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Political meddling with constitutional outreach process
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.
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.
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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