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Tsvangirai Takes Yes Referendum Campaign to Matabeleland

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai today took his vote yes campaign to Bulawayo, Matabeleland region, where he urged Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) supporters to adopt Zimbabwe's draft constitution in Saturday's referendum.

Mr. Tsvangirai said the draft charter will usher a new political dispensation in the country and value system he says places citizens at the centre of governance.

Addressing hundreds of supporters in the city this morning, the MDC leader said the new constitution will protect citizens from what he called the tyranny of the majority. He said minority rights are well enshrined in the draft.

Mr. Tsvangirai told the party supporters that the new constitution will ensure the equitable distribution of national resources to all the country’s provinces.

For example, he said, Chapter 18 of the draft charter forces the state to ensure local communities have equitable access to resources to promote development across the country.

The prime minister later met with local christian leaders where he signed a peace pledge promising he will do all in his power to urge his supporters to desist from engaging in political violence as the country goes to the referendum vote Saturday and start preparing for general elections expected later in the year.

Christian Alliance of Zimbabwe board chairperson Reverend Ray Motsi said it is the duty of religious and political leaders to ensure a peaceful and fair referendum.

Zimbabweans go to the polls this Saturday where they will be asked to adopt or reject the draft constitution.

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Meanwhile, VOA reached out to those campaigning for and against the draft constitution, as Zimbabweans are divided over the draft and what it offers the country in general.

In the year 2000, where Zimbabwean debated heavily on a constitutional draft, the National Constitutional Assembly led a successful campaign against a proposed draft constitution.

The NCA is pushing for ‘No’ again with the current draft, joining other political parties and civic organizations in campaigns both for and against.

For perspective on the two sides, VOA reporter Tatenda Gumbo spoke to Kurauone Chihwayi, deputy spokesman for the MDC formation of Welshman Ncube, which is pushing for a ‘Yes’ vote, and MDC 99 president Job Sikhala, who is against the adoption of the charter.

Mr. Sikhala, who said the draft constitution is flawed and should be rejected come Saturday. But Chihwayi disagreed and said Zimbabweans should support the draft document and vote ‘Yes.’
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