By Farai Matiashe
Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi has launched a constitutional education awareness programme aimed at making the Constitution available to citizens in the country’s 16 official languages.
The Constitution has been available in English language only, which has been considered a barrier to many Zimbabweans, particularly those in rural areas.
But the Justice ministry recently partnered with the Zimbabwe Catholics Bishops Conference to make the Constitution available in all official languages, on the eve of the 2013 Constitution turning six.
Launching the document in Harare yesterday, Ziyambi said the idea was to ensure that citizens would have a better understanding of the law that governs them.
“Today’s launch is a culmination of our concerted efforts to ensure a just and democratic society where the citizens of Zimbabwe have a full and unfettered appreciation of the law that governs them,” he said.
“The launch of this strategic document epitomises our firm commitment to our duty to promote and uphold our Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land. The Constitution regulates how the country operates as it stipulates individuals and organisations, rights, limitations, duties and expectations, among other things. Accordingly, the necessity of laying the groundwork for its dissemination becomes vital.”
Ziyambi encouraged those citizens who access and understand the Constitution to help educate others so that they get to know their rights.
The minister said for every individual to enjoy and exercise their constitutional rights fully, there was need for translating it into all official languages.
He said Zimbabwe might have a good Constitution on paper, but education remained a challenge.
“Its implementation should be coupled with adherence to the provisions of the rest of Constitution thereby promoting peace, good governance and stability in our nation,” Ziyambi said.
He said disseminating translated versions of the Constitution would afford the citizenry an opportunity to be able to own a document in a language of their choice, and in turn be well-informed of their constitutional rights and obligations.
Section 7(a) of the Constitution stipulates that the State should promote public awareness of the Constitution, in particular by translating it into all officially recognised languages and disseminating it as widely as possible.