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  • New Constitution-making process - Index of articles

  • Constitution bulletin day 19 and 20
    Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights)
    July 12, 2010

    The areas in Mashonaland West and Masvingo over the weekend recorded some of the lowest levels of participation in the constitution public consultations so far.

    Muringagomo Business Centre in Mashonaland West had crowd as low as 67 people and Gwitima in the Chivi district had a similar low turnout.

    This has been attributed to tense environment caused by threats of violence against people in rural areas who participate with views contrary to those prescribed by their parties. Consequently, apathy is rampant in these communities as their views are censored. In Mashonaland West, youth are not participating as much as they would have been expected to. This has also been noted in Zvimba, Makonde and Murevanani.

    Despite the low turnout of people, especially youths at Murindagomo Business Centre, most of the views gathered were from the few who were bold enough to participate. Citing that the English language has become too dominant, people have called for the inclusion of local language at all educational levels, while many have rejected the right to non-discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation. People added that the office of the president and that of the Prime Minister, which are recognized in the government of National Unity, should be carried over into the new constitution as this helps in limiting presidential powers.

    Meanwhile, in Mwenezi, only a few selected individuals made prescribed contributions. Two individuals were stopped from participating at the Murindagomo Business Centre meeting when the outreach members recognized them form the previous meeting they had facilitated at Marevanani Primary School, where they were also dominating. Deployment of political party representatives to different areas to popularize a party's view is becoming common.

    Lack of communication to all the people in communities has been cited as another reason why he turnout in Masvingo was low. Gwitima residents had to be mobilized by the outreach team through a loud speaker because the people were not aware of the meeting due to continuous changes in dates and time. Also, the outreach team had also not carried out research on activities in the area prior to the meeting.

    ZimRights calls for the COPAC outreach teams to continue looking out for the selected party individuals and stop them from participating. The team must also carry out researches on the activities taking place in various communities so as not to clash and compete for people. Every Zimbabwean must realize that the process is not for the benefit of individual parties, but for every Zimbabwean, in spite of differences.

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