#KnowYourConstitution Competition Responses

To do our part to enact Section 7, Kubatana ran a competition asking our members what section of the Constitution matters most to them, and how they could use it to make a difference in their community. From Beitbridge to Kariba, from Victoria Falls to Nyanga, the responses flew in. Read some of what our members had to say below, get more at #KnowYourConstitution on Twitter, and check out some of the great pictures from the competition here.

I live in Eastview known as Caledonia farm. In my community we have pit latrines we don’t have sewer system and also we don’t have safe water to drink. In the Constitution in Chapter 4 section number 77 it says: Every person has (a)the right to safe, clean and potable water and sufficient food.

Clara

Chapter 2 Section 20 of the Zimbabwean constitution stands out to me the most because it affects me as a youth. Inclusion in political and economic decisions is important because people below the age of 35 make up greater than 60% of the Zimbabwean population. We are important and our opinions matter because we are the same people who will be living in Zimbabwe when the older generations are deceased. Decisions today will affect or create consequences tomorrow so if we are included in the decision making process we can rest assured that our interests were taken into account.

Section 20 subsection C talks about youth empowerment and employment opportunities and this is very important. Many youth spend most of their life at school and then they wear that black gown, black cap sometimes even get capped by the president; the future seems bright. Only to find out that there are no jobs in Zimbabwe. “Hakuna Mabasa” Many that have come before me were not afforded opportunities of employment after all the hard work. This subsection can help improve my life because it will give me a steady source of income and I can use that to feed my family. It is now up to the government to implement what is in the constitution.

– Mabasa

My favourite section of the Constitution is the Children’s Act 5.06. As a custodian of children’s rights through my profession (social work) it has become a manual which I use on a daily basis.

Tawanda

My favourite section of the Constitution of Zimbabwe is section 149.

It empowers us citizens with the right to petition Parliament, I love this section because it empowers us as citizens to have a say in the affairs of our country. It gives us the citizens the power to influence the enactment, amendment or repeal of legislation.

This section gives us the power to aide or monitor the work being done by our representatives whom we elected into office. This section in particular opens up the democratic space and gives us the chance to partake in the legislation of our country.

Petitions ensure that Parliament takes action on the matters raised and it also conscentise them on issues that may be happening with their knowledge.

It gives us accessibility to Parliament and allows us to play a significant part.

– Tendai

The section which stands out for me is section 20 subsection 1 part (b) which states that the state and all institutions and agencies of the government at every level must take reasonable measures, including affirmative action programs, to ensure that youth, that is to say people between the ages of 15 and 35 have opportunities to associate and to be represented and participate in political, social, economic and other spheres of life. This is a critical section in my life because as a youth this will give me a platform to actively participate in the national discourse. As youths we contribute 68% of the total population and we should be at the forefront of decision making in the country. This is also important compel the government to prioritise youth participation in national discourse.

Blessing

Our community of Redcliff (7km south of Kwekwe) has been without consistent and constant running water for the past three to four months.

If fortunate, water supply has been provided once every three to four days – but, most of the time, there has been absolutely nothing at all.

Most residence – who do not have private boreholes – have been forced to either beg for water from those who have boreholes, or walk the long distance to adjacent Rutendo, where there are one or two public boreholes – at which, they have to queue for long hours (even being drenched during these incessant rains), and then walk back carrying their huge containers.

Typically of such scenarios, in our patriarchal society, women and children are usually the ones burdened with such cumbersome duties – adding to their already blotted ‘obligations’, such as cooking, taking care of the children, and housework.

Our local authority has been very evasive as to the reason for this water crisis, steps being taken to rectify it, and time-frames.

The section the Constitution that could help us come to a solution is 77(a), which states: “Every person has the right to safe, clean, and potable water, and the State must take reasonable legislative and other measures, within the limits of the resources available to it, to achieve the progressive realization of this right.”

– Tendai

I stay in Highfield Harare. One of the challenges being faced by my community is access to safe and potable water. People are also failing to access a balanced diet due to income loss caused by the Covid 19 induced lockdown. These challenges can be addressed by section 77 of the Zimbabwean Constitution which provides that (a) Every person has a right to safe, clean and potable water; and (b) sufficient food. If this right can be exercised and the relevant authorities make strides to provide this right, then the challenges we are facing may be solved.

Rumbidzai

Section 22 of the Zimbabwe constitution stands out to me.

It provides that all institutions and agencies of the government at every level must recognise the rights of persons with physical or mental disabilities, particularly their right to be treated with respect and dignity.

I think I could use this section to improve my life by learning sign language and braille writing system.

Along side these languages I can be able to assist on translation services in communities and media especially in this Covid 19 Pandemic, it seems people with disabilities are not getting equivalent information on symptoms & how to prevent the spread of Covid 19.

– Kudzai

From section 48 (right to life) to 75 (right to education) stand out for me because if the State and its organs protect these rights then my life and that of fellow Zimbabweans will improve significantly. Special mention goes to the right to life which should not be arbitrarily taken away esp in demonstrations. Everyone has a right to life!

Marian

The right to demonstrate!

Our constitution states that every Zimbabwean citizen has got her/his constitutional right to demonstrate, whenever one feels so, but under certain conditions, i.e. The demonstration must be peaceful, nonviolent to properties and persons, but such has not been successful whenever one decides on going for such expedition, only two results tell!

1) either if u start, you won’t finish the demo, you will be going straight to hospital bed or mortuary Or
2) you finish and the next morning you will be behind bars for contravening one piece of the Amendment kkkkkk, Alas who knows u will exercising your CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT. l wish this right be re-read to the enforcers for a better understanding of us or engage in another round of tour throughout the country educating the mass what it means, probably it’s us the povo who don’t know how to interpret the right.

Who knows?????🤷🏻‍♀‍🤷🏻‍♂‍🤷🏻‍♂‍🤷🏻‍♀‍🤷🏻‍♂‍🤷🏻‍♀‍🤷🏻‍♂‍

– Blessing

The section of the constitution that matters most to me is the right to clean water. I am currently studying a lifting device called an elephant pump which uses locally available resources to easily access water from wells. I am also trying to develop an animal driven pump since the rural community has a lot of donkeys and cattle that can be used to power the pumps.

Michael

My favourite section of the constitution is section 141.

It gives the public access to and also to be part and parcel on the business of parliament. We can’t all be in parliament hence we vote for representatives who go on our behalf but this section now allows us to be part of the business of parliament.

This section provides that when there is a bill before it is passed by parliament we participate through giving our submissions and our views freely. It gives the public the power to monitor how our representatives are performing.

It deals with the issue of segregation because as long as one is a citizen of Zimbabwe they can exercise and enjoy this right.

This section enhances transparency, accountability of MPs to the citizens, openness and the public’s access to parliament.

However with this section the only problem i have is that whenever we are making suggestions probably on bills matters they tend to ignore the voice of the minority even when it is sensible. They report on the views that carried much weight.

We have the access and involvement but don’t have a guarantee of a consideration of our submissions.

Chapter 4 section 75 Right to education. Government should work with parents, teachers, community members and local partners to ensure that teachers know how to make learning effective and pastime. Parents are equipped to help their children in the home. Community volunteers should be trained to host after school activities so that the whole community get the opportunity to create learning activities for children that reflect their tradition, values and languages. With access to education children become lifelong learners that can alter their communities, protect themselves from violence and experience life in all it’s entirety. Hence, the government should work with local parliament communities to address the barriers to a quality education for all children. Empowering parents, and teachers with the tools and training they need gives children the opportunity to gleam.

Tonderai

The section of the Constitution that matters to me is 59 – which states that, “Every person has the right to demonstrate and to present petitions, but these rights must be exercised peacefully”.

The reason this section matters to me is simply that, our 2013 Constitution is arguably one of the best in the world – containing some of the most fundamental guarantees on human and people’s rights, checks and balances on state institutions, and limitations on the powers of government, especially against abuse – however, for these to be effectively implemented, and adequately benefit the nation, it is imperative that the citizenry’s right to freely express themselves (through various means, including demonstrations and petitions) needs to be valued and safeguarded.

Otherwise, without the ability to effectively exercise this fundamental right, the Constitution itself becomes threatened – as the government will be under no pressure in ensuring the religious adherence to this sacred document and its tenets.

Therefore, I can use section 59 to make a difference in holding the government accountable in faithfully implementing our Constitution – for instance, we can peacefully demonstrate and petition both the executive and the legislature to swiftly align any outstanding laws with the supreme law of the land.

This would touch on such issues as electoral reforms to ensure truly free, fair, and credible elections; independence of state media; accountability of the President, Vice-Presidents, Ministers, and Deputy Ministers, Devolution, and guaranteeing the independence of Chapter 12 institutions, and so much more – which, unfortunately, has not yet been satisfactorily accomplished.

Without section 59, the citizenry is practically muted, and has no say in the affairs and governance of their own country – thereby, allowing the state to rule carte blanche, with impunity.

Armed with section 59 of the Constitution, I will be able to make my voice clearly and loudly heard, through peaceful demonstrations and petitioning of any relevant state institution, and hold my government answerable to the citizenry in every aspect.

– Tendai

The section of the Constitution that matters most to me is section 61 Freedom of expression and freedom of the media. Section 61 guarantees us as Zimbabweans the freedom to seek, receive, and communicate ideas. In short this means that I have the right to express my ideas and opinions even if they are contrary to others’ opinions and beliefs as long as they are not malicious and defamatory. It also guarantees us freedom of the media which means that media houses have the right to be impartial, choose the content they want to publish or broadcast thereby becoming true watchdogs as the fourth estate. The media also has the right of establishment which can avail job opportunities. I can use section 61 to make a difference in my community by teaching less informed members of my community about their constitutional rights and I can also use my right to freedom of expression to shed light on issues affecting us as youths such as unemployment, political instability and economic hardships without fear of being arrested as I’ll be excercising my right.

Lois

For me, as a doctor who has been working in Zimbabwe for a few years now, I have witnessed how our constitutional right as health care providers to ‘choose and carry on any profession, trade or occupation’ (Section 64) has been severely impinged. Dubbed ‘skilled labourers’ and ‘medical assassins’, we have borne the brunt of a government that has failed to provide for the most basic needs of its citizens and uses its labour force as a scapegoat.

Newly graduated doctors have been coerced into military positions, ostensibly to whisk away any constitutional right to protest the deplorable working conditions we face in our daily work – a right that has been marred by a myriad of tactics used to instil fear of reprisal. Young doctors, afraid of being forced to repeat rotations and risking further career options being jeopardised, bow their heads, move away from the spotlight and ‘sit it out’ till they can skip the country and leave it all behind them. Only they can’t. New methods have been cooked to further constrain the freedom to choose one’s occupation and further study opportunities, with doctors waiting months for a clearance process that used to take hours.

A little more respect, acknowledgement and autonomy given to our hard-working professionals would go a long way to building more trust and ratifying these constitutionally protected values. Maybe, just maybe, more of us would then be willing to stay and serve this beautiful country.

Misheck

The section of the Constitution that matters to me most is on chapter 4 part 2 on section 58 Freedom of assembly and association. It says every person has a right to freedom of assembly and association and the right not to assemble or associate with others, and no person shall be compelled to belong to an association or to attend a meeting or gathering.

This section to me matters the most as it conscientise people on their freedom to choose an organization to belong to or not to belong to. It may be a religious organization such as a church, a cooperative, club or political party. In the community that I reside in, Many people are not aware of this section. They are sometimes compelled to belong to a certain political party and sometimes especially towards an election, threats are issued that there may be consequences. If political leaders are aware that when mobilizing support, they must leave those that are not interested.

This section can greatly improve peoples lives if people are aware by living ☮️ peacefully and engaging in economic activities in harmony in the area of Kasimure which is in Pote 2 resettlement of Hurungwe East. Thank you

– Alfred

Anti Corruption Act section. It seems like it is more on paper and not practical.

Munashe

I am writing to you today telling you about my favorite section in the constitution of Zimbabwe which is section 56 which is about equality and non discrimination.This is my favorite section because it enables fairness in our communities and societies which are mostly embedded in culture. Section 56 in the constitution of Zimbabwe promotes equality among both genders but there are situations whereby this section isn’t being put into consideration. For example in rural areas women only have access to land through their male relatives, we sometimes find that when a married woman loses her husband to death the land which was owned by the husband is then passed on to their son or the husband male cousins or brothers and the wife only has access to land through the male relatives who would have been given the land. The only thing the wife of the deceased can do is to only grow crops for consumption and for selling, the wife of the deceased can never sell the land if she wants to, she would have to first ask permission from the male relative who would have been given the land of the deceased. This shows that equality isn’t being practised. This then hinders women from progressing and becoming independent and fail to lead their own lives successfully mostly because women in rural areas depend on farming to survive and without a piece of land to work on there is nothing else they can do because most of these women have no educational qualifications and have no other skills to earn them a living. Also some women stay in abusive relationships because they depend on the land that is owned by the husband for survival, these women think to themselves that if they leave there is nothing they can do to survive and their children will also suffer, so they would rather stay in abusive relationships so as for them to gain access to the land.

I think that this section should be taught and explained to women in the rural areas so that they also know that they have rights that grant them access to land and that everything should be 50 /50 between men and women. After having being taught about this section maybe they could possibly have a peaceful protest (as it is also their right to protest) that will at least help them to show the men in the community and the Sabhukus and chiefs that what’s being done cannot be considered as equality.

Furthermore the chiefs of the rural villages can also be taught about this section and talked into at least giving the women of the village a large piece of land that they can divide among themselves and use it for growing crops for consumption and also for selling .By so doing women can have the opportunity to become independent and also have self esteem, it may also enable them to walk out of abusive relationships.

Section 56 also mentions non-discrimination. In this part of the section we can put into consideration people living with disabilities who are also HIV positive. Most of the times people living with disabilities are discriminated against when they go to hospitals and clinics to get treatment for HIV/AIDS. This is because people have this mindset that people living with disabilities can not be active when it comes to sexual activities and therefore how are they HIV positive? They can’t even get tested because they fear the kind of treatment they will receive from the nurses there and also other people at the clinics. They also fear going to the clinics to get condoms because as mentioned above it is believed that people living with disabilities cannot be involved in sexual activities , but we tend to forget that people living with disabilities are also human. Most of the people living with disabilities are usually victims of sexual abuse hence they might have got the HIV virus from being raped, but because of the treatment they fear they will get from hospitals and clinics they can’t go get tested. Discrimination against people living with disabilities gets to an extent that’ they are not even taught about HIV/AIDS and other chronic diseases because:

  1. Some of them can’t walk therefore it becomes a burden for the person who is taking care of them to always get them ready on time for the meeting and to also transport them to the meeting so they just leave them behind.
  2. In most rural areas nurses can’t walk long distances to get to everyone and teach them about HIV and AIDS so most people including those living with disabilities and those who aren’t living with disabilities miss out on important information.

Therefore the non-discrimination part of section 56 also needs to be put in consideration in both the rural and urban clinics the patient and doctor confidentiality also needs to be enforced greatly. The hospitals and clinics and also the community at large need to put into consideration that people living with disabilities are also human and they should also be given an opportunity to learn about HIV/AIDS and other chronic diseases before being discriminated against.

In conclusion section 56 has been created to end all gender inequality issues and discrimination issues among different groups of people so as to create peace and harmony. I’ve only managed to mention only two groups of vulnerable people who usually face inequalities and discrimination but there are more people who face inequalities and discrimination such as the elderly, sexual minorities and those in prisons. Therefore section 56 is my favorite in the constitution of Zimbabwe because it is very important and it applies to each and every one of us and also we are also at risk of facing inequalities at some point of time and also being discriminated against in one way or the other.

– Muriel

Freedom of media section 61. I want diversity of views so our true community leaders can emerge. I also want limit on terms of office of state President as a curb to corruption and too much control. Bureaucracy is such a struggle and inefficient because of corruption. Just going through the border with efficiency and order would make my life easier. We are exhausted from old entrenched leaders. Term limits is one way to limit how long we have to our up with a bad leader and inhibits him/her from getting too entrenched.

Jennifer

What section of the Constitution matters most to you? Chapter 4 Declaration of Human Rights as read with Part 2 Fundamental Human Rights and Freedoms.

How could you use this section to address the challenges you are currently facing or make a difference in your community?

The State and every person, including juristic persons, and every institution and agency of the government at every level must respect, protect, promote and fulfil the rights and freedoms set out in this Chapter.

This means that myself as a law enforcement agent have to have these human rights and freedoms on my finger tips in the course of exercising my duties. A person’s human rights have to be respected at all costs regardless of gender, religion, race, political affiliation, disability, even origins. Everyone has got the right to life, personal liberty that is to say not be detained without trial and not to be deprived of their liberty arbitrarily or without just cause. When I arrest people their rights have to be followed and respected during arrest, detention as well as escort to court withing the prescribed period. Every person possess the right to human dignity that is to say every person has inherent dignity in their private and public life, and the right to have that dignity respected and protected despite their gender and sexual interest hence the need to educate my colleagues to adhere to this. Every person has a right to personal security and freedom from abduction and torture hence this will go a long way in preventing unnecessary kidnaps by state security agents when the respect this right. There should be non discrimination of people in all forms of grouping be it food aid, developmental issues hence to ensure participation by all people this freedom should not be negotiated. Every person has a right to privacy in their own personal capacity, homes, property as well as affair and therefore nobody should interfere in personal issues. Citizens have the right to demonstrate and petition as it fosters accountability and development. Freedom of conscience should also be recognised to ensure opinions, ideas, thoughts, expressions, religions and beliefs amongst a people so that reconciliation and peace is achieved within a community. Freedom of research, academic achievements, freedom of the media should also be respected to ensure a people access to information that is not biased or full of propaganda and lies hence truthful information unites a nation and foster development. Every person has a right to use the language of their own within a society to communicate their feelings hence that should be respected.

Every Zimbabwean citizen has the right to free, fair and regular elections for any elective public office established in terms of the Constitution or any other law; and to make political choices freely without being coerced or intimidated. This will enable a people to choose responsible leaders of their choice who will lead and deliver not to rule upon them which is secondary to development issues. Although these rights are in exhaustible every right or freedom attributable to a person is the beginning of development which every person dreams about hence every person should respect every other person’s rights and freedoms. Be ideas, expressions are expressed through a leveled platform that has zero tolerance to abuse and propaganda hence it’s the starting point to community development and to better standards of living for a people.

– Tapiwa

The whole constitution is important to me, but the part that is particularly close to my heart at the moment is Section 81, Rights of Children. I am currently going through an adoption process and I hope to use this constitutional right to try and speed up the process of getting my son’s birth certificate 81, section 1, C, ii where it states that a child born of Zimbabwean descent has the right to a prompt birth certificate.

Jessica

Chapter 1 – Founding Provisions, Part 2, Section 19 (3a & b) to protect children from exploitative labour practices and Section 81 (1e) on children’s rights.

There has been an increase in child labour due current lockdown restriction in Domboshava specific locations are Mungate, Showground and Chogugudza.

Instead of child work most children are being engaged in child labour where by children are being sent out by their guardians walk through villages and sell items such as vegetables, bananas, mangoes, tomatoes, cucumber and others.

These are normally the age group of 5 years to 10 years old.

They knock door to door and walk for nearly 3-4 km while fighting to bring home some few bond notes from the sell.

The root cause is the unemployment of parents and the closure of schools due lockdown restrictions therefore, these children are being sent out to go and come back with something to ( children acting as bread winners ).

This kind of child work is associated with a lot of harassment from stressed buyers without money; Labour exploitation; Hunger as they walk from early morning until late lunchtime.

How to use this section to make a difference in my community:

  • Lobbying to governmental official to put strict measure against all kinds of child labour.
  • Community sensitization meetings with through home visits
  • Advocacy – through social media and dialogues with community leaders.
  • Edutainment with children to make them aware the difference between child work and child labour together with their responsibilities.
  • Parental dialogues to equip then so that they engage in self help project that do not crosscut lock down restriction.

– Panashe

Section 67 subsection 3.a. of the constitution matters to me. It protects the right for all Zimbabwean citizens to vote. I am 27 years old and, though I have wanted to, I have never been able to vote in a Zimbabwean election. I have happened to be out of the country studying for both of the elections (2013 and 2018) that have been held since I turned 18. But this section of the constitution guarantees the right of all Zimbabwean citizens to vote, and so I should not have been prohibited from doing my national duty and participating in the electoral vote, simply because I was not resident in Zimbabwe at the time.

Winston

Section 31 of the 2013 constitution matters most to me. Section 31 provides for Legal aid, it states that: The State must take all practical measures, within the limits of the resources available to it, to provide legal representation in civil and criminal cases for people who need it and are unable to afford legal practitioners of their choice. This section is further complemented by Section 70(1)(e) which entrench the rights of accused persons and states that any person accused of an offence has the to be represented by a legal practitioner assigned by the State and at State expense, if substantial injustice would otherwise result.

Legal aid is the provision of assistance to people who are unable to afford legal representation and access to the court system. Legal aid is regarded as central in providing access to justice by ensuring equality before the law, the right to legal representation and the right to a fair trial. Legal aid is essential to guaranteeing equal access to justice for all. Especially for citizens who do not have sufficient financial means, the provision of legal aid to clients by government increases the likelihood, within court proceedings, of being assisted by legal professionals for free or at a lower cost, or of receiving financial aid.

How do you use this section to addresses a challenge you are currently facing, or make a difference in your community? By seeking remedy/performance of duty before the courts.

The number one challenge prevailing in the Zimbabwean community is that of prolonged pre-trial detention of criminal suspects in remand prison. This is because many cannot afford to hire lawyers of their own choice who can speed track their cases and ensure that justice is delivered within a reasonable time. Zimbabwean prisons are well known for being over crowded, with poor living conditions which are not up to the standards of human dignity.

It is a constitutional recommendation that everyone has the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty before the courts. The prolonged pre-trial detention is on itself an unconstitutional detention which affects the mental wellness of suspects who will keep on guessing what his/her future holds whilst not being tried to determine their fate. Suspects can stay for up to 12 months in remand prison without trial in Zimbabwe. This is pure injustice at the hands of the state. If the system of legal ⚖ aid is efficient in Zimbabwe many suspects would have been set free. The adversarial system which our Zimbabwean courts use is very intimidating especially to self actors who are not aware of the rules of the court procedures. Sometimes they end up being convicted just because they had missed something which is very crucial in the trial.

Presiding officers have a duty to ensure that they inform the unrepresented accused of their rights at every stage of the trial. However this is not very effective as the presiding officers are merely umpires who must not descend into the arena so as to deliver justice in a fair manner.

Therefore the Zimbabwean government must be compelled to fulfill its constitutional obligations in an efficient manner. Every accused persons who cannot afford lawyers and who fall within the defined categories of people who can receive legal assistance must be given state sponsored lawyers.

The 2013 constitution entrenches values and principles which Zimbabwe aspire to be. Section (2)(e), the principles of good governance which bind the state and all its institutions and agencies of government at every level include; transparency, justice and responsiveness. Transparent governance means government officials act openly with citizen’s knowledge of the decisions the officials are making. The government of Zimbabwe must be transparent on how it have been conducting its legal aid to the affected citizens and must ensure that resources are allocated in the national budget which must cater for legal aid.

To ensure that justice is delivered without prejudice. Both parties must be represented in the criminal justice system hence the government must channel resources fully in the legal aid. This can only be done if the government becomes responsible for its citizens. Responsive public governance requires responding efficiently and effectively to people’s real needs. This entails to resolve to anchor policies, strategies, programmes, activities and resources, with particular attention paid to local variations and ambitions.

Nkosilathi

When talking about Zimbabwe’s constitution section 251 to me is very important in view of the imperative of reconciliation in the country. If implemented, the section can help heal shattered communities in light of the prevalence of political violence since independence.

Darlington

As a young leader Section 59 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe is the most sacrosanct.

Section 59 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe states, “Every person has the right to demonstrate and to present petitions, but these rights must be exercised peacefully.”

As a community leader, demonstrations and petitions are an integral part of our democracy. This is in line with various international human rights instruments, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. It is our duty as young people to make sure that the government respects the constitution and international human rights by exercising our right to petition and demonstrate.

Currently we are using an online Petition against the City of Mutare against its imposition of exorbitant tariff hikes on the ratepayers without requisite public consultation.

– Richard

Section 252 – Through participating in hearings, we assist the victims of any injustice and conflict find closure. I write down an experience by either a family member or anyone in the community. If their stories are told and recorded then this makes the work of the commission easy.

Mguni

According to the Constitution of the Republic of Zimbabwe Amendment (No.20) 2013 enacted by the President and the Parliament of Zimbabwe, the most important section to me is Section 29 subsection 3 which states, “The state must take all preventive measures, within the limits of the resources available to it, including education and public awareness programmes, against the spread of disease.”

This part of the constitution is relevant to the current situation facing not only Zimbabwe but other nations across the globe in trying to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The section will help this country by ensuring that everyone across Zimbabwe is well informed on how to handle themselves and their families in the face of this global pandemic through television, radios and even sms messages and with the vaccine starting to come into the country, people can be educated on th3 benefits of being vaccinated and be assured that it is 100% safe to do so.

– Panashe

Chapter Four of the Constitution. This chapter addresses the issue of fundamental human rights that are entitled to each citizen. These include but are not limited to rights that constitutes the well being of a person ranging from political rights to civil rights and up to property rights. The fundamental rights and freedoms in section 4 help to address issues to do with right to human dignity. Everyone needs to be treated the same without discrimination of any kind. The right to freedom of expression and association section 61 will help the youth to impart and pass on information. This will help in youth involvement and engagement and help in the realisation of the freedoms enshrined by section. Information should be imparted freely with no monitoring. For example the internet is being monitored and people are afraid to pass on information with others.

Chipo

Section 65 which protects labour rights is of significance and matters most to the writer as enshrined in the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (no.20) act, 2013. The provisions of section 65 has elucidated and made it unambiguously clear on the importance of these labour rights in the employment relationship as it creates a health employer-employee relationship. In the pre-existence of the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (no.20) act, 2013, employees were jeopardized and prejudiced of their labour rights by employer through unfair labour practices and standards which includes but not limited infringing employees’ freedom of association, discrimination and unsatisfactory working conditions.

Lately the former Lancaster House Constitution did not provide for, labour rights and laws protecting collective bargaining be it at shop floor or industrial level which resulted in prejudicing the employee or vice versa the employer, to unfair labour practices and standards but all credits to Supreme law of Zimbabwe which is currently in force. In employment relationship what is of crucial value is for the employer and employee to have a healthy relationship which caters for just and fair terms and conditions of employment, and maximum production which boost employers’ business. For the aforesaid point to be realized there must be a mutual process of collective bargaining between the employers or employers organization and trade union to negotiate / reconcile their conflicting goals in order to reach common ground on collective bargaining agreement (CBA) that regulate terms and conditions of employment of concerned employees. The above alluded position was clearly articulated in the case of Metal and Allied Workers Union v Hart Ltd (1985) 6 ILJ 478 and (Grogan 2000:263).

Collective bargain process must be voluntary and autonomous in nature as it is regarded as contract between the employers or employers organization and employees or trade union on better terms and conditions of employment as this was said in the case Chivinge v Mushayakarara and another 1998(2) ZLR 500 (S) at 500. The current Constitution of 2013 has stepped in to protect these labour rights together with other subsidiary legislations and numerous International Labour Organization conventions which are incorporated in our domestic law.

It is from this conclusion that one can appreciate the advent and presents of the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No. 20) Act, 2013 has given an effect on the protection of employers and employees rights to engage on collective bargaining to advance their common interest in the unfortunate event that the employer is unwilling to engage in collective bargaining section 65 have employed mechanism to compel the concerned employer to bargain, these must be lawful activities such as collective action and as it is not enough section 65 as read with other Labour subsidiary legislations Labour Act sections 18 and 23 and ILO convention 100, 102 and 111 have sanctioned on the fair labour practice as employee is entitled to just, equitable and satisfactory conditions of work as enshrined under section 65(4) which was enforced by court of law in the case Posts and Telecommunications workers’ Union where an employer was compelled to honor the collective bargaining agreement which the employer tried to renege on complying with gazetted CBA on the basis that it could not afford the wage increments see PTC v Posts and Telecommunications workers union and others 2002 (2) ZLR 722(S). Sec 65 (6) Remunerate equally both women and men for similar work and Sec 65 (7) addressed maternity issue on full pay for three months on leave. Prior to 2013 employees were prejudiced of their labour rights as unscrupulous employers practiced unfair labour practices and standards which were considered as wanton, flagrant and brazen act as they paid employee what was unfair and unreasonable, and refrained the employees their right to free of association which was of adverse effect to the employee in forming and joining trade union of their own choice which was unfair labour practices done with the employer.

In conclusion the writer commends the work of legislature as it protected and provided the labour rights under the bill of right in the new Constitution Amendment (no.20) Act, 2013 which was previously not embodied in the former Lancaster House Constitution which jeopardized and prejudiced the employee’s and employers’ labour rights in the employment relationship and resulted in an ill fated employment relations. Therefore provisions engraved under sections 65 of the new constitution is immensely addressing and solving the challenges which were not articulated by former Constitution thereby expose the employees to unfair labour practices but token of appreciation is credited to this New Constitution together with section 65 which has contributed positively to achieve a different community of Zimbabwe than yesteryears in terms labour rights.

– Godcares

The section of the Constitution that matters most to me is section 19 that seeks to protect Zimbabwean children and I use this almost daily in my line of duty. I am a headmaster and I always look into it that the children are safe at home and school. The biggest challenge as a head of a rural school is that of children without birth certificates. I normally have a one on one discussion with the parents of affected children.

Stephen

Natural is not only when a responsible Zimbabwean Citizen responds to the call so holy such as to illuminate a particular section of the highest law of the land, the Constitution and its effects to the community. Natural also is of course a smile that will paint the face of the reader without much surprise at all to behold that a chapter 4 right (Section 76 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment No. 20) Act 2013 is hereby submitted to be the one of paramount essence to the writer. That it lacks ambiguity or vagueness is commendable but much praise hinges on its usefulness in addressing the challenges that is being faced by my community (Kuwadzana) and Zimbabwe at large (public interest) as birthed by the novel Corona Virus and the methods that the esteemed central government has seen fit to respond to its being.

It goes without saying that the Constitution is a document par excellent, any law, custom or Practice outside its dictates or parallel to its sacrosanct lines would be detested as void from the onset and of no force. Make believe now what that would mean for a bad law that is cunningly devised to appear consistent with the Constitution. Yes, reference is made to the government policy and statutory instruments that are being cooked to take the shape of the oven that baked the Constitution when it is of different ingredients.

The Kuwadzana and indeed Zimbabwean Community has been robed of it’s right to health as spelt in the noted section by the government policy to the effect that Zimbabweans should be vaccinated by the not clinical tried or approved Chinese Vaccines. To a lay man as it is to the learned medical Practitioner, no medicine, how holy it may appear on the face of it may be rolled out for consumption without going through the noted stages. The government is contravening the said section of the Constitution by robing the Zimbabweans of their health because of the real risk and likelihood that the vaccine may cause harm or impairment to the health of the consumers. That was foreseeable and should have been reasonably foreseeable. Negligence is enjoying life in such circumstances.

The particular section can be involved by the Kuwadzana and the Zimbabwean Community by launching judicial proceedings to the Constitutional Court of Zimbabwe as is spelt in the Constitution and confirmed in the case of Mudzuuru (CCZ-12-15), thanks to the competent bench of the day. Vigilantly, the Court may be prayed to grant a prohibitory interdict on the Ministry of Health and Child Care to stop the rolling out of the vaccine which has since started until it’s effects to the human body are confirmed. An interdict to so confirm may also be prayed for.

Interestingly, the world of science is pregnant with cases whereby medicine had side effects that led to death. The right to health is linked with the right to life, the latter being an unlimited right which cannot be limited by government policy or a mere statutory instrument. One may die or may have a short life expectancy due to the effects of the Vaccines. Guarantees of health on section 76 of the Constitution can be invoked to safeguard the public against such an outcome if taken to the courts for application as suggested above.

The requests for an exemption letter to move from a place to place (together with the not popular curfew) has also not done any good to the enjoyment of the right. That one person is having a fit or is in a critical condition that calls for those with the duty to care to rush him to a nearby hospital, the Covid 19 regulations require that a letter should be procured before his life is saved or before his health matters is attended to. My community and Zimbabwe at large may have the regulations struck down for their hindrance to the attainment of urgent health services with authority of section 76 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment No. 20 Act 2013.

In conclusion, it should be borne in mind that at time like this year of our Lord, no section of the Constitution matters more to my society and Zimbabwe as section 76, the right to health because it can provide redress in ensuring better health care in as far as the issue of the Covid 19 vaccine, curfew, exemption letter and other regulations are concerned.

– Bethel

There is no clear cut definition of what human rights are but many schools of thought have agreed that human rights are entitlements that accrue to human beings by virtue of them being humans. With this in mind, section 53 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe which provides a prohibition against torture, cruel and inhumane treatment matters to me the most. This is because, I believe that it is the basis for the entire Bill of Rights in Zimbabwe as it resonates well with every other human right or fundamental right. It also connects with other human rights as it primarily acknowledges the treatment of humans as humans thus it can be read easily with other human rights.

Clifford

Constitution of Zimbabwe I’m most interested in Chapter 4 Part 2 Section 61 Freedom of expression and freedom of the media – Every person has the right to freedom of expression, which includes: a) Freedom to seek, receive and communicate ideas and other information.

I think this is one of the critical chapter in the constitution of Zimbabwe. This right if practised well in a society it will nip in the bud issues such as corruption. If everyone becomes a whistle blower communicating whatever ills happening in the community without fear of victimisation it will make leadership to be accountable. The right to seek and receive information entails that everyone becomes a journalist hence taking a watchdog role although authenticity of information is important to avoid harming others.

It can also help in identifying problems or needs at an early stage hence being able to report to relevant authorities early which can lead to improved service delivery in our communities.

– Clive

For me all the sections of the constitution matter to me. What we are lacking is the will to fully implement the whole constitution so that everyone as a country we benefit be it property rights, civil rights or any other right.

Maxwell

The section of the Constitution that matters most to me is Section 78.As a Zimbabwean citizen l would like to address solutions on a challenge that l am currently facing n make a different for instance forced and arranged marriages of a child under 18 years of age, l could use this section by going to schools teaching, gatherings in our community and also making use of social media in order to reach people’s ears by Making them to know their rights on marriage. Teaching them on the disadvantages and advantages of getting married in order to avoid early child marriages… And domestic violence because people are being forced to marry people they do not want… Obvious they lack respect and love. Also by teaching… Informing people how same sex marriage are prohibited from marrying each other. Also keeping them aware that no person may be compelled to enter into marriage against one’s will.

– Susan

Section 106(3) is of paramount importance to me. If I could successfully put that act of parliament into law, it would be an effective instrument used to account for the code of conduct for the so called powerful people of our country.

Tatenda

Section 18 – Fair Regional Representation. The challenge l am face at a local level is the subject of language barriers. Without interacting or having leaders who speak any of the official 16 languages l find it problematic in that for example Venda the majority of Zimbabweans so not know its existence as an official language on Zimbabwe. As to counter this l have co-opted a colleague who speaks in Venda, Nambya & Tonga. Ever since l am getting to grips with pronunciation then later writing.

– Edson

The section that matters the most for me is the human rights section. This is because am a social worker and there are underpinning values of social work that are clearly aligned with human rights. Social work is a profession that strives to value human dignity, as a social worker I find professional peace in bringing the worth of every person but in Zimbabwe we the dilapidated states of most hospitals, schools and children’s home this is become but a far fetched fantasy. So I would use this section to help bring better meaning and value to the social welfare of Zimbabweans and in that regard human rights are valued as well. March is Social Workers month, I would love to help the world see that social work and human rights are indispensable. At the moment as a social worker the child health status indicators tend to be worrisome. Infant mortality is on the increase and health is inaccessible. When a people have no hope in their well being they aren’t valued as humans. I feel addressing social problems will help us have a better Zimbabwe and in turn human rights are correctly valued.

Jane

Section 68 Right to administrative justice is the one that matters to me. It is so because it gives every Zimbabwean the right to approach any court when they feel that their right(s) have been violated. Sub-section 2 of that section mandates any authority to provide written feedback for any decision taken, which makes it easy when following up on an issue one is not happy with.

– Farai

The part of the constitution that matters most is how there are no rights for LGBT individuals. Esp the right to get married. This is important to me. As part of the LGBT community we have no protection meaning we lack basic human rights. The difference a part in this constitution would make is equality, freedom of expression and protections against prosecution, eviction and discrimination.

Andrea

About the Constitution of Zimbabwe my favourite section is Part 2 Fundamental Human Rights and Freedoms.

I firmly believe knowing your fundamental rights as enshrined in the Constitution is of paramount importance to any citizen for it clearly defines what is expected of you as an individual and what you can expect from the state. My reading of this part has greatly improved my understanding of what’s expected of me and what to expect from the state. My approach has been to raise awareness to my colleagues about this provision.

– Munyaradzi

Section 90 of the Constitution forms the basis upon which The President as the head of state and government must uphold, defend, obey and respect the Constitution meaning all other provisions of the Constitution have no value if the President does not adhere to Section 90. The Constitution has to look for the rights of the people of Zimbabwe – The human rights, the fundamental rights which are aligned even by the United Nations agendas – Like freedom of speech, freedom of demonstration, which can be used as a tool to hear the people’s voice, like at demonstrations and in petitions. The Constitution has to provide the opportunity for people to express and speak out, petition the government, and have a balance of Constitutionalism on that process. People need to be able to engage without fear, so that everyone is allowed to voice up, since we are the people of Zimbabwe. We are liberated and independent and have to have freedom of expression to give people your opinion.

Knowledge

Section 75. Right to Education: The section provides that every citizen and permanent resident of Zimbabwe has a right to basic state funded education including adult basic education. Due to the ongoing pandemic access to education as a right has been affected. The government is mandated to provide this right through state funding. This has not been the case as government is not providing education through e-learning. Egovernment systems need to be strengthened through “state funding” as provided for by the Constitution.

– Jani

Section 59 of the Constitution which entails the right to demonstrate. Over the years, this freedom of expression and demonstration is depleting and anyone dared to demonstrate will be crushed by arbitrary arrests and incarcerations eg Makomborero’s arrest. In line of this, I am conscientizing people to be vigilant and demonstrate whether alone or as a group as this is a constitutional right expressing one’s dissatisfaction. Little by little one day people will realize the people power is great.

Onias

Section of constitution most important to me: 2.1-2. Using it: It was fairly integral to regaining my citizenship despite people at the passport office doing their best to say I was ineligible. But more than that if 2.1-2 had been upheld in the country then we would not be in the dire state we find ourselves in today. And if we’re to see the majority of our issues resolved then we need to see 2.1-2 ‘reinstated’ and upheld as integral and foundational to Zimbabwe.

– Mitch

The constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment No.20 Act 2013 Article 33 emphasize on The Right To Education. As a parent and an education practitioner, this part is of much interest to me. However, every new suburb especially in Harare has quite a number of children who are deprived of this right due to poor planning by the council or who ever is responsible. These new suburbs have limited to no schools at all making it difficult for those poor families who can’t afford transport costs to nearby suburbs to have access to education. These children end up going to backdoor colleges which are not even registered and they risk all forms of abuse. The constitution is our key to force relevant authorities to act and save our children in all affected communities.

Tendai

The section that matters to me most is section 78 of the Constitution which says that only a person who is aged 18 and above has the right to found a family. This means that child marriage is not allowed in Zimbabwe because a child us defined as a person who is under the age of 18. However, section 22 of the Marriages Act Chapter 5:11 which allows the age of marriage for girls to be 16 is not yet repealed or removed from the law through legislative means. This section was declared unconstitutional in the Mudzuru Case in 2016 in the Constitutional Court.

The Marriages Bill was introduced in 2019 to cure this defect but until now it has not been passed.

Section 78 is therefore necessary to raise awareness as the supreme law obliges the legislative arm of the government to fix the issue and ensure that child marriages are declared illegal. Even more importantly child marriages are criminalised in the Marriages Bill. Therefore this information must be publicized such that when public consultations happen people are well informed and give positive feedback on the Bill. Especially because last time when it was discussed people only focused on the issue of domestic partnerships only instead of the scourge of child marriages.

– Bridget

Section 51 – The right to dignity. This is the ultimate right for me. If this right is respected and protected most if not all our rights will equally be protected. As Zimbabweans our dignity has been desecrated and section 51 can be used to advance protection of other rights.

Paidamoyo

Section 50 (1) d of the Constitution states that a person who has been arrested: “must be released unconditionally, or on reasonable conditions, pending a charge or trial, unless there are compelling reasons justifying their continued detention.”

One of the cornerstones of democracy and constitutionalism is the citizen’s right to liberty. In a criminal justice system it is the underlining connotation of due process. One must be presumed innocent for an alleged offence until proven guilty by a competent court of law.

Section117 (1) of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act provides that a person who is in custody in respect of an offence shall be entitled to be released on bail at any time after he or she has appeared in court on a charge and before sentence is imposed, unless the court finds that it is in the interests of justice that he or she should be detained in custody.

The Constitution protects the right to liberty more than the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act. This is a discrepancy that needs to be resolved. Bail is a right.

As a young lawyer I have been raising awareness on the right to liberty, rights of arrested and detained people using the WhatsApp platform. As Social and Economic Justice Ambassador with Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD) I have been coaching other fellow ambassadors. I also empower pro-democracy activists with the same knowledge as they are at high risk of being targeted. As a committee member for Young Lawyers Association of Zimbabwe (YLAZ) an association whose one of the main goals is to promote the rule of law and working closely with the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights we have been raising awareness too on the rights of the accused and detained people. Also published an article on a blog The Law Hub.

– Mufaro

Section 56 (equality clause). This section seeks to disqualify all forms of discrimination and this elevates the status of women especially. I have been teaching women in my community not to let opportunities pass by on the basis of their sex and to fight for their rights. This has helped on addressing matrimonial disputes, custody of children and labour issues. Currently, I am dealing with a number of males who think that they can never be awarded custody of a minor female despite the circumstances of the case. So the equality clause helps me to educate citizens that they are equal before the law and ought to be treated that way.

Norest

Section 19 of the Constitution matters most to me since it focuses on Children. l believe that even though l am seventeen years old, a lot of changes can be made by the community, l believe that children are the future and they should be protected.

So, over the past years, society has been viewing children as if they are less important, as if they do not have rights. Since most children do not know their rights, they end up being abused. Many children cannot even remember the last time they had decent nutritious food. Each and everyday cases of child abuse are reported, kids are raped, they are even made to do tasks that are not of their age while they are physically and psychologically unfit.

Some children are not sent to school because the parents or guardians say that they cannot afford to send the children to school yet it is the right of every child to go to school even if they child is failing. Cases of child labour rise because the children are trying to find themselves food, they want to earn a living or it is because they are told to contribute to the family.

I strongly believe that we shouldn’t wait for each and every child to experience the for us to take action, action should be taken now and save children. Malcom X says: “the future belongs to those who prepare for it.” Children are the future and they should be prepared for tomorrow through education, good health, shelter and many more.

In the family, school and community, children should be fully protected do that they can survive, grow, learn and develop to their fullest potential. Millions of children are not fully protected ,many of them have to deal with violence, abuse, neglect, exploitation, exclusion and or discrimination everyday.

What need to be done is for each and every member of the community to assisting in preserving children’s rights. By community we also mean the schools, the churches and the people in it. Strict measures need to get put that will guard children against the dangers they face. There should be strong and passionate social workers who ensure that each and every child is safe and well taken care of. The police should also take action whenever a report is made and they should investigate. The community should allow children to be themselves, teach the child to be aware of what’s happening around and let them socialize with others. Members of the family should also be educated on child Rights and teach the children the Rights they have.

We should encourage children’s participation in matters that affect their lives. Build Children’s capacities to participate effectively. Organise meetings of children with school authorities, Discuss child Rights with the parents in the PTA meetings.

Children have what we call the 5P’s when it comes to protection: Prevention, Paramountry, Partnership, Protection and Parental Responsibility.

In schools: there should be trained staff who can identify signs of abuse including what to do if they or someone else is worried about a child. There should be a designated teacher responsible for dealing with child protection and also procedures for checking stuff before they work with children. There should be a child protection policy which includes procedures to be followed if a teacher or other member or staff is accused of having abused a child. Schools should teach children how to protect themselves and others. This is because most of the time children are at school so they need to be equipped with the knowledge.

I strongly believe that the above points can create a society that is fair and safe for everyone regardless of age, race, sex or political views. Children need to be protected, they can’t look after themselves so they look up to the parents, guardians, teachers, police, the community, the government, the legislature.

– Munashe

The section which matters most to me is the Declaration of rights section – Human rights and freedoms. I would want to talk about equality and non discrimination. This is very important to me because very person deserves to be treated fairly without discrimination according to race nationality religion gender disability political affliction etc. As a young lady I have seen many people for example the physically challenged being unfairly discriminated. I would want our public sector e. g Zupco buses to cater for those using wheelchairs because the stairs make it difficult for the physically challenged to board the buses, as they will need people to lift them.

Tanatswa

The section of the constitution that matters the most to me is Section 73 – Environmental rights

This section encourages and allows me to demand and advocate to have the environment protected for the sustainable usage of the natural resources.

A safe environment is one where we are not on the brink of a Cholera outbreak. This means we have the right to demand better waste management services from the City Council and Government.

It goes against our right to have no water and to live in areas that have become dumpsites.

The goods and services provided by the natural environment include habitats such as wetlands which assist in purifying water, storage of water as well as protection from floods. This is something that is definitely needed in Harare as this will even help City Council cut on some costs but overall see to the well being of so many households.

This right allows us to fight against activities such as development on wetlands, mining in protected areas and deforestation for non-essential purposes.

We are dependent on the environment and to be safe from floods and diseases we need the environment itself to be healthy.

– Tendai

I love section 59 because it empowers us as citizens to demand accountability from the duty bearers as well as voice our concern over mis-governance through petitions and demonstrations.

Janet

The section of the Constitution most important to me is Chapter 4, Part 2, clause 62 on Access to information. I believe the most crucial enabler of meaningful participation is access to information. This is so because without unfiltered access to information, citizens can’t make appropriate decisions.

A challenge my community in Zimbabwe and globally faces now is fake news. Coupled with insincerity of certain governing bodies, citizens are unable to meaningfully contribute to their livelihood and wider development of their nations. As a result, citizens are trapped in a web of corruption, misinformation and lack of transparency which I believe Access to information can solve. Through adequate information by public and other private entities, fake news can be barred. In my opinion Information is also the most key resource because it’s through it that one can know of all their other promised freedoms. You can’t demand accountability of your government if you don’t know you have the right to do so.

Going local, in my community we have a challenge of service provision. Water supply and Refuse collection are deep challenges as you never know when rationed water will be available or refuse will be collected. This poses a serious problem as far as health and hygiene are concerned. Efforts to reach out and get information on rationing schedules are met with contempt and not responded to, causing chaos in many livelihoods. A local authority concerned with its citizens and respectful of their right to information will keep us appraised and curb the risk of outbreaks such as cholera and typhoid.

– Taurai

As a Zimbabwean once detained without cause by our police officers and deprived by my lack of knowledge of my rights as a detained citizen am passionate about educating fellow Zimbabweans on Section 50 of the Zimbabwean Constitution which seeks to afford rights to arrested and detained persons.

Wayne

Constitution section that matters a lot for me is Section 20. In the past few years, I used to interact with so many students and youths in different programs and activities. I enjoyed a close relationship with my fellow colleagues where they came to share their problems, experiences and talents. During this period, I observed that something is missing in their lives as the youth, something beyond a full stomach: dignity and self identity.

Most of the youths, either students or not, did not have the confidence to pursue their dreams, they did not have the knowledge on how to develop their dream and make it a reality. They are poorly prepared to take on adulthood positions, the resources are not readily available for them to pursue their dream. In all, they didn’t know how to plan their life and self-establishment in the community.

I then asked myself a ‘simple’ question, should we give these youth a warehouse full of ideas to pursue their dreams? Is this really a sustainable act? I then think that we have to start a youth-led organisation wherein young people maximize their potentials in development that affect their lives through enhancing their capabilities and enabling them to affirm control over their life circumstances. We can unleash their creative potentials and we have to give them the chance to experience that they can and will be important contributors in their surroundings. We are supposed to give them confidence, dignity and identity to believe in their dreams and never allow their background but their back on the ground.

Young people in Zimbabwe can aim for the top in any area of life they feel passionate about. For instance, I want them to learn to celebrate their differences by discovering their own purpose. I want them to become pathfinders, and to be able to create their own identities, with the renewal of their minds.

Therefore, we need to bridge the gap in the life of youth by developing their entrepreneurship, leadership skills and societal participation through different projects. I strongly believe that change is possible in my country Zimbabwe where youth from different backgrounds and with different disabilities are not judged by their background but are admired for their courage to express their real identity. I wish a Zimbabwe where both marginalized and better youth are able to confidently voice their reasonable and critical thoughts. Our Zimbabwe wherein the young people feel part of conscious development in which they participate.

– Learnmore

Chapter 1 part 7: The State must promote public awareness of this Constitution. This is of importance that 8 years after we adopted the new constitution but it have not reached in all corners of Zimbabwe. In this regard there is need for continuous awareness of the constitution including simplified versions that can be understood by ordinary citizens. This will empower citizens to make informed decisions.

Kunashe

There are so many sections of the Constitution that are important to me for different reasons. For example, if we ask which provision could we not possibly do with out, I might choose section 2 because all other provisions of the constitution draw their strength from section 2 which establishes the supremacy of the constitution…but if we ask which provision is so unique that it could and should draw global attention and set Zimbabwean constitutional jurisprudence as the gold standard, I might go with section 44 which creates radical positive obligations to promote and fulfil human rights not only on the state but also on private persons, which in the age of globalisation, positions Zimbabwe to be at the forefront of developing the law of business and human rights. Our constitution is also a global leader on enshrining justiciable socio-economic rights like the rights to education, healthcare, food and water, which if implemented, have the potential to change people’s lived experiences of their every day life…or we might look to minds us of our core values: the rule of law, the inherent dignity and worth of every human being and that the government’s authority to govern is derived from us, the people…

But alas, I know I must not be difficult and must settle on one. And so in light of your second question, I’m going to settle on section 67(2)(d) which says:

“…every Zimbabwean citizen has the right to participate, individually or collectively, in gatherings or groups or in any other manner, in peaceful activities to influence, challenge or support the policies of the Government or any political or whatever cause.”

It’s a fairly unusual provision, which as far as I can tell, is unique to Zimbabwe’s constitution. It’s not necessarily absolutely essential in a technical legal sense, in that the rights it protects are largely covered elsewhere by other more traditional rights like the right to demonstrate, freedom of assembly, freedom of expression, freedom of conscience etc.

But what section 67(2)(d) does is that it plants in the very heart of the supreme law of the land an idea: that the citizen can use creative nonviolent action to further any cause. Any cause whatsoever. Using any peaceful means. The right even starts to actively prompt the citizen with some ideas. You could do it alone, or in pairs, or in millions. You could gather or don’t gather: how about we all stay at home? Wait, that’s not all, you can use “any other manner” to further your cause: how about you release some helium balloons with your solidarity message on it? Or, or, or what if you pull out your pockets and go about your business with them hanging out to protest that you’re not getting paid? Remember you can use the right to “influence, challenge or support” – call out what’s bad, promote what’s good. And do it for a “cause”. Take a moment to think through: what is our cause? What do we want to achieve? How best can we achieve it?

You see, the beauty of section 67(2)(d) is that it doesn’t just say: “here’s your right figure out how to use it.” It actually puts some flesh on the right. It gives you an instruction manual for how to exercise it. And it almost urges you to be creative, to come up with new and unique ways of doing things. To mix it up. When demonstrating or voting didn’t work, don’t throw your hands up and say there is nothing we can do. Go back to the drawing board and try again. And that is why it matters most to me.

How could you use this section to address a challenge you are currently facing, or make a difference in your community?

My community, the people of Zimbabwe, are currently ruled by a tiny elite of evil men and women who use colonial institutions and laws to brutally oppress the people so that they can continue to extract all of the national resources for the benefit of themselves and keep the majority in abject poverty and feeling utterly powerless. The problem is that my community has tried a bunch of things to change the situation, and each time it hasn’t worked. At times we feel hopeless and helpless.

Enter section 67(2)(d).

Section 67(2)(d), picks me and my comrades up, dusts us off, and says:

“Don’t give up, citizen, try again. Try something else; perhaps a different tactic. Get creative. Work collectively with your fellow citizens. Build a movement. Make sure you think through carefully: what is your cause? My brother section 3(2)(f) says that the state has an obligation to respect you because authority to govern is derived from you guys, the people. That seems like a pretty good cause to fight for. My sister section 2 says that me and my homeboys and girls, The Constitution, are the supreme law and that these silly other “laws” your rulers are using to try and stop you from using me and my homeboys and girls to further your cause are not even laws at all. So keep pushing. Keep influencing the direction and bending that long arc of history towards justice, keep challenging what’s bad and wrong and unjust, and keep supporting what’s good and right and just. You can do it. We can do it, together.

– Doug

According to the constitution of Zimbabwe chapter4 part 3 section 80 each and every women has got the right to equality between men that is to say equality in political economic, social and other phases of life. This is my favorite part of the Constitution as it is non discriminatory and it promotes equal chances of success among men and women.

The section of the Constitution that matters most to me is the section on Women’s Rights and The Rights of the Child. Women and children are the most vulnerable in any society and upholding their rights is the only means to the end of transition to a democratic society.

Firstly, women make up more than half of the population, hence sustainable development can only be achieved if, and only if, this population group is empowered and their rights upheld. Thus, women play an integral role in the social fabric of a country and the socio-economic and political development thereof. If women’s rights are not upheld, the dream of a democratic society will remain illusory and sustainable development goals will be a mammoth task to achieve.

Finally, children are the most vulnerable population group in a society and it is imperative that all development and relief intervention project should put this group at the centre of their programming. To ensure intergenerational justice, we must protect the rights of the Child and ensure their full development, physically, cognitively, and emotionally for future economic growth and development.

Clemence

Chapter 1 section 6:4 states that “The State must promote and advance the use of all languages used in Zimbabwe, including sign language, and must create conditions for the development of those languages.” As a young person this section is very important to me as a young person to implore the government to make information accessible to everyone.

Tanyaradzwa

The most important section for me in the Constitution of Zimbabwe is section 68 which speaks to the right to administrative justice. This section provides for the right to administrative conduct that is lawful, prompt, efficient and reasonable and where an administrative decision is made such a person must be given the reasons for such conduct.

This section is of great significance as administrative justice is a crucial part of our democracy designed to prevent and shield the public from harm, inefficient administration as well as ensure equal justice for all citizens through the legal and judicial system.

This provision can be used to make a change in the community that we live in because any government institution, agency and department that does not recognize this right can be hold to account. The biggest challenge that we are facing as a community and nation at large is constant abuse of power and office which in turn violates a number of rights of the general citizenry. Thus, this provision is an important safeguard against abuse of power and abuse of office by government agencies, institutions and departments.

– Edward

Section 61(4) is my somewhat unusual favourite – the obligation for state media to provide a diversity of opinions. State media has dominated Rhodesian and Zimbabwean culture and information for some 6 decades and is one of the principal reasons why we have so much corruption and abuse of power. I have no doubt that when this provision is truly respected Zimbabwe will become a far more enlightened society – and everything flows from that.

David

Thank you for this platform and what you are doing with the constitutional awareness program.

I am in awe of our bill of rights but somehow I feel some of the sections are for window dressing. In particular the Second or is it third generation rights which I believe address mostly social and environment rights.

Of importance to me is the right to water. Having grown up in the ghetto of Chitungwiza I have experienced firth hand the challenges posed by the lack of access to clean, potable and safe water. We haven’t had running water for nearly a decade and half of not two decades resulting In citizens resorting to unsafe and unclean water from unprotected sources and sometimes having to walk distances to the nearest council borehole where they spend hours on end in queues. I feel like the government has neglected its duty to provide citizens of many locations with access to safe, clean and potable water as enshrined in section 77 of the constitution. The state has neglected the duty to local authorities thereby neglecting its duty to take reasonable legislative and other measures, within the limits of resources available to it, to ensure the realization of the right to water.

I’m sorry I have waffled but this is a section close to my heart which I feel the State should do its utmost best to uphold. As an individual I can only raise awareness of the right to water but the state has to play its part by at least trying to make sure that citizens have access to clean, safe and potable water.

Section 51 of the constitution stands out for me perfectly as it guarantees my Rights to Human Dignity. Me being a teacher in my community has made me lose dignity due to our very low wages and it’s a public secret that teachers are now associated with poverty. So I think if teachers are restored and have our dignity respected and protected this will go a long way in ensuring that the education sector is respected once again. Furthermore if ordinary people in my community are well equipped with knowledge of their right to dignity they will have to be treated in a dignified way through availability of running water, better roads and refuse collection. This will show they are well respected and protected of their dignity.

Will

Section 119 Role of Parliament: Parliament must protect this Constitution and promote democratic governance in Zimbabwe. We are currently struggling to be heard as youth. Then I would dedicate part of my time to investigate the relationship between Parliament, the citizens and how dialogue and representation would help us to be heard. This is to say I sometimes engage in different discussions with the elderly and the youth to find the gap between and how we can be heard and would also dedicate my time to educate some of elderly about the importance of choosing representatives wisely and that means Members of Parliament should be chosen on the basis of competence not partisanship.

Section 2 Supremacy of the constitution is my favourite. Because it declares the power the constitution has over any laws subsidiary to it, meaning it is the one that confers its supreme powers to any laws, customs or practices if they are ultra vires then it’s not lawful. I like to describe the Constitution as the skeleton of the body and any laws subsidiary to it are the flesh.

274 Urban Local Authorities (5) maters very importantly to me. This section maters to me because it gives the people constitutional powers to govern themselves at a local level and to be able to have leaders directly accountable to voters. Protection of freedom of expression. This section gives and empowers me to express myself in a freely and democratic manner.

– Charles

My favorite section of the constitution has to be section 44 which states the duty for state and individuals alike to respect people’s rights. I use this to make a difference by penning different articles in papers showing where States gets it wrong by violating this section and others and how they ought to have handled it in order to respect the rights of the citizens. I also aim to educate people on their rights as enshrined in the Constitution so they know their responsibilities and the extent to which the state can act against them.

Edward

The section of the Constitution that matters the most to me is: Section 298, on Principles of Financial Management. I believe to make a difference in my community of Victoria Falls, I would raise awareness on our public finances and mobilize citizens to advocate for transparent and prudent financial management. Secondly when citizens are fully aware of the provisions of Section 298, particularly sub-section 1 (b) (i) and (ii), they will be able to demand a tax system that works for them, particularly women in the rural outskirts of Victoria Falls. Sub section b (ii) will galvanize citizens voices towards the implementation of devolution and national development.

– Nomqhele

My favorite section in the constitution is Chapter 14, Section 264 on Devolution of Power and Government Responsibilities. This section empowers youths in my resource rich area to have a direct control of access and control of resources in the Zambezi Valley. As a development player, I use this section for community mobilization and empowerment on the role and responsibilities of youths in Natural resource governance.

Mgicini

I’m inspired by Section 59 of the Constitution that gives every Zimbabwean a right to demonstrate and petition. As a Student Activist and a Human Rights Defender, I have been educating my peers at school about all they need to know about the section. Most people don’t know that it’s their right to freely demonstrate whenever they feel any injustice in their motherland. I have been also showing them the Section and teach them that as long as their demonstration is free from violence and any other riotous activities, it is within the confines of the law and it is allowed. If a get a chance to win the t-shirt it will be easy for me to educate not only the University of Zimbabwe community where I’m learning but also to make a difference as I engage people in my community through easily showing them the section which would be written on my t shirt. The community has been since perverted by fear of constitutionally exercising their rights as enshrined in the Constitution due to arbitrary arrest of a lot of Activist, I being also a victim. I have been and I will also get to teach them that they should never be afraid to do what the Constitution guarantees them to do.

– Allan

Section 62 of the Constitution guarantees Zimbabweans access to information from public administrative bodies and institutions. Only an informed citizenry can demand transparency and accountability.

Chioneso

The section that matters most to me is section 61 Freedom of expression and freedom of the media. I could use this section to advocate for mental health using social media and create a platform which can help children cope with mental health issues like depression which most parents are not taking into consideration because most parents believe their children cannot be depressed because they are too young to be depressed these issues are looked over until they get out of hand, hence the social media campaign would include blog pieces and discussions on twitter and Facebook about mental health.

– Charlotte

My favorite section of the constitution is section 76 (1) which affords every citizen the right to have access to basic health care services. This is my favourite section because of my passion to ensure that sexual and gender minority groups have access to health care. Also known as a key populations, they have been deprived their right to access their health which has seen them to continue to be disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS hence poor life and death.

Phathisani

Section 12 (1) of the Constitution speaks about national interest and respect for international law for national interests. It says “… the foreign policy of Zimbabwe, must be based on the following principles, the promotion and protection of the national interests of Zimbabwe, respect for international law, peaceful coexistence with other nations, and the settlement of international disputes by peaceful means”. And from my view Zimbabwe doesn’t need a new law/bill like Patriot Bill, our constitution got us covered. My community should know that and must not allow the passing of the proposed Patriot bill. Patriotism can be achieved through a national cohesion not by cohesive force.

– Learnmore

Section 73 of the Constitution. It emphasizes the need for conservation and utilisation of resources for present and future generations. The environment is our present and our future. We have to be good stewards of it in all we do, including what the Government ought to emphasise on.

Source: Kubatana