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  • New Constitution-making process - Index of articles

  • Women on the talking points and demands on the constitution
    National Association of Non-Governmental Organisations in Zimbabwe (NANGO)
    May 13, 2010

    The National Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (NANGO) facilitated Civil Society Cluster Consultative Meetings on the ongoing constitutional reform process from 27 to 29 April 2010. The meetings were attended by 712 delegates representative of the various stakeholders within civil society actively participating on the constitutional reform process.

    Talking Points

    Women Groups expressed strong reservations concerning the proposed talking points that the Constitutional Parliamentary Select Committee (COPAC)'s intends to use during the outreach meetings, which have they described as prescriptive and suggestive hence probabilities are high that the output thereof shall not adequately represent the will and intention of the people of Zimbabwe. Further concern was expressed regarding the technical language used in drafting the talking points as this will elude the layman's scope.

    Women Groups are extremely concerned about the existing gaps within the talking points; key issues affecting the rights of women and equality before the law, as well as humanitarian assistance to the most vulnerable persons are not adequately addressed. The delegates observed that COPAC had not consulted key stakeholders, including civil society, hence the resultant gaps that have been identified in the talking points. We therefore call for broader consultations on the talking points before these are finalised by COPAC.

    Key Demands

    Women Groups reiterated that their demands for a minimum of 52% representation in the leadership of political, socio-economic aspects of public life; this can be achieved thorough implement the zebra principle in all key appointments. Women groups demand equality in terms of opportunities, and mainstreaming of gender issues into the constitution making process.

    The operational environment is currently not conductive for the outreach teams to conduct their work. Delegates were gravely concerned that the majority of our people will not be able to freely contribute to the drafting of the new constitution in the existing polarised environment. Women are exposed to great security risk in the constitutional making process such as rape due to the highly polarized environment. There is overwhelming evidence of ongoing systematic harassments and intimidation of women in order to stifle them from contributing during the outreach process hence the mostly men will be leading in making submissions on content of the constitution.

    The National Association of Non Governmental Organisations (NANGO) calls upon the inclusive government to immediately attend to the legislative agenda to ensure that a conducive environment, with security of women being observed as paramount, and should be guaranteed for this critical national process; Selective application of the law through application of restrictive legislation such as the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) and Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) need to be urgently attended to in order to ensure that all citizens are able to participate in this national process It is therefore imperative to address the issues of concern regarding the talking points and the operational environment before embarking on the outreach phase.

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