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‘Draft constitution racist’

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The two MDC parties in the inclusive government have been accused of endorsing a draft constitution that promotes reverse racism.

At a public debate organised by local think-tank Sapes Trust in Harare on Tuesday, representatives of the two MDC parties struggled to give a definition of the word “indigenous” used in the draft.

Alex Stevenson, a medical doctor, said the draft was supposed to embrace all Zimbabweans in their diversity.

“My point is what is indigenous,” he said.

“Let us start looking into the crevices of that.

“Are Ndebele people indigenous when they came into Zimbabwe just before the white people? Are the Shona people indigenous to this country when the Khoisan were here first?

“If we have a law that discriminates, then let us spell it out.

“Discrimination is wrong and I think if we are having a constitution, we have to get rid of discrimination.”

Stevenson said if there was a cut-off time in the country’s history to qualify one to be described as indigenous, the new constitution must not be ambiguous about the matter.

Harare Media Centre director Ernest Mudzengi said by referring to “blacks only when referring to ‘indigenous’ people shows failure to embrace people in their diversity”.

Constitutional Affairs minister Eric Matinenga admitted the word indigenous should have been defined, but said Zimbabweans must not be negative and vote against the draft as working to improve on it would be better than starting afresh.

“The draft has looked intensively at key rights issues than any other constitution. I think it’s a good draft and people should support it and work to improve it over time,” Matinenga said.

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