UK-based Zimbos have their say

zim_protest_londonLONDON - Zimbabweans in the United Kingdom have signalled their resolve to participate in the process of writing a new constitution for Zimbabwe. (Pictured: Some of the many Zimbabweans who have protested in London against the injustices in their home country)
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At a meeting held in Forest Gate London last weekend, representatives from 15 civic organisations agreed on a strategy of participation in the Constitution making process being rolled out in Zimbabwe in line with article 6 of the Global Political Agreement.

Speaking at the meeting, Gabriel Shumba from the South African based organisation, Zimbabwe Exiles Forum, spoke of the need for the Diaspora to be given the opportunity to participate in the process.

This process must be transparent and inclusive, Zimbabweans in the Diaspora are more than the population of some Zimbabwe regions and should therefore be viewed as either a constituency or a region for the purpose of this constitutional exercise and voting rights he said.

UK taskforce

A taskforce has been chosen to coordinate the constitutional awareness and information gathering process in the UK. Members of the taskforce currently include Zeb Manatse, Leslie Maruziva, Catherine Madziva, Thamsanqa, Zhou, Robert Gonouya, Lloyd Msipa, Linda Binikesi, Lucia Dube, Alex Magaisa and Msekiwa Makwanya. Zeb Manatse chair of the taskforce said the process in the UK is being modelled on the process in Zimbabwe to ensure consistency.

We are engaged in discussions with the co-Chairpersons of the constitution making process to enable us to use the same questionnaires and training resources being used in the Constitutional Commission, he said.

Previously the Zimbabwean Constitutional Commission has said that the Diaspora will be consulted through a website. However, no website has been made available to date leaving Diaspora groups with the challenge to start their own initiative with the blessing of the Commission.

UK wide consultation

The Coalition of Civic Organisations plans to hold regional consultations and has appointed Msekiwa Makwanya of Zimbabwe Diaspora Development Interchange (ZDDI) to coordinate the UK wide roll out in the regions. A constitutional conference is planned at the end of the UK wide consultation, where representatives of the Constitutional Commission will be invited to meet with Zimbabweans in the UK and receive the submissions from the Diaspora on the content of the Constitution.

The UK based Coalition has opened a website for information purposes. Once the questionnaires are made available from Zimbabwe, these will be posted on the website for Zimbabweans in the UK to give their views on the constitution. The website can be accessed on www.zimcc.com.

The UK has the second largest group of Zimbabweans in the Diaspora. Unofficial figures put it at over 200 000 Zimbabweans.

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