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  • New Constitution-making process - Index of articles

  • Zimbabweans in South Africa urged to contribute to the making of their constitution
    Gift Kavunu
    September 02, 2010

    The main Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) led by the Zimbabwean Prime Minister Honourable Morgan Richard Tsvangirai embarked on a consultation process in South Africa. More than 500 branch members met in Rose bank at the Zoo Lake in Johannesburg coordinated by a three member team led by the District Information and Publicity Secretary Mr.Bongani Mathe.

    It's believed that more than five-six million Zimbabweans are scattered all over the world out of a population of thirteen million due to economic and political challenges confronting Zimbabwe. South Africa is believed to be accommodating more than 2.5 million (in a population officially estimated at 3.9 million in total), of which 86% are believed to be non-legal.

    Addressing delegates at Zoo Lake Mr.Remember Moyo asked all delegates to observe a minute of silence in honour of the late Hon. Gibson Sibanda, a founder member of the Movement for Democratic Change and its Deputy President who passed away after a long illness in Zimbabwe. Remember said the drafting of a people-driven constitution was part of the MDC roadmap. "As a result it is vital for each and every one of us to take part in this process as a people driven-constitution will bring immense benefits to the entire country and the people of Zimbabwe. Most of you in South Africa tend to forget about your country, lets all stand up and be counted" he said

    This process was introduced and rolled out into motion in June of this year back in Zimbabwe, a crucial parliamentary select committee was appointed to spearhead the exercise expected to lead to a fresh elections after 18 months. The move will mark a major step in the implementation of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) which led to the current inclusive government.

    Soneni Moyo the MDC women's wing chairlady encouraged women to fully participate in the process as this would be an advantage to women in a male dominated leadership in Zimbabwe and abroad. "We are celebrating our month as women, lets all stand up and take control, our nation is not complete without women, we are the majority in our country and the world, lets unite and solve our nation's problems through a people driven constitution." she said

    Civil society groups in South Africa and Zimbabwe, particularly the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) have warned they would oppose a constitution reform process driven by self interested political partiers, saying it wants a "people-driven process"

    Lloyd, a Zimbabwean born academic based in Britain opposed the NCA concept of a people driven constitution saying, "The concept of a people driven constitution must be taken in the context of elected representatives doing what they were elected to do. That is rewriting a new constitution as they were directed by the people of Zimbabwe. The words 'a people driven constitution' are merely high sounding words that do not have a bearing on the reality on the ground." There is no such thing as a people writing their own constitution. It is merely not practical. Let alone feasible. These words are meant to make the person who says them sound good at the expense of a gullible electorate." he said

    Speaking to study groups Mr Remember Moyo the Johannesburg District chairperson said, "All members have a task to mobilise more Zimbabweans to participate in the constitution making process, he further encouraged the Rose bank branch leadership for the good work they had done in coordinating their branch members." He urged other branch leaders from different places present to encourage their branch members to participate in their big numbers as the constitution team embarks on a country wide consultation process to gather people's views.

    This process comes after the Constitution Select Committee (COPAC) in Zimbabwe failed to gather the views of people based outside the country due to financial constraints. Johannesburg District took it upon themselves to involve millions of Zimbabweans based in South Africa in contributing towards a New constitution, it was encouraging to note that people from Rose Bank branch where burning to have their views heard.

    The Rose bank Branch chairperson Mr Khuthula Msimanga said, "We are not going to wait for COPAC to gather our views, we will do it own our own, we are not going to bother ourselves trying to contribute through a biased website, we will send our own delegates to represent us in Zimbabwe." He said

    Bongani Mathe spearheaded the consultation process during the day by splitting delegates into fifteen manageable groups, and encouraged them to discuss different topics as follows: Preamble, Bill of Rights, Religion, Gender, Citizenship, Judiciary, Media, War Veterans, The Executive, Systerms of Government, Women and Gender Issues, Legislature, Youth and Land, after all deliberations the groups met and submitted their contributions through their group leaders.

    The Johannesburg structure for the Movement for Democratic Change has embarked on the consultation process which is in line with their leadership in Zimbabwe. They are currently busy encouraging their members to participate in the constitution making process through their "Real Change" rallies across the country.

    Also present at the meeting was the Youth Chairperson Giyani Dube and his Deputy Isabel Mkhosi.They took turns in encouraging young people to take full part in the constitution making process as they are the majority affected when their parents leave the country. "We are no longer going to seat and watch while our country is being torn apart by war mongers and vultures who claim to be our liberators. We are labelled born frees today in a country where if I stand up and ask for quality education I'm labelled a threat to the state, in a country where they is no freedom of association and expression, this constitution must be inclusive, as young people we advocate for free education to anyone below the age of thirty-five." said Giyani

    Addressing party supporters in Zimbabwe Nelson Chamisa said, "The constitution select committee (COPAC)'s handling of information dissemination and the state media's treatment of the constitution making process were a cause for concern." We are not happy with COPAC's information dissemination and the public media's blackout of this important process." Said Chamisa.

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