THE draft constitution approved by Global Political Agreement (GPA) leaders and set to be tabled before Parliament on February 8 makes same-sex marriage a criminal offence, NewsDay can reveal.
Homosexuality had been one of the major issues that stalled the constitution-making process with President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party accusing the MDCs in the inclusive government of trying to smuggle it into the new governance charter.
Section 4.78 of the draft constitution that deals with marriage rights prohibits forced marriages, marriages of people under the age of 18 and between people of the same sex.
“Persons of the same sex are prohibited from marrying each other,” reads Section 4.78(3) of the draft. Zanu PF Copac co-chairperson Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana yesterday said the clause was a clear statement that Zimbabwe does not condone homosexuality.
“This is the first time we have this clause in our constitution,” Mangwana said.
“The constitution cannot provide more information as there will be other legal instruments to enforce it, such as the Sexual Offences Act. It’s clear sexual relationships between people of the same sex are prohibited.”
Mugabe, a fierce critic of homosexuality, has often criticised the practice as unAfrican and branded gays and lesbians as “worse than pigs and dogs”.
The President has repeatedly said he believed same-sex relationships were ungodly and has criticised MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai for backing gay rights after Tsvangirai said he was against the denial of minority rights.
MDC-T Copac co-chair Douglas Mwonzora yesterday said homosexuality was a criminal offence in the country.
“The constitution cannot prescribe a crime, but the issue of homosexuality can be covered under the criminal law of sodomy,” Mwonzora said.
“Same-sex marriages are prohibited and homosexuality is a crime under the country’s criminal laws.”