The preamble to the Constitution of Zimbabwe clearly states that the people of Zimbabwe are ‘’united in our diversity by our common desire for freedom, justice and equality, and our heroic resistance to colonialism, racism and all forms of domination and oppression. ’’ It is, therefore, incumbent on all stakeholders, particularly the government, to ensure that all Zimbabweans are fully acquainted with the terms and conditions of the Constitution that became operational in May, 2013. The Constitution of Zimbabwe is indeed, a historic and sacrosanct document which all citizens of the country should be thoroughly familiar with.
It is not an over-statement to declare that the Zimbabwean Constitution contains very far-reaching and all-embracing provisions; particularly relating to Chapter 4 that outlines the Declaration of Rights.
The MDC notes, with extreme disappointment, that the Zanu PF government is deliberately avoiding taking the relevant steps that will enable all citizens of the country to familiarise themselves with the content of the Constitution. We suspect that the Zanu PF regime harbours a very sinister motive of trying to make sure that the majority of the citizens are not made aware of their constitutional rights as detailed in their country’s Constitution.
This is not at all surprising because all dictatorial regimes the world over are very fearful of a population that is highly conscientised about its fundamental rights and liberties. Put alternatively, all dictatorial regimes, such as the Zanu PF regime, thrive and subsist on the ignorance and suppression of the majority of the people. Dictators generally and routinely hate and despise human rights.
Section 7 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe provides for the promotion of public awareness of the Constitution. In fact, the State is obliged to promote public awareness of the Constitution, in particular by:
- Translating it into all officially recognized languages and disseminating it as widely as possible;
- Requiring the Constitution to be taught in schools and as part of the curricula for training of members of the security services, the Civil Service and members and employees of public institutions; and
- Encouraging all persons and organisations, including civic organisations, to disseminate awareness and knowledge of the Constitution throughout society
Almost three (3) years after the adoption of the new Constitution of Zimbabwe, the supreme law of the country is yet to be translated into the sixteen (16) official languages of the country,which are: Chewa, Chibarwe, English, Kalanga, Koisan, Nambya, Ndau, Ndebele, Shangani, Shona, sign language, Sotho, Tonga, Tswana, Venda and Xhosa.
What is very surprising is that the Zanu PF regime always makes it a priority to purchase expensive motor vehicles for its Cabinet ministers and other government bureaucrats but the translation of the Constitution into the sixteen (16) official languages of the country has never been considered a priority. Little wonder, therefore, that the majority of Zimbabweans, both within the country and in the Diaspora, are not at all aware of the contents of their own national Constitution. This is, indeed, a huge embarrassment to us as an independent and sovereign nation.
It is very difficult to inculcate the spirit of patriotism, oneness and nationhood within our people if the majority of Zimbabweans remain ignorant of the provisions of their own Constitution.
The MDC sincerely hopes and trusts that the new curricula that is being talked about by the Ministry of Education would prioritise the teaching of our Constitution from the early childhood learning stage going up. Citizens of many other countries in the world are very much aware of the contents of their national constitutions and this has tremendously helped these countries in fostering national cohesion and solidarity.
It doesn’t require a lot of money to translate the Constitution of Zimbabwe into the sixteen (16) official languages and also to ensure that both hard and soft copies of the national Constitution are widely distributed amongst the people.
The Zanu PF regime spent no less than US$60 million in 2015 buying sports utility vehicles and Mercedes Benz limousines for Cabinet ministers, their deputies and other top government and security services officials. Only a very tiny fraction of this amount would have sufficed to undertake the extremely important task of translating the Constitution into the various official languages.MDC : Equal Opportunities for All Add a comment