|Published Tuesday, 03 January 2012 10:54 at http://www.zbc.co.zw/news|
|By Tafadzwa MusararaThe recently appointed writers of the constitution have released the first four chapters of the draft constitution to the three political parties. What a heap of bovine excrete!The findings of the COPAC outreach programme were consolidated in a report called the National Report co-compiled by the main three parties namely Zanu-PF, MDC-Tand MDC-N. Thereafter, the writers were assigned to write the constitution in the requisite legal format based on the National Report.
In their Drafter’s Letter 4.1 dated 9 December 2011, the writers have copied the “…Constitutions of countries in Sub-Saharan such as Kenya, South Africa, etc.” The draft is simply way out of tangent.
So far the draft chapters released, which are Chapter 1, 2, 3, 4 have touched on, inter alia, the topical issues of death penalty, gay rights, dual citizenship, war veterans’ welfare and recognition of indigenous languages. With the goodwill of the editor, I will be unpacking these chapters in serialised format.
When South Africa wrote their constitution in early 90s, the people through their representatives never consented to the enshrinement of gay rights in their constitution. In fact, their Marriage Act of 1961 enacted by the repressive apartheid regime did not recognise same sex marriages. The shock only came in 2002 when Marie Fourie and Cecelia Bonthuys, a lesbian couple, applied to the Pretoria High Court seeking an order to compel the Department of Home Affairs to recognise their marriage. The application was turned down and the lesbian couple appealed to the Constitution which ruled that not recognising the same sex marriage was unconstitutional and therefore legalised gay marriages. The judgement went further to order the Parliament to come up with a new law legalising chingochani (Homosexuality).
How did they reach that decision? The applicants (the lesbian couple) simply argued that Section 9.3 of the South African Constitution directed that “…the State may not unfairly discriminate directly or indirectly against anyone on one or more grounds, including race, gender, sex, pregnancy, marital status, ethnic or social origin, colour, sexual orientation, etc.”
It is the phrase” sexual orientation” the lesbians used to argue their case. In our Zimbabwe case, the writers are using “natural differences” to provide for a loophole that gays and lesbians will now use to apply to courts of law to have their union recognised.
When David Cameron decreed that the UK will not financially assist any recipient state that will not recognise gay rights, President Robert Mugabe called him “Satanic”. Ghana’s President, Mr Atta Mills, said Cameron was showing a “bullying mentality”. Last year, Ghana, a country described by Obama as the leading democracy in Africa, received GBP90M from the UK, but Mr Mills said “if they must take their money, so be it.”
I simply can’t phantom any one of my three sons bringing in another man as a partner. How will one relate to him? Muroora? If he will be called muroora what will be his role in the big family or in the clan? Definitely no children. The constitution must not be used to destroy people’s cultures, norms and beliefs.
In the last festive season, already more than ten people were killed in fights over women, beer and one dollar debt. It is such callous and destructive behaviour that the penalty seeks to deter. If one person takes the other’s life, then he/she abrogates his/hers. The USA government still has the death penalty in its law books.
The writers proceed in Draft Chapter 1 Section 6 (2) to state, “English is the language of record.” The majority of African countries have their own native languages declared languages of record. The people of Zimbabwe wanted the same and writers are drafting something else.
Everyone thought recognition of each‘s vernacular language is the bedrock of national unity.
According to Section 19 of the current constitution, the holding of the next elections is squarely indexed to the conclusion of the constitution making process. It is possible that there is a fourth force that is engineering this confusion so that the whole process is thrown into deep turmoil, consequently delaying elections.
It’s very difficult to talk when your mouth is full.
The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily represent those of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation.
Tafadzwa Musarara is the Chairman of Resources Exploitation Watch, a civic group. You may contact him firstname.lastname@example.org .