12 November 2012

Zimbabwe: Draft Constitution a 'Major Move', Says Rights Lawyer

Photo: Buanews
File photo: President Jacob Zuma, center, with President Robert Mugabe, right, on a previous working visit to Zimbabwe.

Cape Town — Zimbabwe's constitution-making process is at a crucial stage as it is expected to go for a referendum to decide whether or not it would be voted in as the nation's supreme law, said Irene Petras from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.

Petras was speaking at a forum in South Africa that was hosted by the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition and the University of Western Cape.

The forum, which took place on November 7 at the District Six Museum in Cape Town, was meant to sensitize people on the transition and constitution-making process that has been under way for the past 4 years.

Irene Petras said that the changes in the constitution were significant towards solving the crisis in Zimbabwe.

"The draft is definitely better than the current constitution in the manner that it has a broader bill of rights and socio-economic development models. It also made changes to executive authority, which is a major move," said Petras.

However, Petras added that the constitution was not perfect, saying it doesn't go far enough "especially in terms of devolution of power, including the fact that it doesn't confirm electoral rights".

Corlett Letlojane, who is the executive director of Human Rights Institute of South Africa, said that efforts had been made to ensure that the constitution drafting process is successful.

"People have taken strides up to this stage that we now seek to go to the referendum and we have come together with other human rights organisations to put pressure on the government," Letlojane said.

The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition is a civic organisation consisting of more than 300 organisations who are fighting for democracy in Zimbabwe.

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