Copac completes review of 18 chapters

The review of 18 chapters of the proposed new draft Constitution by the Constitution Select Committee of Parliament (Copac) is nearly complete.

Members of the Select Committee have been reviewing the proposals from the drafters to ensure that they are in line with the instructions for drafting that were given, based on the views of the people that came from outreach.

The new draft will be adopted once the Committee is satisfied that the proposals have been done according to its instructions.

The proposals adopted by the Select Committee will form the draft new Constitution. Once this document is in place, it will be translated into vernacular languages and into Braille. It will be widely publicised to give all Zimbabweans an opportunity to familiarise with its contents before it is taken to the Second All Stakeholders’ Conference.

As this is a people-driven process, the purpose of the conference is to give Zimbabweans, through their representatives, an opportunity to comment on the draft before it is finalised and taken to Parliament for debate and referendum thereafter.

The people’s views collected during outreach formed the basis for the discussions around the proposed new draft. These views were collected during outreach are contained in the national report which is still under construction as it is about the whole process.

It is from this report that two important draft foundational documents, one of constitutional issues and the other of constitutional principles were derived.

In crafting the proposed draft, the drafters used these two important documents as well as the gap-filling document produced by the Select Committee with the assistance of its Technical Committee. This process therefore guarantees that the people’s views will be contained in the new draft.

Meanwhile, Copac has released the list of constitutional principles guiding the Constitution-making process. These principles form the foundation of the proposed new draft.

The following are the constitutional principles guiding the Constitution-making process:

1. Supremacy of the Constitution

2. Recognition of Zimbabwe’s liberation, democracy, sovereignty of the State and its people

3. Recognition of the principle of separation of powers

4. Recognition of land and natural resources as belonging to all Zimbabweans

5. The Constitution should contain mechanisms of redressing colonial imbalances in the distribution of natural resources including land

6. The new Constitution must ensure the maintenance of unity, in diversity, peace, stability, security and prosperity for all the people of Zimbabwe

7. Recognition of the rule of law, good governance and democracy

8. Recognition that power to rule and govern must be derived from the authority of the people

9. The recognition of fundamental human rights

10. All organs of the State to respect, protect, promote and fulfil the rights and freedoms spelt out in the Bill of Rights

11. Recognition of the principle of decentralisation

12. Recognition of the principle of devolution of power

13. Recognition of gender equality and gender mainstreaming in all spheres of governance

14. The recognition of the rights of children, the youth, the disabled, women, workers and vulnerable groups

15. The recognition of universal adult suffrage

16. The recognition of the importance of an electoral system that guarantees regular, free and fair and effective elections that ensure adequate representation of the electorate

17. Recognition of the importance of Bill of Rights by entrenching it in the Constitution and justiciability

18. Recognition of the principle of checks and balances among the levels of government and the Arms of the State

19. Recognition of the need for equitable resource sharing mechanisms

20. Recognition of the rights of racial, ethnic, cultural, linguistic, religious and political minorities

21. That the management of public finances should be informed by transparency, responsiveness, accountability, responsibility, integrity and equity

22. All Arms of State to uphold the principles of and good governance

23. Recognition of the principle of Constitutional transition and orderly transfer of power

24. All Arms of State must uphold the Constitution, respect human rights, be non-partisan and professional

25. The Constitution must recognise the diversity of languages, customary practices and traditions and must seek to protect and promote these

26. The institution, status and role of traditional leadership, according to indigenous law, shall be spelt out and recognised in the Constitution

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