PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday said the new constitution sought to do away with one-man rule and usher in a new democratic dispensation.
Addressing mourners at the burial of renowned academic and MDC-T parliamentary aspirant Professor John Makumbe in Buhera, Tsvangirai said the proposed new charter would be a departure from a culture of impunity.
“Power is institutional and not individual,” he said.
“You don’t know what this constitution is all about.
“It’s a departure from a political culture of one-man rule, violence and impunity to go to a democratic dispensation.”
Tsvangirai’s statements are likely to be seen as an indirect attack on President Robert Mugabe who has been in power for the past 32 years with all pillars of the State, including the security apparatus, centred around him.
Two weeks ago, principals in the inclusive government endorsed the draft constitution paving way for it to be presented in Parliament next week before it is taken to a referendum.
The draft seeks, among other issues, to regulate securocrats’ role in active party politics and level the political playing field ahead of harmonised elections likely to be held this year.
Presidential tenure will be limited to two five-year terms. But Mugabe can still serve for another 10 years if he wins the elections.
Both Mugabe and his MDC counterparts Tsvangirai and Welshman Ncube have agreed that the forthcoming elections would be guided by the new constitution.
In his graveside speech in Buhera, which is also his rural home, Tsvangirai rapped what he termed party newcomers and rabble rousers for questioning the political credentials of such cadres as Makumbe.
The MDC-T leader said the late academic was actively involved in the party’s behind-the-scenes activities since its inception.
“In politics, if a person wants to contest for any position, let them contest freely.
“But we have warned against vote-buying. People should go and campaign, but we hear others saying where did John (Makumbe) come from.?
“Do you know how the MDC started?” said Tsvangirai in reference to party stalwarts who had privately questioned Makumbe’s credentials .
Makumbe, a fierce Mugabe and Zanu PF critic, collapsed at his Chadcombe home in Harare on Sunday and died on admission at a private hospital.
The fiery political analyst was earmarked to succeed Buhera West MP Eric Matinenga, who has indicated that he will quit active politics at the end of his term.
“Others now want to reap where they did not sow. You were not there during the difficult times,” Tsvangirai said.
“MDC is here because of two movements, the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) and the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) and things were tough,” said Tsvangirai.
Tsvangirai also deplored violence during and after elections.
“Politics is not about beating up people. Why beat your brother, your sister or any relative?
“Chief Makumbe, I want you to declare in your area that there should be no violence because if a chief says there should be no violence, then there is no violence.”
Meanwhile, Matinenga, who is also Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs minister, denounced sloganeering during campaigns, saying both MDC-T and Zanu PF slogans incited violence .
“I said there should be no slogans that denounce anyone in Buhera West. If we chant our own (MDC-T) slogan and say ‘bhwaa (crush)’ and trampling someone, then there is no difference between us and Zanu PF.
“These slogans are meant to destroy and not to develop, so we have to graduate from that culture,” he said.
The burial was attended by several MDC-T ministers, Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn leader Simba Makoni and local traditional leaders.