(Public Statement 1/2017)
As Parliament resumes sitting on the 24th of Janaury 2017 and legislatures are going to be debating the 2017 National Budget Statement, Matabeleland Institute for Human Rights would like to urge the Members of Parliament (National Assembly and Senators) to demand the Minister of Finance to allocate funds for Constitutional awareness as in accordance with Section 7 (a)(b) and (c) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.
Section 7 of the Constitution demands that:
The State must promote public awareness of this Constitution, in particular by—
- translating it into all officially recognised languages and disseminating it as widely as possible;
- requiring this Constitution to be taught in schools and as part of the curricula for the training of members of the security services, the Civil Service and members and employees of public institutions; and
- encouraging all persons and organisations, including civic organisations, to disseminate awareness and knowledge of this Constitution throughout society.
It is disheartening to note that since the year 2013 when the new constitution came into force, the Government of Zimbabwe has not made deliberate efforts to ensure that more Constitutional copies are printed and public awareness of the Constitution is made.
Currently it has been noted that about 80% of urban citizens and about 90% of rural citizens of Zimbabwe have never had access to the Constitution of Zimbabwe.
According to a MIHR 2016 Survey on access to human rights information in Bulawayo, 20.7% of the respondents claimed to be having possession of a copy of the Zimbabwean Constitution and 90% of those who did not have a copy of the Constitution said they want to have a copy of the Constitution.
Matabeleland Institute for Human Rights is an independent human rights watchdog that exists to enhance the protection, promotion and fulfilment of human rights in the Matabeleland region of Zimbabwe.
The General Secretary