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This article participates on the following special index pages:
New Constitution-making process - Index of articles
on the Constitution-making process in Chivhi
Resources Foundation (LRF)
August 23, 2010
The Legal Resources Foundation
is undertaking an exercise whereby it is observing the Constitution
making process, especially in those areas where it has carried out
legal education programmes about the Constitution. Hereunder are
observations, initially from one area:
Venue: Nyamakwe Business
Participants: An average
of 75 people, 33 women and 42 men attended the meeting.
The process: According
to the report, the COPAC team exhibited a good attitude and people
were encouraged to freely express their views.
Bill of rights
- people clearly indicated that the rights of people had to be protected
and that the Lancaster House Constitution, with its 19 amendments,
has not been able to do that. The rights that people wanted protected
are right to life, freedom of expression, freedom of association
and political rights particularly the right to vote for a candidate
of one's choice without being victimized. Social and economic rights,
such as the right to education, health, shelter and food, were highlighted.
All participants were for the retention of the death penalty. They
indicated that many people had been killed during election periods
and the perpetrators of such offences were not arrested. It was
however disappointing to note that in discussions on women's rights
women did not participate in numbers and failed to expound their
Land - Diverse
views were given regards land. Some said that land was the inheritance
that would be left for posterity whilst others added that land had
not been distributed in an equitable manner and that the land reform
programme should be re-visited, so that land would be redistributed
equitably. Others suggested that land was to be given to those who
can farm and produce for the nation and not to everyone.
- Only 4 people wanted dual citizenship while the rest indicated
that one could only be a citizen of one country.
Legislative and Judicial powers - One man who was reading from a
paper indicated that he wanted two presidential terms, but that
provision would not apply retrospectively and that he did not want
a Prime Minister. He went further to say that the Executive President,
since he was the CEO, should be allowed to appoint the legislature
and judges. This man was supported by two women and two other men.
The rest of the group indicated that they wanted a presidential
term limited to two terms. Another man, who was also reading from
a paper, said that the judiciary was to be appointed by an independent
leaders -The general view was that these should be retained but
people indicated that they lacked political neutrality, thus there
was need to supervise them.
Public Protector and Audit controller - Only one person indicated
that the Attorney General should be a government lawyer and prosecutor
whilst most people were against this. However, they could not respond
meaningfully to the issue of the Public Protector and Audit Controller.
Systems of government
- Women were not able to respond to these, whilst a few men managed
to support why they wanted a particular system. The general view
was that they wanted a hybrid system as far as electoral systems
are concerned. Furthermore they wanted power to be devolved .Very
few participants had an opinion on the Gender and Education Commission.
The few people who meaningfully responded to this question indicated
that they wanted such commissioners to be appointed by Parliament
and not the Executive President. The people were able to engage
confidently with the team on those areas that LRF had covered in
its outreach work but with those areas that were not covered, such
as systems of government and electoral systems, they responded less
effectively, presumably due to lack of information. It was also
sad to note that some people were reading from papers, thereby seemingly
expressing other people's views.
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