Why Vote Yes?
The new national draft Constitution of Zimbabwe is 175 pages long. It is complex and was negotiated over nearly 4 years, 1 million people were consulted on the fundamental principles they wanted recognised in the Constitution. In the end not everyone got what they wanted and the final draft is a compromise, thrashed out between the three main political Parties.
Why vote yes in the referendum on Saturday?
Here are my reasons:
1. Although it is a compromise, it is a very much better Constitution than the one it replaces and it lays down a wide range of reforms that will pave the way to an election in a few months time that will decide our future.
2. It recognised me as a citizen with full rights before the law, with the full protection of the law and protection against any form of discrimination. For the first time, I can go into the future as a real African, a Citizen of Zimbabwe.
3. It guarantees all my basic rights and freedoms, the freedom of speech and association, the right to shelter, livelihood, dignity, education and health.
4. It will never again allow a leader, to stay too long in power and will require regular changes of leadership through democratic means that will ensure accountability and the constant renewal of our political leadership.
5. It will reduce the power of the President and the Executive, give more power and greater autonomy to Parliament and the Judiciary, while at the same time making them all more transparent and accountable in all that they do in the exercise of their duties and responsibilities.
6. It devolves power and resources away from the Capital, Harare to all parts of Zimbabwe and allows for the equitable distribution of both power and resources to the Provinces, Districts and Wards. It allows local government structures more freedom and autonomy while granting them more responsibility and the capacity to deliver services to the people they serve.
7. It protects the family, the rights of children and women and all disadvantaged groups and minorities in our society. For the first time the nations basic laws will grant women the full rights and responsibilities of citizenship and guarantees their place as co-equals to men in all spheres of the State.
8. It entrenches property rights and the rule of law and will never again allow the violation of these rights by the majority over minority interests.
9. New Commissions, operating independently from the State, will assume responsibility for oversight and supervision of the armed forces, the police service, human rights and senior appointments in the senior levels of public administration while being accountable to Parliament.
10. It ensures that the national security services in all their different forms will never again be allowed to abuse the rights of the people and will in future be required to be accountable, not only to the Executive, but to the people and Parliament.
That is why I will vote 'YES' on Saturday at my nearest polling station.
Bulawayo 9th March 2013