9 September 2012

Zimbabwe: Tsvangirai Launches 'Yes' Campaign

Harare — Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai was in a defiant and aggressive mood yesterday.

As he launched the MDC-T "Yes" campaign in support of the now controversy-ridden Copac draft constitution, he declared he would no longer discuss any amendments to the document.

In so doing, he set the stage for a showdown with Zanu PF. The former ruling party insists that it wants to amend the draft.

"I have one word for (President Robert) Mugabe when we meet on Monday on the constitution," Tsvangirai said as he officially launched the campaign in Harare's Exhibition Park. "We are done, let's talk about other things.

"The constitution is now at Parliament and the Speaker should call for the second all stakeholders conference, then a referendum and finally free and fair elections. If Zanu PF does not want the draft then they should start a 'No' campaign."

Zanu PF has adopted the position that the draft constitution negates the will of the people and the principals should discuss the party's proposed amendments when they meet tomorrow for their scheduled Monday meeting.

"I am not going to be part of that," the Prime Minister said. "We cannot have three people determining the destiny of the country. Let us take the document back to the people."

Tsvangirai said Zanu PF, MDC and MDC-T had all appended their signatures on the draft constitution and it was foolhardy for any political party to make an about-turn and disown the document.

"It is now Zanu PF versus the people," he thundered. "This constitution is not about individuals or a party, it is about future generations."

MDC-T and the MDC led by Welshman Ncube have declared a deadlock over the Copac draft and have invited facilitator, South African President Jacob Zuma to intervene, but Zanu PF insists that principals have to meet and thrash out the details, before the mediator can be called in.

Earlier, Tendai Biti, the MDC-T secretary general, had spoken to the gathering of more than 1 000 in the East End Hall at Exhibition Park on why they should vote for the draft constitution. He said it provided freedoms that would protect citizens against its rulers.

He repeated his controversial call that there was need for the "deZezurunisation" of the country, saying the Copac draft provided for this by calling for devolution.

"All tribes are equal, this draft allows for a mechanism that if you think there are too many people from Zvimba on a certain government board, you can go and lay a complaint and get redress," Biti said.

President Mugabe hails from the Zvimba district. He is of the Zezuru tribe, the target of Biti's jibes.

He also detailed the provisions that Zanu PF wants removed from the draft. They include devolution, dual citizenship and capital punishment, which would no longer be visited on women, were the draft constitution to be accepted.Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai was in a defiant and aggressive mood yesterday.

As he launched the MDC-T "Yes" campaign in support of the now controversy-ridden Copac draft constitution, he declared he would no longer discuss any amendments to the document.

In so doing, he set the stage for a showdown with Zanu PF. The former ruling party insists that it wants to amend the draft.

"I have one word for (President Robert) Mugabe when we meet on Monday on the constitution," Tsvangirai said as he officially launched the campaign in Harare's Exhibition Park. "We are done, let's talk about other things.

"The constitution is now at Parliament and the Speaker should call for the second all stakeholders conference, then a referendum and finally free and fair elections. If Zanu PF does not want the draft then they should start a 'No' campaign."

Zanu PF has adopted the position that the draft constitution negates the will of the people and the principals should discuss the party's proposed amendments when they meet tomorrow for their scheduled Monday meeting.

"I am not going to be part of that," the Prime Minister said. "We cannot have three people determining the destiny of the country. Let us take the document back to the people."

Tsvangirai said Zanu PF, MDC and MDC-T had all appended their signatures on the draft constitution and it was foolhardy for any political party to make an about-turn and disown the document.

"It is now Zanu PF versus the people," he thundered. "This constitution is not about individuals or a party, it is about future generations."

MDC-T and the MDC led by Welshman Ncube have declared a deadlock over the Copac draft and have invited facilitator, South African President Jacob Zuma to intervene, but Zanu PF insists that principals have to meet and thrash out the details, before the mediator can be called in.

Earlier, Tendai Biti, the MDC-T secretary general, had spoken to the gathering of more than 1 000 in the East End Hall at Exhibition Park on why they should vote for the draft constitution. He said it provided freedoms that would protect citizens against its rulers.

He repeated his controversial call that there was need for the "deZezurunisation" of the country, saying the Copac draft provided for this by calling for devolution.

"All tribes are equal, this draft allows for a mechanism that if you think there are too many people from Zvimba on a certain government board, you can go and lay a complaint and get redress," Biti said.

President Mugabe hails from the Zvimba district. He is of the Zezuru tribe, the target of Biti's jibes.

He also detailed the provisions that Zanu PF wants removed from the draft. They include devolution, dual citizenship and capital punishment, which would no longer be visited on women, were the draft constitution to be accepted.

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