HARARE West MP, Jessie Majome says Zimbabweans should start demanding their full rights as provided for in the country’s new Constitution, comments which were backed by the country’s main labour group.
Speaking at a panel discussion to mark World Human Rights Day in Harare on Friday, the former justice deputy minister said the country’s new Constitution had an expanded Bill of Rights which citizens were failing to take advantage of.
“The people have tremendous power in terms of the Constitution and I usually say if only they knew the power that they had,” Majome said during a discussion well attended by lawyers and civil society activists.
“It seems as if the people of Zimbabwe do not believe that they have this power. They are waiting to be invited to sit at the table but the table and the whole house is theirs, the meal as well, but they are so polite which is good though. They are waiting to be given their power which they already have,” she said.
Zimbabwe adopted its first ever home grown Constitution in March 2013 following a painstaking process which involved gathering the views of ordinary citizens.
But the supreme law has largely been abandoned with over 400 laws in the country’s statute books yet to be aligned with it.
Apart from the need to follow the new constitution, Majome said, the greater majority of locals were still in the dark about what was contained in the national charter.
“I am really troubled by the paucity of the numbers of people who have actually read the constitution even in places where you would actually expect to find people who would have read it,” said the MDC-T MP.
“We don’t know what is in this document.”
Majome called on the strengthening of state institutions in efforts to ensure provisions of the constitutions were followed in totality.
She was part of COPAC, an inter-party group which was mandated to lead the writing of the national constitution.
Speaking during the same occasion, Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions secretary general, Japhet Moyo, also weighed in, saying the workers’ group has often been targeted by the state for demanding members’ rights.
“We believe that we are not going to be given those rights on a silver platter,” Moyo said.
“That is the reason why as labour we are often found on the streets fighting for those rights for us to enjoy because in our view the authorities who are supposed to make sure that we enjoy those rights are just not interested.”
Zimbabweans have often found it difficult to demand accountability from the current regime led by President Robert Mugabe.
Most attempts aimed at that have often been met with brute force by the state, the most memorable being the March abduction and disappearance of pro-good governance activist Itai Dzamara and repeated arrests on MDC-T protestors.-NewZimbabwe.com
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