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  • New Constitution-making process - Index of articles

  • Taking the Constitutional debate to Jo'burg
    Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition
    August 03, 2010

    South Africa is home to millions of Zimbabweans who fled the country at the height of economic instability, political unrest and social woes. Since the beginning of the mass migrations, these Zimbabweans have been sidelined in most political processes particularly national elections. The country embarked on the outreach phase of the constitution making process on the 23rd of June 2010 yet this far, the Constitution Parliamentary Committee (COPAC) has not engaged 'Diasporans'.

    The COPAC website, which the select committee indicated would provide Zimbabweans abroad an opportunity to input into the constitutional discourse, is still under construction with fears that the site might not see the light of day. While Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) officials said that the Diaspora community would be allowed to participate , ZANU PF has indicated at different forums that as long as targeted 'sanctions' remain, the Diaspora will not participate in any political processes.

    In a bid to engage the Diaspora in the constitutional discourse, The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition held a Diaspora public hearing, attended by 213 people (87 men, 11 women and 115 youths) at the Central Methodist Church in Johannesburg, South Africa on the 30th July 2010. The meeting was addressed by Mr. Jonah Gokova (Crisis Coalition Chairperson and Ecumenical Support Services Director), Ms Tafadzwa Muropa (Women's Coalition) and Sikhatele Nkala (Crisis Coalition Regional Office).

    The panel presented on the following issues;

    • Definition and importance of a constitution
    • The progress of the constitution making process in Zimbabwe and;
    • The importance of the participation of people living abroad (including women) in the constitution making process.

    Issues raised by participants;

    • Political parties should not force citizens to adopt their party positions
    • Civil society organizations should only accept a constitution which reflects the views of citizens
    • There should be protection of villagers in rural communities after they make contributions as they are exposed to victimization.
    • The envisaged constitution should be interim as the outcome will have imperfections. Another constitution should be penned after five years.

    Content issues on the constitution;

    • The constitution should limit powers of political leaders rather than giving them power over citizens
    • There should be one President and one Vice-President selected on the basis of competence rather than on tribal or regional grounds
    • The President should have two term limits of five years watch
    • Dual citizenship should be legalized
    • The constitution should recognize all languages including Tonga and Shangane
    • There should be devolution of powers to local authorities
    • The country should have five provinces only
    • The right to education should be enshrined in the constitution to allow equal access to education by both the rich and poor.
    • Youth empowerment should be included in the constitution.
    • The rights to equal protection of the law, human dignity and life should be included in the bill of rights
    • Minority groups including the Tonga and Namibia should be given the same rights as the Shone and Ndebele
    • Freedom of the press should be guaranteed

    Participants at the meeting were encouraged to submit written contributions to the COPAC offices at 31 Lawson Avenue, Milton Park, Harare. The Coalition will be holding similar meetings in the United Kingdom and Botswana on the 7th and 23rd of August 2010 respectively.

    Visit the Crisis in Zimbabwe fact sheet

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