|Ministry embarks on draft constitution awareness campaign|
|Thursday, 07 March 2013 19:32|
Marvelous MoyoTHE Ministry of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs has joined Copac in the publicity campaign of the draft constitution and is urging people to vote “Yes” in the referendum scheduled for 16 March.
The Ministry has embarked on an awareness campaign in Matabeleland South Province to explain the contents of the draft constitution to the people.
The Minister of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs, Advocate Eric Matinenga and officials from his from his Ministry were yesterday in Gwanda Town where they addressed traditional leaders and other stakeholders from five districts in Matabeleland South.
Stakeholders who attended the advocacy meeting were drawn from Beitbridge, Insiza, Umzingwane, Matobo and Gwanda districts.
Addressing the meeting at Gwanda District Club, Minister Matinenga explained in detail chapter by chapter of the draft constitution.
The move was aimed at clarifying some legal aspects of the draft.
“The main reason why we are here is to make people know and understand the draft constitution, once people understand it, they will appreciate and make informed decisions before they cast their votes during the referendum. We want to complement the role played by Copac during its publicity campaigns,” he said.
Minister Matinenga urged the traditional leaders, councillors as well as other stakeholders in the province to encourage their communities to vote “Yes” so that the document could be adopted and forwarded to parliament where it would be passed into a Bill.
“All of us must go and vote “Yes” and we have a bigger obligation to go and explain to those who are not here today and encourage them to support the draft which is basically a good document as it is people oriented,” he said.
Minister Matinenga said there was no excuse for people above 18years not to go and vote during the referendum as what was required was only an identity card or passport.
Those who are not registered as voters are also eligible to vote since the voter’s roll would not be used in this case.
“People would be free to go and vote in any polling station anywhere in the country,” said Minister Matinenga.
However, when asked as to whether funds to cater for the referendum exercise had been made available, Minister Matinenga said what he knew was that money would be made available.
He took a swipe at the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), saying the organisation only wanted to mislead people to vote “No”.
“I am aware that the NCA is sick to persuade people to vote “No” and I totally disagree with them because they cannot just talk of a blanket flaw without specifics. When you look at the document you cannot like everything in it but it moves Zimbabwe from point A to B,” said Minister Matinenga.
He said what was needed was for Zimbabweans to cultivate a culture of respecting the laws so that even the draft constitution, once adopted, does not gather dust.
Stakeholders said the meeting with the Minister was fruitful although there was a need to improve on making the draft constitution available to all people.
“As the Gwanda district councillors we promise to go and cascade the information to the grassroots and encourage them to vote “Yes” because this is a good way forward. We will strive to reach to everyone in this little time left,” said Clr Sister Moyo from Ward 2.
Minister Matinenga and his delegation will be in Plumtree today and Bulawayo tomorrow.