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Hope reignited as Zimbabwe constitution making finally kicks off

06-18-2010 16:26 BJT

By Gretinah Machingura

HARARE, June 17 (Xinhua) -- Zimbabweans are looking forward to airing their views on the new constitution following the launch of the outreach program by Zimbabwean leaders in Harare on Wednesday this week.

The outreach program, which is meant to gather people's views on the new constitution, is expected to last about two months and people in the country are cherishing this once in a lifetime opportunity to define and shape their future and that of future generations.

Riddled by false starts since July last year owing to squabbles over the composition of the outreach teams, talking points to shape the hearings, donor funding and other issues, the utmost assurance was given on Wednesday when President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara appeared together and jointly launched the outreach program.

A total of 70 outreach teams will be deployed countrywide on Monday next week for at least 65 days to gather views of the public on the new constitution which will replace the negotiated 1979 Lancaster House constitution.

To many, this is the critical stage of the constitution making process and Constitutional Affairs minister Eric Matinenga even acknowledged that at the launch.

"We are now at the critical stage, the outreach stage. This is the stage in my view which makes this particular process particularly people driven and all inclusive," he said in his preamble.

Media practitioner Felix Samuriwo could not hide his joy on the final prospect of Zimbabwe having a home grown constitution.

"I am very much excited about it (launch of outreach program) because it gives us a chance, a once in a life time chance to write a new constitution for Zimbabwe since it got independence from Britain in 1980," Samuriwo said.

To him, this was Zimbabwe's rare and very own chance to redefine its future, discard the Lancaster House constitution because "it was not a constitution but an agreement which led to the independence of our country."

"So this is our very chance, the only chance we have to address the future of generations to come," he said.

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