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This article participates on the following special index pages:

  • New Constitution-making process - Index of articles


  • Constitution Talking Points part 2 – Constitution Watch 5/2010
    Veritas
    April 23, 2010

    View part 1 of this page

    These 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 Meeting 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. The Preamble and Themes 1 to 7 were set out in Part I in Constitution Watch 4/2010.

    Theme 8: Media

    Talking Points/Key Questions

    a) Should the constitution guarantee media freedom?

    b) What limitations, if any, should be imposed on media freedom?

    Theme 9: War Veterans

    Talking Points/Key Questions

    a) Should there be a war veteran’s commission? If so, what should its composition, powers, functions, tenure and funding be?

    b) Should there be a law to deal with specific issues relating to war veterans from time to time?

    Theme 10: Land, Natural Resources and Empowerment

    Talking Points/Key Questions

    a) Should the constitution highlight that land reform is a necessary process to correct historical imbalances?

    b) On property rights, is there need to make special provision on land and natural resources in the constitution?

    c) What type of land tenure system should Zimbabwe have?

    d) Should the right to land ownership and/or occupation by previously disadvantaged people be entrenched in the constitution?

    e) Should compensation be paid when the State expropriates and/or acquires land?

    f) Who should pay compensation in respect of acquired land?

    g) Should there be a right to approach the courts in the event of land dispute?

    h) Should traditional leaders have a role to play in land administration?

    i) Who should own the land?

    j) Should foreigners be allowed to own land and if so, under what circumstances?

    k) Do we need a land commission and/or land court? If yes, what should be its powers and functions?

    l) How should marginalised groups be empowered with regards to land and natural resources?

    m) What role should traditional leaders play in the administration of land and management and exploitation of natural resources under their jurisdiction?

    Theme 11: Labour

    Talking Points/Key Questions

    a) What exact labour rights should be included in the constitution?

    b) Should the constitution recognize the right to strike without exception? If yes, how do you deal with the issue of essential services?

    c) How should the constitution promote and protect women workers’ rights?

    d) Should the constitution recognize and incorporate international treaties, conventions, protocols and practices relating to labour?

    Theme 12: Elections, Transitional Mechanisms and Independent Commissions: [This is divided into two sections]

    Elections and Transitional Mechanisms

    An election is an opportunity for people to choose their leaders. There are a number of electoral systems obtaining the world over the most popular of which are the first past the post system, the proportional representation system and the hybrid system comprising the two.

    First Past the Post System: This is where the person with the highest number of votes becomes the elected representative of the electorate.

    Proportional Representation: This is a system by which the elected people are determined by the proportion of votes obtained by each party.

    Hybrid System: This is where some of the representatives are elected on the basis of the first past the post system and others on the basis of proportional representation.

    Talking Points/Key Questions

    a) What type of electoral system should Zimbabwe have?

    • First past the post?
    • Proportional representation?
    • Hybrid?
    • How often should we have elections for:
    • Head of State?
    • Head of government?
    • Parliament?
    • Local government?

    c) Should we have harmonized elections for the Head of State and/or Head of government, parliament and local government?

    d) Who qualifies to register as a voter and to vote at elections for the Head of State and/or Head of government, parliament and local authorities?

    e) What body should run elections and what should be its powers and functions?

    f) Should Zimbabweans living in the Diaspora be allowed to vote?

    g) Should voter registration be mandatory?

    h) Should the constitution incorporate international treaties, conventions, protocols and practices dealing with free and fair elections?

    i) How should we deal with electoral disputes?

    j) Should there be term limits for elected officials?

    k) In the event of vacancies arising, how should these be filled?

    l) Should a specific time frame be given for the inauguration into office of the President, Prime Minister, Members of Parliament, Cabinet and Councillors?

    m) If there are term limits, should the person whose term has expired run for another post?

    n) If the Head of State and/or Head of government becomes incapacitated, who should run the country before an election is held and how long should it take for such an election to be held?

    o) How long after the referendum should the constitution come into force?

    p) Under what circumstances should a candidate be barred from standing in an election?

    q) Who should assist those unable to vote on their own?

    r) How many Parliamentary constituencies should the country be divided into?

    Independent Commissions: Anti-Corruption/Media/Human Rights/ Public Protector/Electoral: Independent commissions are constitutional watchdogs for monitoring and implementation of their areas of specialty.

    Talking Points/Key Questions

    a) What should be the mandate and functions of the Anti-Corruption/ Media/Human Rights Commissions, Public Protector, Electoral Commission?

    b) What should be their composition?

    c) How and by whom should they be appointed?

    d) What should their qualifications be?

    e) What other executive commissions and organs should we have?

    f) What should be their functions?

    g) How should their members be appointed?

    h) Who should they be accountable to?

    Theme 13: Executive Organs of the State: Public Service, Defence Forces, Police Force, Prison Service and their Commissions: Are bodies through which the state implements laws and policies.

    Talking Points/Key Questions

    a) What is the Public Service/Defence Forces/Police Service/Prison Service?

    b) What is their role and function?

    c) How should members be recruited and/or appointed?

    d) What other executive commissions and organs should we have?

    e) Who should they be accountable to?

    Theme 14: Public Finance: Any funds that accrue to the state: (a) the Consolidated Revenue Fund, (b) Auditing of Public Finances.

    Talking Points/Key Questions [these are divided into four sections]

    Comptroller and Auditor-General

    a) Should the office of the Comptroller and Auditor-General be specifically provided for in the constitution?

    b) Should the office of the Comptroller and Auditor-General be independent?

    c) By whom and how should the Comptroller and Auditor-General be appointed?

    National Budget

    a) Should the constitution ensure and guarantee transparency and accountability in the management of public finances?

    b) How should the constitution provide for the national budgeting process?

    c) Should the National Budget be gender sensitive/responsive and allocate resources in a way that recognizes men and women’s differential needs?

    d) How should we ensure that there is transparency in the utilization of public finances?

    e) How do we ensure that Government procurement is transparent?

    Central Bank

    a) What should be the primary function of the Central Bank?

    b) Should the constitution stipulate the role, functions, duties and obligations of the Central Bank?

    c) How and who should appoint the Governor of the Central Bank?

    d) Should the Central Bank be independent?

    e) Who should play an oversight role over the operations of the Central Bank?

    Government Borrowing

    a) Who should oversee the borrowing and granting of government guarantees?

    b) How exactly should government loan contraction be implemented?

    c) Who should set the limits for government borrowing and granting of guarantees?

    d) Should the constitution provide for the oversight powers of Parliament on government borrowing?

    Theme 15: Traditional Institutions and Customs

    Talking Points/Key Questions

    a) What ought to be the relationship between elected representatives and traditional leaders?

    b) Should traditional leaders have judicial functions?

    c) What constitutional provisions should we have to guarantee the security of tenure, dignity and status of traditional leaders?

    d) Should we have a special commission to manage the day to day affairs, welfare, appointment and removal from office of traditional leaders?

    e) Should the constitution stipulate that all traditional leaders should not be active in politics?

    Theme 16: Religion

    Talking Points/Key Questions

    a) Should the constitution guarantee freedom of religious practice, worship, association, assembly, conscience and expression?

    b) Should the constitution acknowledge the supremacy of God?

    Theme 17: Languages, Arts and Culture

    Talking Points/Key Questions

    a) Which languages spoken in Zimbabwe should be protected, preserved, promoted and developed?

    b) Should the constitution guarantee protection of monuments, cultural practices, sites and localities?

    c) What rights and interests of artists should be acknowledged, protected, preserved, promoted and developed?

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