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  • New Constitution-making process - Index of articles

  • Constitutional update 08 July 2010
    Bulawayo Agenda
    July 08, 2010


    Reports coming in from Chirimanzu district in Gweru province yesterday said that all the meetings went well with a number of issues coming out of the meetings. Participants called for a unitary system of governance while a few suggested that the country use the system of devolution of power although it was not very prominent in the area. The participants added that the electoral system should use a hybrid system that would include the first past the post system and proportional representation. They also said that the country should have an executive president while some of the members of the community however called for the inclusion of a prime minister.

    Members of the public in Nkabane (Ward 4) have been complaining that the COPAC outreach teams have not been coming to convene meetings at the appointed times. People are generally unsure about the dates on which meetings are supposed to take place. They say that information usually comes at the last minute with only a day's notice. The same sentiments are being echoed by Gweru urban residents who feel that meetings are not being advertised at all. Walking in the Central Business District, one does not even have an idea that a constitution making process is underway as there are no posters and there is no one going around with hailers advertising consultative meetings. Residents of Madwaleni (Lower Gweru) have also complained that outreach teams are not explaining technical terms for them to adequately understand such as the systems of government and that has made it difficult for them to add value to the process. On being told that they do not understand, members of the outreach teams say they are not allowed to explain the teams.


    War Veterans in Mutare are said to be intimidating community members by threatening to continue with farm, company, and timber estate seizures if people do not advocate for the Kariba Draft in the outreach process. People were told to protect the gains of independence by airing out those views which are in support of the liberation struggle. Community members from Chikanga area however, said that the constitution must guarantee that resources benefit local people. They also said that the bill of rights must be enshrined in the new constitution so that education, health and shelter are guaranteed. Among other prime issues was the devolution of power to local authorities so that the local people can benefit from the Chiadzwa diamonds. They also said that the military must not interfere with elections and the citizens during elections. In most meetings in this province, it was noted that there were more female than male participants.

    Mashonaland West

    Reports coming in from Makonde District state that most of the communities have been calling for the constitution that was in the country before the formation of the government of national unity. Sources in the province said that the response from the communities to all the questions in the questionnaire was that they want what was there before the GNU. Some of the issues raised in the district were that there was a need for a transitional period of three months after presidential elections. They also said that the country should change the official language from English to indigenous languages with many calling for the national language to be Shona. In Zvimba the community called for the inclusion of the devolution of power, a theme that is increasingly gaining popularity in the area. They also said that there should be a hybrid electoral system that will have both proportional representation and first past the post system.

    Matabeleland North

    The outreach teams are headed to Victoria Falls today and will wrap up tomorrow. In sereval meetings held in Hwange in the past days, devolution of power was top among other issues that were raised by the people in Matabeleland North. The province is well known for its richness in wild animals and timbre which have not benefitted local people hence their desire for the decentralisation of power so that they are able to make suitable decisions about their resources.People were able to express themselves without much intimidation in most areas this week when the outreach process was carried being out.

    Matabeleland South

    There was drama in one of the constitutional meetings held at the Gwanda Municipal Hall when one of the team leaders and a local Member of Parliament is reported to have started insulting participants in the outreach meeting. Reports coming in from the province state that the local MP is alleged to have said that the participants were hostile towards her calling for the present members of the police force to protect her. In some instances she is also reported to have started threatening participants with expulsion from the meeting. Meanwhile, community members complained that the meetings have been sabotaged by the District Administrator's office after their continued failure to inform the communities of the dates of arrival of the COPAC teams on time. According to Gwanda residents, in some instances members of COPAC have found ten or less people in some areas prompting them to cancel the meetings. Communities in Vumba area have also sent a petition to the provincial administrator over the failure to notify them of meetings on time. In a meeting held in Dwala Farm one of the political parties is reported to have bussed in people from Gwanda central. The participants are said to have called for the inclusion of life presidency and most of the conditions in the current Lancaster House constitution.

    Constitutional meetings held in Matabeleland South yesterday called for the inclusion of the devolution of power. The residents also said that there is need for the ministry of finance to engage all communities when setting the budget for the country adding that this will see their areas also benefitting from the national cake. They said that traditional leaders should be given the power to carry out trials in their respective areas adding that they should also set the penalties in all the cases. Other residents however were against giving traditional leaders lot of power adding that this took away the right of a person to be tried represented by a lawyer.

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