Consortium castigates MDC on constitution

constitutionTHE Matabeleland Civil Society Consortium has fired a broadside at the two MDC formations, accusing them of not being aggressive enough and lacking stamina in the current constitution writing exercise. Dumisani Nkomo, the spokesperson of the consortium, said the two parties have not been visible on the ground.

It is quite sad to note that the two MDC formations have not been aggressive enough and have lacked stamina in educating their members on the current constitution writing process. This has shown a lack of serious leadership in their ranks, said Nkomo.

Zanu PF has been vocal and also visible on the ground. They have done a thorough job in educating their members on their position with regards to the constitution. They have come up with a position paper which they have managed to circulate in all districts. Although MDC has a position paper but they have failed to educate their members.

The consortium is also embarking on a series of public awareness campaigns ahead of the much COPAC outreach team visit to Bulawayo over the weekend. The awareness campaigns dubbed Constitutional Outreach Khuluma Mthwakazi Road shows, which kick started on Monday and are set to run until Thursday.

Nkomo said they were embarking on these awareness campaigns to inform the residents of Bulawayo on key issues of the constitution.

As a consortium we are embarking on civic education on the constitution ahead of the visit by the COPAC team over the weekend. We are doing road shows in the western suburbs starting today until Thursday, said Nkomo. As civic society we are being pro-active and we will not wait for the COPAC team. We have observed that most issues that people in other areas are discussing are not even constitutional matters, so we want people to know what to say when the go for the outreach meetings.

The marathon public awareness campaigns are set to cover all the 29 wards of Bulawayo in four days. In the western suburbs, Nkomo said the consortium will embark on road shows and distribution of fliers while in the eastern suburbs they have set up information centres. He also mentioned that on Thursday there will run a workshop for Opinion Leaders, and Civic Society meeting on Friday.

In retrospect, Nkomo said the 2000 flawed Constitution was better organised, as it had a serious media blitz and awareness campaigns something which is lacking in the current process to write a new constitution for Zimbabwe and replace the Lancaster House constitution.

He also pointed out that in the past five years there has been limited space of operating for the civic society largely caused by the clampdown on civic society by the government.

We have been operating in a very limited space and that is why we have been slow in doing civic education on the constitution. Again the other issue is that most of the organisations in the country were suffering from lack of resources to carry out this massive exercise, he said. It is only now that the space has started opening but it was already too late to do a thorough campaign and the COPAC process has seriously lacked the civic education component.

Some of the key issues that the consortium has been coaching people on include the Executive Presidency, Balance of power among the three arms of state, devolution of power, Dual citizenship, and strong independent commissions among others.

The MCSC comprises Habakkuk Trust, Christian Alliance, Bulawayo Agenda, Radio Dialogue, Bulawayo Christian Legal Society, Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association and the Matabeleland Constitutional Reform Agenda.

Post published in: Opinions

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