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This article participates on the following special index pages:

  • New Constitution-making process - Index of articles


  • Bulawayo Agenda activity update
    Bulawayo Agenda

    February 18, 2013

    Four Draft Constitution outreach meetings were held last Friday and Saturday (15-16 February, 2013) in Plumtree town and Madabe village (Plumtree) as well as Lupane centre and Lupane East (Tiki village). These meetings were attended by diverse participants who included councilors, traditional leaders, women and youths. The meetings were largely addressed by Copac co-chairperson Hon. Edward Mkhosi, local leaders and Bulawayo Agenda Executive Director Thabani Nyoni. Below are some highlights from these meetings;

    Plumtree

    Madabe Village - The meeting was attended by community members who included traditional leaders at a community hall last Friday. The following were some of the outcomes of the deliberations:

    • The community members raised concerns on distant registration centers pointing out lack of resources to access these.
    • There were disgruntlements on the selective application of the death penalty as per the draft constitution.
    • Participants called for increased publicization of the draft constitution especially the translated Kalanga version for them to participate in the referendum on an informed basis.
    • Zimbabweans in diaspora should be urged to come home to vote since there are no indications that the Government has either the capacity or political will to facilitate their participation in the elections.

    Plumtree town - The meeting was attended by more than community members comprising of councilors women and youths. The following came out:

    • There are concerns that important issues such as the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission were either deferred or have time limitations in the draft constitution.
    • Devolution of power is too sketchy and does not guarantee community control of resources.
    • The selective application of the death penalty was greatly condemned by both men and women with arguments that the constitution should have recognized the life sentence for all. The participants agreed that the provision should be totally removed from the constitution.
    • There are concerns that the parliament was bloated and therefore expensive to sustain looking at the economic challenges and need to optimize the country's resources.
    • The government should develop policies that will empower the newly recognized languages for these to catch up with the previously recognized languages (Ndebele and Shona) especially in the education sector.

    Lupane

    Tiki village - 38 community members who included a headman and the local councilor attended this meeting held under a tree near Tiki Primary school last Saturday, 16 February. The following are the highlights of the discussions:

    • There is an urgent need for the translated draft constitution to be distributed to the communities to understand it before the referendum.
    • There were concerns that the referendum date is too early as communities would not have enough time to understand the constitution.
    • Participants called for more information materials for them to be abreast with national processes since there is media black-out in their village.
    • The community was urged to be aware of not losing their Identity documents to certain political parties under the disguise of being given food aid as they may risk not voting.

    Lupane Centre - the meeting was attended community leaders who included local councilors. It was characterized by light skirmishes as Lupane police attempted to stop the meeting.

    • Lupane police are terrorizing those who attempt to vote especially the youths with a group of forty having survived a six-hour detention late January. This has raised fear and intimidation within the community.
    • The community expressed hope that the looting of timber and other resources in the area could be addressed through devolution and other provisions which would inform opportunities policy documents.
    • Participants expressed fury on the disrespect of the local languages through deploying teachers, police officers and nurses who do not understand the local language (isiNdebele).
    • The leaders were urged to be monitors of their communities and report any cases of violence or intimidation to the police, CSOs, Copac or their MPs.
    • Participants were informed that starting this week, there shall be Copac follow-up teams to address constituencies on the draft constitution.

    In all these meetings concerns on the short time left before communities participate in the referendum were raised. Like in the previous meetings, there were concerns on the voter registration challenges which included limited registration centres as well as hostile registration officers. To note is also that there were attempts by both Plumtree and Lupane police to block these draft constitution outreach meetings although with no success.

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