don't think Tsvangirai is good enough...why has no other political party taken up the challenge? Zimbabwe needs a serious change of government.

  • wekunetsavamwe - 2012-07-29 10:56

    no to same sex marriage and no to gay/lesbian rights

  • jabulani.ngwenya.90 - 2012-07-29 19:07

    so does it mean that if a man and a woman kill an innocent man they will be given different sentences basing on their genders? a murder by a woman is considered less murder as compared to that of a man though the circumstances and means used is the same. well, that is Zim. do we allow our elders to do as they wish because their ages save them from dearth penalt automatically? so if i want to kill someone i can pay an elderly female to do it for me because she will get a lighter sentence.

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