By Wilfred Kushure
According to Zimbabwe’s draft constitution, women will have an equal representation with men in all Government institutions on a 50-50 percent basis if the draft passes into being the Zimbabwean Constitution, which is going to be very soon now.
The constitution making process is said to have been consultative and all inclusive. This assertion puts responsibility for the process and the draft’s adoption on every current adult Zimbabwean’s door.
Without courting controversy at the wrong time, I wish to pass a rare comment from a Jowani Masowe Church’s stand point with regards the two issues of;
1. The Death Penalty
2. Women’s Rights
According to the Draft Constitution, the death penalty is still allowed but now it exempts women, the young and the elderly. This is very sad and a very problematic part of this document. The proponents of this document are zealously preaching that everyone who matters was consulted and the draft is what came from the Zimbabwean people’s will.
I seriously doubt the truth in that assertion.
The execution of a fellow citizen culturally is un-Zimbabwean. This is seriously not reflective of us as a Zimbabwean culture. This is VERY WRONG! We as a Church do not stand for man killing man or a Government killing its people in whatever circumstances and by whatever means.
We are not party to this ‘consensus’ and wherever the document will go, let it be known that we of Jowani Masowe weChishanu are not party to the document that specifies a law that provides for the killing of fellow humans.
Many people in their individual capacities have voiced their disagreement. Oranisations have summarised this as “ultimate denial of human rights,and goes against the human rights laws Zimbabwe is a party too’’.
If the document goes through its various stages and up to referendum then we as a people are in trouble of having been part to okaying human killing on our soil. Whoever will vote and by merely ticking on ‘’YES’’ one is advocating for the killing of fellow humans in a country which is so widely regarded as Christian.
The Yes vote will tie the ‘’Yes’’ voter to the blood of whoever will be executed thereafter until one day if that provision is scrapped off our Zimbabwean body of Laws. We as a Church do not wish to be part to that. We will not soil our hands with men’s blood by participating in passing a Law to execute man.
We oppose the death penalty in the strongest terms possible terms, regardless of the nature of the offense, the nature of the offender, or the method used to kill the offender. We are a God fearing religion, we believe in forgiveness, we believe only God has the power, position and right to end a life.
We also believe every human being has the capacity to change if given the space and framework within which to change. Not every person we say is wrong/guilty, is actually wrong/guilty. There is also a lot of truth in that there are more guilty people outside our prisons than inside them.
We wish that this clause be made very clear to the Zimbabwean people during the referendum campaigns so that people clearly appreciate what they are voting ‘Yes’ to especially with regards to this part of the constitution.
3. Women’s rights
According to Chapter 2, Section 17 on Gender Balance of the draft Constitution, the State must promote full gender balance in Zimbabwean society.
In Jowani Masowe weChishanu, We have more women prophets than men. We have more women singers (Vaimbi) than men. We have more women counselors than men and above all we have more women members than men.
We do not vote for them to be prophets, singers, counselors or teachers, they are in these capacities by the Grace of God and we accept our women’s excellency in these respects.
However, we do not have equal status with our sisters, mothers and spouses. Our Church doctrine teaches us that our wives, mothers and sisters occupy a subordinate position to us men. Women have their areas especially in the home where they are more equal than men and on that we give them all the support.
The God we believe in and we worship teaches us that women must look up to their husbands and can only meet with the glow of the Heavenly Blessings of our God through submitting to the authority of their husbands or men in their homes and at the church.
That is the Church doctrine and to that we are subjects and no other law can supersede God’s law.
We would wish that this Constitutional provision about Gender Balance be made very clear to the general populace. We are very sure that well taught and disciplined members of the Jowani Masowe Church would never choose to be party to what opposes their God.
There is nothing the church can do once the majority votes in favour of this provision but at least as individual members and as a church we will be left with a clear conscience that the document that eventually comes out with clauses against our God’s directions is not ours, but theirs.
John the Baptist was executed for teaching against Herod. Jesus was executed for directing God’s people to just God’s authority and no other authority. Daniel, Misheck etc were terrorised for choosing God above men. It is therefore not unusual to be at this crossroads with the majority and the authorities.
It is a case of the earthly versus the Heavenly in which case the earthly has had a history of always coming out tops but every time with very disastrous eventualities.
Because it is in man’s nature to want to please man but it is in every God believing man’s nature to always want to please God even against all odds. We remain in the great hope that like in the beginning, our God will be the Victor and that right will prevail over wrong.
Wilfred Kushure is a member of the Jowani Masowe weChishanu