The Zimbabwe Sentinel-Media Centre

Telling the other story – MEDIA CENTRE



By Natasha Justin

While the judiciary system in Zimbabwe is busy appraising the government for producing copies of the new constitution in local languages, a lot still has to be done in terms of distributing the copies to the citizenry.

High Court Justice Charles Hungwe commended the government for producing and distributing copies of the new constitution in local languages to ensure all citizens were appraised of its contents.

He said adherence to the constitutionalism in a society is higher where that community is aware of the rights and duties set out in the governing Constitution given at any time.

However most people in grass roots areas do not have access to the copies of the new constitution.

It stands to be seen if the constitutional rights will be fully exercised or its mere distribution of information that will be put to no use as a publicity stunt.

Recently Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) produced and launched four simplified fact sheets on the constitutional rights, which include the right to education, the right to healthcare, the right to safe, clean and portable water and the right to freedom from arbitrary eviction.

The simplified fact sheets by ZLHR seeks to increase awareness of key rights provided for in the new Constitution

The rights like access to clean water, health care service and education require input such as money from the government which they are failing to provide.

Zimbabwe Democracy Institute (ZDI) director Dr Pedzisai Runhanya said it is a matter of resources when it comes to social and economic rights with the constitution.

“The State does not have money, thus some of the rights will not be fully implemented,” he said.

However there are other civil individual rights such as privacy, the freedoms of thought and conscience, speech and expression, religion, the press and political rights such as the right to assemble, the right to petition, the right of self-defense and the right to vote that do not require funds.

Dr Ruhanya added that civil and political rights were not costly to the government; they just require vast willingness on the government’s part.

“One doesn’t need money from the government to exercise freedom of expression and freedom of thought,” he said.

Investigations by the reporter revealed that many people with a new constitution are students who either got copies through some school press clubs or they access soft copies on the internet.

“With technology its now easier to access the new constitution by just going on the internet and download a copy for free,” said one Louis Mushowe an Upper 6 student at Prince Edward High School.

The Roman Catholic Church is also going an extra mile in distributing the new constitution copies to its congregants.

“I got my copy of the new constitution at a church conference.

“However I have not found time to read it because there is too much content, I wish there was a simplified version,” said Lisa Chaitezvi a Roman Catholic congregant.

The new constitution can be distributed to people in many different languages in the country but it will take up with the government to honor and respect the rights of people in accordance with the new constitution.


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Chief Editor: Earnest Mudzengi Content Editor: Willie Gwatimba