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Minority rights, languages indaba begins

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THE National Aids Council, a coalition of various civil society organisations (CSOs), and Uluntu Ciisi Trust will today hold a one-day national indaba on minority rights and languages in Bulawayo.

Report by Sheryleen Masuku, Own Correspondent

Matabeleland Constitutional Reform Agenda director Effie Ncube yesterday said the indaba would host 60 people from across the country with various ethnic backgrounds, including Tonga, Suthu, Nambya and Kalanga.

“We are expecting various civil society groups and community leadership from various communities throughout the country, including the Shangaani, Ndau, Tonga and Sotho, to attend,” he said.

“We are going to interrogate the status of all minority languages in Zimbabwe and how this affects the political, social and economic status of people in Zimbabwe,” he said.

“We want to generate a position document to inform the Constitutional Parliamentary Select Committee (Copac) and other international advocacy agendas on minority rights and languages in Zimbabwe.”

Ncube said the document would be available after the meeting and would be submitted to the government, Copac and relevant United Nations agencies.

The Copac draft constitution states that everyone has a right to use the language and to participate in the cultural life of their choice, but no one exercising this right could do so in any way that is inconsistent with the governance charter.

CSOs and various stakeholders have raised a number of concerns over minority languages and ethnic groups since the release of the proposed draft constitution.

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