|Editorial Comment: Constitution must reflect people’s aspirations|
|Friday, 21 September 2012 00:00|
Our people spoke during the constitution-making outreach programme and they eagerly await to see if the echoes of their voices would be etched into the draft document that political players have been haggling over.
Despite attempts by some quarters to tamper with the people’s views as captured in the national report, itself a summary of what the majority said they desire in a new constitution, it is pleasing to note that there is now a meeting of minds with parties now agreed on how to move the constitution-making process forward.
We learnt that the Constitution Parliamentary Committee’s Second All-Stakeholders’ Conference will be held next month while a Referendum Amendment Bill is being worked on to support the process since the draft constitution shall be presented to the people in a referendum for possible adoption.
We believe the dialogue that is under way between the political parties represented in the Global Political Agreement is quite healthy and commendable though our feeling is that the process should be expedited.
Constitution-making has missed all its original timelines which is why we believe the process has tried our people’s patience.
However, it would be a happy day for Zimbabwe should its inhabitants finally agree on a constitution and have it adopted at a referendum, even outside the timelines, as long as the document captures our people’s expectations.
It is quite important that as the parties look into the document and prepare for the All-Stakeholders Conference where both the draft and national report shall be tabled, they do not lose sight of the fact that they are merely representatives of the people.
If they abuse that privilege, the people would have every right to reject the resultant outcome regardless of the many hours that chewed the midnight oil as individuals combed through the draft.
A constitution should transcend seasonal political conveniences that may encumber our debate for the supreme law with narrow partisanship that may not be relevant to the Zimbabwean terrain a decade from now.
Constitution making has gobbled millions of dollars and we understand up to US$2 million would be required to hold the Second All-Stakeholders’ Conference hence the need by the parties to reflect on this and ensure that even as the process is expedited the fundamentals are not sacrificed.
The only way to stay in touch with the national pulse that guarantees acceptance of the resultant document is to let the national report guide our walk with the only differences being on semantics.
Fruitful dialogue and respect for the voice of the people should be guiding principles to ensure stakeholders deliver an acceptable constitution to Zimbabweans.
As pointed out earlier, Zimbabweans may not be schooled in the art of drafting a constitution, but they sure know what they want, and they shall not compromise on fundamentals.