Stand up for your rights

Published: Monday 30 November -0001

-- "Are you still unemployed? Take charge and complete the change. We the people shall write our own constitution," read the bright posters adorning street walls, lampposts and rubbish bins in Zimbabwe's capital, Harare. The messages are part of a campaign launched by a civil society group National Constitutional Assembly (nca) to oppose the constitution-making process proposed by the coalition government. Zimbabwe currently operates under a constitution inherited from the British-backed colonial government. It has been amended 19 times since 1980.

Civil society has objected to the new constitution-making process and is demanding that an independent commission take charge. "The reason we are rejecting the process is because it is heavy with the influence of parliamentarians.Parliament has closed its doors on effective participation of the citizens and the process is going to produce a predictable outcome," Lovemore Madhuku the nca chairperson told the news agency ips. "They cannot impose a document of their own compromise. We will soon launch street demonstrations," he added.

Civil society groups' outrage comes shortly after Speaker of Zimbabwe's Parliament, Lovemore Moyo, announced the setting up of a 25-member committee to lead the constitution-writing process. Moyo said consultations will be held throughout the country culminating in a referendum in July 2010.

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