“Make Your Young Voice Count” in the Constitution Making Process.

The National Youth Development Trust (NYDT) in partnership with the Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) and Bulawayo Agenda will from Saturday, the 17th of October embark on an intensive rural outreach exercise to raise awareness on the constitution making process amongst young people in the remote areas of Matabeleland North and South and the Midlands provinces.

Zimbabwe is undergoing an important and historic transition that for the first time will give all Zimbabweans the opportunity to take part in the constitution making processes. Zimbabweans have the chance of shaping the future and they have to participate for the sake of the current and generations to come. The sad reality is that many Zimbabweans may not get information and the opportunity to effectively participate during this process. Despite the planned consultative meetings by the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) on constitution making and technical teams, as things stand now, a large constituency of young people especially in rural Zimbabwe will not know what is happening and hence not take part. Those who know of the on-going process may not understand the importance of taking part and if they do take part they may not know to what extent they can get involved in the process.

The inadequacy of the PSC in this exercise is quite conspicuous in the inaccessibility of information and basic documents like the country’s current constitution and the much contentious Kariba draft constitution to the public. Information on the Global Political Agreement and framework of the current process of constitution making, its time frame and consequences of its success or failure are not readily available to the public especially in the rural areas and more so to young people in those areas. This project seeks to therefore equip rural youths with adequate and relevant information to articulate to the relevant committees those issues that are peculiar to them as young people of those communities and push for their inclusion in the new constitution. It is envisaged that after this exercise, youths in the visited areas will unequivocally articulate issues that affect them specifically, issues such as that of citizenship, culture, language and heritage, education and even human rights.

It is for this reason that the NYDT in partnership with the Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association and Bulawayo Agenda will be embarking on a tour of selected rural areas in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces. The theme of what has been termed the Constitutional Debates Series will be “Make Your Young Voice Count “. The theme has been designed with the objective of encouraging young people to stand up and make their voices count now and echo into posterity through a credible document and constitutionalism in Zimbabwe.

Areas to be covered are Matobo/Silozwe (17/10/09 – 1pm) Tsholotsho same day 11am, Insiza (18/10/09-11am), Plumtree (20/10/09), Victoria Falls (21/10/09), Binga/Lusulu (22/10/09-10am), Gweru/Sogwala/Lower Gwelo/Shurugwi (23/10/09), Gwanda (22/10/09-2pm), Lupane/Nkayi/Madojwe (25/10/09-11am). Please note that the dates and times are subject to confirmation and change.

Experienced, eloquent and knowledgeable activist speakers will travel with the team to the mentioned areas to explain the circumstances surrounding the drafting of Zimbabwe’s new constitution as well as to give out as much information as possible on what is at stake and how young people can fully take part in this process.

After an assessment of the first phase of this project has been made, NYDT may take this project to other parts of rural Zimbabwe. We invite you to mobilize other young people in the mentioned areas to be a part of these important meetings that are no doubt going to help shape our future and that of our nation and the way it will be governed for generations to come.

“Enhancing Youth Participation through Dialogue”

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