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  • New Constitution-making process - Index of articles

  • Political meddling with constitutional outreach process
    The Law Society of Zimbabwe
    June 24, 2010

    While The Law society of Zimbabwe recognizes that the start up of the constitutional outreach exercise is a great milestone in the democratic transition in Zimbabwe would like to express its deepest concern over media reports to the effect that some political parties are "coaching" people on what should or should not be in the Constitution. This "coaching" can only be construed to be in a bid to protect partisan political interests over national interests. It has further been reported that some people have been told not to participate in this constitutional reform exercise or would face victimization. These developments are worrisome as they clearly infringe on the right to freedom of expression.

    The situation is made worse by the fact that a number of Civic Society members who were initially part of the outreach programme were dropped out leaving the whole process in the hands of political and partisan hands. Given that scenario it is difficult to see how the process can be deemed to be democratic and inclusive.

    The Law Society believes that free citizen participation is crucial in this Constitutional exercise and all people should be given an opportunity to exercise their right to participate in governance issues freely. The need for the country to come up with a new constitution which is democratic and reflective of people's need and aspirations cannot be overemphasized and such can only achieved through a transparent and people driven process. "Coaching" people stifles the free participation thereby negating the principles of inclusivity and openness. Therefore to this end the LSZ calls upon all political parties to desist from making political interferences, undue influence and or duress upon the people of Zimbabwe despite the fact that such people may be affiliated to their political parties.

    LSZ further calls upon the Law enforcement agents to ensure that people are protected from violence and intimidation to enable them to fully participate in the outreach process.

    The LSZ remains committed in supporting the call for a new Constitution and thus urge all people of Zimbabwe to turn in their numbers and effectively engage the COPAC outreach teams without fear.

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