Zimbabweans largely ignorant of the 2013 Constitution

Governance

More than three quarters of Zimbabweans do not know about the Constitution enacted in May 2013 to replace the 33-year-old Lancaster House Charter. The new supreme law was overwhelmingly and peacefully approved in a referendum in March 2013 in which half of the adult population turned out to vote. Close to one and half years after this historic event, the latest Afro barometer survey in Zimbabwe reveals that more than three quarters of the country’s citizens (78%) either know nothing or very little about their national constitution.

The survey then posed a question about what can be done to enable more Zimbabweans to know about their constitution and almost half of the surveyed respondents believe that the constitution has to be translated into local languages and make copies available to all Zimbabweans.

The findings provide a solid case for urging the government and other stakeholders, including the media and civil society organisations, to disseminate the supreme law to the country’s citizens. Without such interventions, the Constitution will simply remain a meaningless paper
document for most of its citizens who will be unable to fully enjoy their rights as defined in the charter. To enjoy constitutionally enshrined rights, one first has to know them. And nearly eight in ten Zimbabweans presently do not.

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