The key objective of the whole exercise was to come up with a people-driven constitution that is representative of both the majority and minority groups in our society. For the constitution to be truly people-driven it cannot be drafted by just the three parties or principals in the inclusive government but it must involve the total participation of all citizens.
It should be noted that the population of the country comprises people of varied personalities and backgrounds. Leaders govern all the people and those whose views are not considered are disadvantaged. The constitution must not favour particular political parties, social classes or leaders while ignoring others. When Copac conducted their data gathering exercise, they collected information from people of different backgrounds and their rights should be covered by the constitution to ensure good governance.
During the Copac outreach programmes, many cases of violence and disruptions were reported. In some cases, invitations for outreach meetings failed to reach some parts of the country. This implies that some groups were induced through clandestine political machinations to state what the then ruling Zanu PF party wanted to be included in the constitution.
In a ZBC TV broadcast of the January 3 2011, Zvavanhu, the panelists castigated Copac for not doing justice to the population because what Zanu PF wanted was not what was contributed by the general public. Zanu PF is using its undemocratic monopoly of the media to brainwash citizens and create chaos in the constitution-making process.
We expect the constitution to embrace all that the people contributed regardless of their social orientation in terms of sex, language or marital status. The constitution must not discriminate against any groups in the society basing on their sexual behaviour, language, origin.
The constitution must also conform with international standards of human rights because Zimbabwe is part of the global village. Zvavanhu presenters castigated Copac for making reference to other countries as if there is anything wrong with that. Most of the people who contributed to the programme were not well-informed about what a constitution really entails.
Without a people driven constitution, it will be impossible to conduct free and fair elections just as it will be difficult to govern people under a constitution they do not subscribe to. Zvavanhu presenters must respect the population’s interests and must not think for the people.
Regnald Gumbo Jewu, Charandura.