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Constitution Talking Points part 1 – Constitution Watch 4/2010
April 23, 2010
II of this article
points are the questions or statements to be posed by the Outreach
Teams when they consult the people on what they want for the Constitution.
They were finalised by a team of six lawyers, two from each political
party, working from a list of statements and questions which came
out of the training workshop for Outreach Teams. These talking points
have been agreed by ZANU-PF, MDC-T, MDC-M and Chiefs. There is a
Preamble and 17 thematic areas
A preamble is a preliminary statement that introduces a constitution.
A preamble normally carries the major historical legacies and challenges
of a nation and its values and aspirations.
a) What are the legacies,
values and aspirations that should be carried in the preamble?
b) In dealing with our
historical legacies, should the preamble single out sections of
our society or should it identify our legacies as collective endeavours?
c) Should the constitution
recognize post-independence internal challenges and conflicts?
1: Founding Principles Of The Constitution: Founding principles
are those values that citizens commit themselves to their adherence.
They are the both the soul and the spine of the constitution and
they reflect the manner in which the people desire to be governed.
a) Should the founding
principles recognize the need to address the historical imbalances
in the ownership and utilization of land and natural resources?
b) Should the
founding principles of the constitution recognize the irreversibility
of the process of land reform having regard to the vision of the
liberation struggle and the provisions of the GPA?
c) Should the founding
principles recognize and celebrate the struggle of the first Chimurenga,
second Chimurenga and the struggle for democracy and the rule of
law by Zimbabwean men and women?
d) Should the founding
principles of the constitution acknowledge diversity of religion?
e) Should the constitution
recognize matters like non racialism, good governance, gender equality,
non tribalism, non discrimination, equal treatment before the law,
accountability, adherence to the rule of law, peace and tranquillity?
f) Should the constitution
be the supreme law of Zimbabwe?
g) Should the founding
principles of the constitution recognize our cultural diversity,
traditions and customs and their diversity?
h) Should the founding
principles acknowledge the national flag, national anthem and public
i) Should the founding
principles of the constitution recognize our international relations
with other countries?
j) Should the founding
principles of the constitution define by whom and how should hero
status be conferred?
k) Should the founding
principles of the constitution recognize the calling for patriotism
and loyalty to Zimbabwe?
l) Should the founding
principles of the constitution recognize the status of international
treaties, conventions, and protocols and practices in our constitution?
m) Should the founding
principles of the constitution define the land question? If yes,
what principles on land reform should be specified?
n) Should the founding
principles recognize the role and relevance of traditional institutions
and customs in national development?
2: Arms of the State (Principle of the Separation of Powers)
There are three principal
functions of the state, that is, making laws, interpretation of
the laws and implementation of the laws. These are vested in the
legislature, executive and the judiciary respectively.
Points/Key Questions [these are divided into three sections]
Arms of the State
a) Should the principle
of separation of powers be acknowledged in the Constitution?
b) Who should be head
of state? President or Prime Minister?
c) Should the head of
state also be the head of government?
d) How should the head
of state and/or government be chosen?
e) What are the requirements
for one to become head of state and/or head of government?
f) Should there be term
limits for the head of state and/or government?
g) Under what circumstances
should a head of state and/or head of government leave office?
h) Should the constitution
prescribe the maximum number of ministers?
i) Who should act as
head of state and/or government if the incumbent is unable to perform
j) Should ministers be
k) How should ministers
l) How should the Attorney
General be appointed? Should he/she be a member of cabinet in particular?
What should be his/her functions?
m) Should we have an
independent National Prosecuting Authority?
- Houses of Parliament
a) How many houses of
parliament should we have?
b) What should be the
size(s) of the house(s) of parliament?
c) How should members
of parliament be elected or appointed?
d) What role(s) should
the house(s) of parliament play?
e) Should MPs be allowed
to cross the floor with their seats?
f) Should any seats be
reserved for women and/or special interest groups? If so how should
they be selected?
g) Should seats be reserved
for traditional leaders? If so, how many?
h) How long should be
the life of parliament?
i) Under what circumstances
should an MP lose his/her seat?
a) Who should appoint
judges and judicial officers?
b) How many levels of
courts should we have?
c) Do we need a separate
d) What should be the
qualification of judges?
e) What should be the
role of traditional courts?
f) Who should determine
the conditions of service of the judiciary?
g) Who should be the
head of the judiciary? How and by whom should he/she be appointed?
h) Under what circumstances
should a judge be removed from office?
i) How long should be
the tenure of office of judges?
3: Systems of Government: Systems of government refer to
the manner states are organized, that is, the distribution of political
power and responsibility within the state. There are three major
systems of governance in modern states. These are federations, unitary
states and devolved states.
A federal system of governance obtains where two or more pre existing
agree to have one national government.
System: A unitary system is where power is held by a single
central government that controls all the political and administrative
power with some devolution of power throughout the state.
System: Devolution is whereby political and administrative
power is shared between a national government and lower level spheres
of the state, for example, provinces and local authorities.
a) What systems of national
government should Zimbabwe have?
b) What relationships
should exist between central government, provincial government,
local government and traditional leadership?
c) Who should lead provincial
governments and how should they be chosen?
d) How many provinces
should Zimbabwe have? How should they be demarcated and named?
e) If there are provincial
and local governments, how should they be chosen?
f) What should be the
functions of provincial governments?
g) Should all the different
levels of government have a tax sharing system?
h) Should traditional
leaders be part of the national, provincial and local government
4: Citizenship and Bill of Rights
Points/Key Questions [these are divided into two sections]
Citizenship is one’s membership of a country which
a person gets because they were born in that country or their parents
were born in that country, lived in that country or were registered
in that country
a) How should citizenship
b) Should dual/multiple
citizenship be allowed?
c) What are the rights
and obligations of citizens and non-citizens?
d) Should foreign spouses
of citizens be entitled to Zimbabwean citizenship?
Bill of Rights: A Bill
of Rights sets out the rights and freedoms which all people in Zimbabwe
are entitled to.
a) What rights and freedoms
should be contained and guaranteed in the constitution?
b) Should the Bill of
Rights be amendable? If so how should it be amended?
c) What are the remedies
that can be made available to a citizen who is aggrieved by the
violation of their rights?
d) Should the Bill of
Rights contain separate and specific human rights and freedoms that
relate to women in order to eliminate all forms of discrimination
e) Should it be permissible
to suspend or limit rights during a state of emergency?
f) Should the death penalty
g) Should there be derogation
from this Bill of Rights to redress historical imbalances for purposes
h) Should the Bill of
Rights apply to State as well as non State actors?
i) Should a woman be
allowed to marry another woman and a man to marry another man?
j) What are the rights
of children that should be protected in the constitution?
5: Women and Gender Issues
a) Should men and women
be treated equally in the constitution?
b) Should the constitution
contain provisions to ensure, guarantee and enforce gender mainstreaming?
d) Should the constitution
guarantee a quota system for women’s participation in politics
and other decision- making public and private bodies?
e) Should there be a
gender commission? If so how exactly is it to be constituted
a) Who are the youth
in Zimbabwe? From what age to what age?
b) Do we need a national
body or commission for the youth? If so what should its composition,
powers and functions, tenure/lifespan and funding be?
c) Do we need national
youth service? If yes should it be provided for in the constitution?
And for what purpose?
d) What specific rights
of the youth should be guaranteed in the constitution?
7: The Disabled
a) Should the disabled
have the right to state protection?
b) How can the Constitution
guarantee Parliamentary representation for the disabled?
c) How can the constitution
ensure the full participation of disabled persons in all socio-economic
and cultural activities of the communities?
points for the remaining themes are in Part
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