Position Paper # 1:Youths and the Constitution making process in Zimbabwe

Preamble


We the youths of Bulawayo who met in Luveve and Lobengula constituencies on the 11th and 18th of July respectively to discuss the drafting of a new constitution for Zimbabwe under the theme CONSTITUTION MAKING PROCESS IN ZIMBABWE: GATHERING YOUTH CONCERNS representing the National Youth Development Trust, the Bulawayo Youth Council and youth in our respective constituencies.
Recognising that the Lancaster House constitution can no longer serve the people of Zimbabwe and its future generations justly, truthfully and transparently,
Rejecting the mysterious and exclusively drafted Kariba constitution as a basis for drafting the new constitution,
Cognisant of the fact that the young people have been greatly affected by the crises in Zimbabwe which can not be resolved through the current constitution;
Acknowledging that the election of the next government should be based upon the dictates of a new and people driven constitution;
Accepting the need to set a new political precedent that respects electoral democracy as an important aspect of political transition;
Deploring the continuous marginalisation of young people in the economic, social and political agenda as shown by their lack of clear representation in the current processes,

Do hereby resolve that:
Years of bad governance, human rights abuse, discrimination, alienation, under development, marginalisation intimidation and political violence cannot silence us, neither can economic, social and political marginalisation stop us from shaping our future and that of our children by fully participating in the current constitution making process as this is the only way to bring about a new and genuine democratic dispensation in our country;
As a way of making our voice heard distinctly and our concerns addressed accordingly in the future, we demand that the new constitution should include the following:
a) The Devolution of powers from central government to provinces to allow us and future generations to:
• Develop our provinces in line with the needs of our people
• Use revenue collected from our provinces to benefit the children and young people of the areas it is collected from first and foremost
• Allow for the recognition of minority groups and languages within the provinces they are situated in through the provision of laws that preserve their way of life and culture.
• Allow for easy access to national documents like IDs, Passports etc

b) The Reduction of Executive powers from the current unlimited number of terms in office to a maximum of two 5 year terms in order to:
• Limit the abuse of Presidential powers and its hold and control of national security forces that at present can be called upon by the president without consulting the cabinet or parliament.
• To allow younger and fresher minds the room and opportunity to serve their country and people

c) Opening of the Media Space to other players so as to:
• Limit propaganda that is currently flooding the populace due to a lack of plurality of media
• Rid the country of the current polarisation in the media that has seen the Public media being used as a propaganda tool by ZANU PF aligned government officials and the Private media being mostly aligned to (former) opposition political party officials.
• Opening up of the media to everyone including opposition political parties and civil society.
• Ensure a better informed and more participative citizenry.

d) Recognition of Minority groups, languages/cultures for the purposes of:
• Nurturing the co-existence and of different groups in our society as well as encouraging celebration of diversity of cultures and people in our society.
• Reflecting our diversity in which the strength of our peoples’ humanity, kindness, warmth, and traditions lie.

e) Reform of Electoral Laws to ensure:
• That all registered Zimbabwean citizens especially youths get the opportunity to vote and that their votes count.
• The electorate hears the result of their votes within a reasonable enough time frame.
• Querying political parties have the opportunity to be heard by the courts who will fairly adjudicate these matters to the satisfaction of the involved parties and the electorate.
• That no intimidation and violence is tolerated before or during the voting period and at voting stations.

f) Reduction in the size of Government with a view of:
• Reducing government expenditure and ensuring easy monitoring of the dealings of cabinet and other arms of government.

The above issues sum up just but a fraction of youths’ demands and benchmarks for the making and content of a new constitution. It is our hope that if these are at least met, our constituency will be well on its way to finding the kind of representation and protection by the supreme law that they seek. Failure to be included or heard in the current process means a wasted exercise of trying to dictate to the present day youths and future generations how history wishes for them to be governed.

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