Promoting Citizen Participation in Constitutional Discourse in Zimbabwe

The Centre for Applied Legal Research (CALR) partnered the Media Institute of Southern Africa Zimbabwe (MISA) & the Southern African Research and Documentation Centre (SARDC)to facilitate  Provincial Constitutional Dialogue meetings.

The provincial dialogue meetings were held from the 17th to the 21st of May 2021 in Manicaland, Masvingo, Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland West and Mashonaland East.

The constitutional dialogue meetings are intended to enhance and promote citizen participation in constitutional discourse in Zimbabwe. The project is supported by United Nations Development Fund (UNDEF).

Our team discussed the following topics during a week-long series of constitutional dialogue meetings;

  • An overview of the Bill of Rights in the 2013 Constitution of Zimbabwe & the accompanying State obligations to give effect to the constitutional rights
  • The Bill of Rights with particular emphasis on the right to vote as couched in section 67(3)(1) of the Constitution.
  • How Rights should be interpreted giving due regard to the spirit of the Constitution & relevant Customary International Law.
  • Women’s rights issues in Zimbabwe: Political & Public Participation
  • The protection of property rights for corporates versus rights of indigenous communities in Zimbabwe
  • Enforcement of socio-economic rights in the Mashonaland West Province & citizen participation in budgetary processes

Present at the dialogue meetings were members from civil society organizations, media practitioners, community leaders and community members. Participants expressed interest in the programme and that it was crucial for all citizens to be educated about the Constitution for them to be able to enforce their rights.

Topics discussed will go a long way in bridging the constitutional knowledge gap among citizen and enabling them to actively participate in constitutional issues.