After 5 years of meetings, consultations, drafting, negotiations and compromises, Zimbabweans finally got the Draft Constitution passed by parliament on January 31, 2013. The President subsequently declared that on March 16, 2013 Zimbabweans would vote to accept or reject the proposed Supreme Law of the land.
This is the second time since independence that a Constitutional Referendum is put to a vote since the adoption of the Lancaster House Constitution at independence in 1980. In year 2000 the majority voted NO to the then draft- largely as a protest vote against the government of the day. This year around it’s expected that the draft will sail through given the support for a YES vote by the 3 political parties in the Global Political Agreement forming the current government.
The new constitutions ‘…….looks into the future with a resolve to live in a democratic society based on the rule of law, hard work, respect for and enjoyment of the fundamental human rights and freedoms, unity, our natural resources and attain prosperity for all citizens’ (p 7 Abridged version).
The new Constitution therefore; Limits the term of future presidents to a maximum of 2 five year terms, Promotes multi-party political system, Segregation of powers between executive, legislative and judicial arms of government, Devolution and decentralization of government, Special and additional rights, Provides for 3 tiers of government, Recognition of ALL major languages and Forbids dual citizenship, Time will tell what the outcome will be but every Zimbabwean hopes that we could replace the Lancaster House Constitution that has been amended a record 19 times in the past 32 years!
ABDO (Afrikagrupperna partner) participated in the Consitution awareness meeting with the communities in Matabeleland South. The objective was to ensure that the general public understands the contents of the document, ensure that their opinions are catered for and are aware of what they are voting for. ABDO concentrated on validation of Chapter 2, 3 and 4 (which are: National Objectives, Citizenship and Declaration of Rights, repsectively).