PIRF-NYIKA SPEAKS OUT ON THE CONSTITUTION
In its bid to promote free expression, public information rights and media freedom, the Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe (MMPZ), held a workshop in Masvingo for the Nyika Public Information Rights Forum (PIRF) members, on June 18 2010, two days after COPAC launched it’s outreach programme. The main thrust of this workshop was to prepare participants for constitutional reform, to encourage public participation in demanding for a people driven constitution and to discuss issues surrounding constitutional and media reforms. It is in the discussions where the Nyika participants raised their concerns about the constitution making process.
WHAT THEY SAID…
· That most of the citizens are unaware of how the constitution making process is going to be conducted, alluding to the failure of COPAC to conduct its activities transparently.
· That some of the communities are infested with militias who are intimidating people on matters regarding the constitution.
· That the people of Nyika have no confidence in the constitution making process
· That, in the constitution, the President’s term of office should not exceed ten years and the age limit should be 40- 75 years.
· That the country should have one Vice President
· That there is need for an independent judiciary
· That election results should be published within 48 hrs after the election.
· That the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) should invite international observers at any election or referendum on the constitution.
· That there should be an independent body that looks into the education system
· That health services should be free of charge
· That the Bill of Rights should guarantee the respect of property rights
· That traditional leaders should be non partisan
· That the sectors of defence, home affairs and state security should be apolitical
· That during elections, citizens should register in the wards where they will cast their votes
· That political violence should be criminalised and that any election in which lives are lost through political violence should be considered as null and void
· That maternity leave should not be limited to three children
· That political events should not disrupt the education and health delivery system.
· That the constitution should guarantee the publishing of newspapers in vernacular languages
· That the constitution should guarantee media plurality.
…and we all wonder what they are going to get?