Tsvangirai defends retention of executive powers

HARARE - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has defended the retention of executive powers in the draft constitution saying a president should not be a stooge without authority.

Civil society groups and other organisations campaigning for a ‘no’ vote in the forthcoming referendum slated for Saturday have criticised both MDC formations in the coalition government for allowing the inclusion of “excessive executive powers” in the draft constitution.

“No vote campaigners such as National Constitutional Assembly, claim that allowing Zimbabwe to have an almighty president with unchallengeable powers, could make the person become a dictator,” Tsvangirai said.

But the former opposition leader told a “Yes Vote” rally in Dotito in Mt Darwin yesterday that a nation’s leader should have power to declare war when need be, among other unfettered powers given in the draft charter.

“President wenyika haafanirwe kuve musoro chete asina kana simba (a president of a country should not be a figure-head without authority), he must have executive powers to execute his duties.

“There are some duties that he should consult other entities such as Parliament, Cabinet so on and so forth. But duties like granting amnesty to prisoners and declaring war against another country, he does not need to consult.

“He should however, within seven days come back to Parliament and seek authority,” said Tsvangirai.

The MDC leader, who formed an uneasy coalition with his long time arch-rival President Robert Mugabe of Zanu PF, told his supporters in Mt Darwin that the new constitution is a step towards democratisation of the country.

“This is a product of the people of Zimbabwe; it is not an MDC or Zanu PF document. It is us in the MDC who from the beginning called for a new constitution,” the MDC leader said.

“We are not against Mugabe but against the manner of governance which he was doing,” Tsvangirai said.

Dotito is a Zanu PF stronghold currently held by Zanu PF vice president Joice Mujuru.

“This is my first time to be here, I can sense that the MDC is now countrywide,” he told the  crowd.

He was accompanied by Energy minister Elton Mangoma and Information Communication Technology minister, Nelson Chamisa among other senior government and party officials. - Xolisani Ncube

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