MDC Tsvangirai Sets Up Mugabe Fight With Support For Homosexuals
IRATE: Mugabe has already told his Politburo that the MDC must not be allowed to table its alternative Constitutional proposal, saying they signed the Kariba Draft and must be forced to "keep their word." The provision for the protection of gay rights in the MDC proposals has the ZANU PF leader hopping mad.
Harare, Zimbabwe, 02 October 2009
The Morgan Tsvangirai-led Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has set up a bruising battle with Robert Mugabe and ZANU PF as it presented a proposal to protect gay rights in any new constitution.
The party is calling this protection of "personal preferences".
The position is contained in a new draft constitution being circulated by the MDC, which was immediately slammed by some MDC MPs and almost all of ZANU PF as "suspicious" and "crafted by shadowy characters".
At a Politburo meeting in Harare this week, Mugabe is said to have told his colleagues that he thinks the MDC is not serious and questioned how anyone could put forward such a thing. He said his party should refuse to take part in the Constitution-making process at all until the MDC abandons this new constitution and goes back to the Kariba Draft "which they signed. Why did they sign it? They must be honourable and keep their word."
Moreover, the MDC is also proposing that these rights be absolute, making it illegal for any law to be passed against these and other constitutionally protected rights.
Some MDC MPs immediately went to the state media to complain that the new draft constitution "was not crafted by the MDC but by other unknown, shadowy and sinister forces." State media did not name the MDC MPs who are against these new proposals.
Besides constitutionally protecting gay rights, the proposals from the MDC also call for proportional representation (a proposal previously put forward by Morgan Tsvangirai around the 2005 parliamentary elections, which was immediately rejected by Mugabe publicly. He said it was because the MDC realised they could never win an outright majority.)
In addition, the draft also proposes making dual citizenship legal, abolishing the death penalty, setting up a new Independent Electoral Commission whose Commissioners will have the same level of judicial independence as exists in good democracies like the USA, South Africa and Britain for judges.
Also in the MDC constitutional proposals, there is the provision for a directly elected President, who will turn around and appoint a Prime Minister from the ranks of the party with a majority in parliament. The MPs would choose and recommend the Prime Minister to the President.
The terms of the two - President and Prime Minister - will be limited to two in the MDC proposals.
This last bit is hypocritical, considering that the MDC itself has failed to respect its own constitution and is seeking, through smokes and mirrors, to allow Tsvangirai, who has served more than two full terms already, to serve for a futrher three terms
Reaction from ZANU PF has been swift, with the party saying that the MDC signed the Kariba Draft and must stick to that. In this fight, the ZANU PF says it also has the support of a large number of MDC MPs.
However, with Tsvangrai still holding sway in the MDC, holding virtual dictatorial powers over his party to the extent that he is forcing them to stay on in the Inclusive Government even though the majority of his National Executive and National Council are against the move, it is unlikely that the rebels will carry the day.
The MDC-T is likely to simply invoke the whip on its MPs and expel those who defy the party's instructions to support these new constitutional proposals.
The MDC told the media this week that this latest development is simply its own "internal document". The party intends to put this constitutional proposal on the table to counter the Kariba Draft and the Drafts of the National Constitutional Assembly and the ZCTU, amongst many others.
It will then use its "popularity to sell its version to the people and get it chosen as the basis of a new constitution."
ZANU PF rejects the whole thing, but is especially set against the proposed protection of the rights of homosexuals, calling the move "alien".
Mugabe has previously and repeatedly slammed homosexuals, calling them "worse than pigs and dogs."
This is gearing up to be one big dogfight!