Youths back draft constitution

HARARE - In another breathtaking exercise, the Constitutional Select Committee (Copac) coupled with the political principals President Robert Mugabe, Professor Welshman Ncube and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai have ironed out all outstanding issues in the presence of Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara to give the youth a political cake which they should embrace as a first crucial step towards the attainment of a constitutional democracy.

The philosophy of the elderly that "half a loaf is better than nothing" should therefore be installed in the mindset of the young generation, intertwined by the reality that the Copac draft is the best document that could come out of a compromise.

The government was made up of three ideologically divergent political practitioners and that resulted in the making of a compromised document.

Therefore, there exists a myriad of reasons why the document should be anointed with legitimacy by the youth Ab initio, it should be plainly put that the Copac draft is a homegrown document that all many young people have witnessed in the making, participated in the outreaches, second stakeholders’ conference and now will be able to vote for or against it.

This has helped the draft document to massage many societal goals that the young generation would like to see in a flourishing new Zimbabwe.

In another vein, the document unlike the Lancaster House Constitution has a clearly outlined Preamble which outlines the fundamental pillars of the constitution, building blocks for democracy and good governance.

This without an equivocation manages to observe the constitutional principle of the essential features doctrine.

Therefore, the presence of the essential features doctrine will bar those politicians with an addiction of re-writing the land’s supreme law to fulfil their narrow and shallow individual interests.

The expansion of the Bill of Rights should also be embraced by the youth as a fundamental shift in the present situation which was furnished by quasi granting of human rights by the Lancaster House Constitution.

More important is the fact that unlike the current constitution that takes a special glance on civil and political rights only, the draft has expanded to mirror economic, social and cultural rights not forgetting the environmental rights in sync with international constitutional standards.

The expansion on the social and cultural rights have clearly answered some of the long-held questions of gay marriage in Section 4.32 when it clearly reiterates that marriage was to be constitutionally allowed to people of a different sex who have reached a marriageable age.

Therefore it shows that the draft has protected the youth from witnessing cultural erosion. All these cultural protections held by the document are reasons as to why the youth should accept the draft constitution by a "yes vote".

In addition, the curbing of the presidential powers is of paramount importance to the youth in that the generation can close at an earlier stage the chapters of having an all powerful president who symbolises an "octopus".

Unlimited presidential powers particularly in the direct appointments of resident ministers, dissolving Parliament at will, were part of the political monster that bedevilled the young generation’s fortunes since it paved way for politics of "homeboyism", nepotism and cadre patronage which betrayed good governance since independence.

Now, considering that the youth are in dire need and thirsty for a democratic dispensation which witness limited presidential powers, the Copac draft is a first step towards its achievement. - Francis Mufambi

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