Churches dismiss Copac draft

September 9, 2012 at 12:04 pm Leave a comment

By Lloyd Gumbo.
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 Cde Munyaradzi Paul
Mangwana that Copac deliberately left the draft vague on homosexuality after
failing to agree on whether or not to outlaw it.

Cde Mangwana’s sentiments were echoed by MDC-T policy director Mr Eddie
Cross who confirmed his party’s pro-gay stance during a dis­cussion on Star
FM on Wednesday night.
“As a party, we are not prepared to criminalise homosexuality because we
think 10 percent of our population have homosexual tendencies,” Mr Cross
said adding, “We think that criminalisation of personal practices and
preference is a violation of human rights.

“We fundamentally differ with Zanu-PF because they want to crimi­nalise
homosexuality.”
Mr Cross confirmed his party’s intention to make the Constitution remain
silent on homosexuality.

Ironically, the National Statistical Report, that contains the views of the
people, says 76 percent of Zimbab­weans want homosexuality outlawed.
However, Copac — which tried, but failed — to smuggle homosexual­ity into
the draft through phrases such as ‘‘natural differences’’, chose to give gay
rights silent treatment, a development legal experts say is open to
manipula­tion should the Gays And Lesbians Association of Zimbabwe approach
the courts for same-sex

marriages.
Church leaders said they backed Zanu-PF’s amendments to the draft.
In its proposed amendments, Zanu-PF wants clause 4.35 that cov­ers Mar­riage
Rights to include two new sec­tions (4) and (5) to read as follows: “(4)
Same-sex marriages are prohibited; and ‘‘(5) Homosexuality, gays and
les­bian practices are prohib­ited’’.

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. We
applaud Zanu-PF for coming up with amendments in line with what the people
said. We don’t want a situation where people will go to the court because
the law is silent.
“It is better that we answer that question in the beginning than to have
people flooding our courts,” Bishop Man­hanga said.

Bishop Joshua Chiwenda of Revival Ministries International said: “If they
want to bring a draft without those amendments then the church will campaign
for a NO vote.

“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. These things are being peddled by the New World
Order because they are fight­ing God,” Bishop Manhanga said.
Pastor Alwyn Bizure of Adonai Ministries said: “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.”
The Constitution-making process has been referred to the Principals of the
Global Political Agreement who are now seized with the process.
The MDC formations have, how­ever, endorsed the Copac draft with MDC-T
leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai announcing that they will soon launch a “Yes”
campaign.

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