Friday, March 30, 2012
Friday, 30 March 2012 00:00
Tendai Mugabe Senior Reporter
COPAC has not yet produced a draft to the new Constitution as the document produced does not qualify for that status, Secretary for Media, Information and Publicity Mr George Charamba has said.
Addressing the Joint Command and Staff Course Number 25 on the role of the media and information in promoting nation-building and economic development at the Zimbabwe Staff College in Harare yesterday, Mr Charamba described the Copac document as an ‘‘attempted draft’’.
He said Copac should come up with a consensual document that will be submitted to the management committee.
The management committee is made up of negotiators to the inter-party dialogue that gave birth to the Global Political Agreement and the inclusive Government.
After interrogating the document, Mr Charamba said, the management committee would in turn submit it to the principals. The document will, on reaching the principals, assume the status of the draft constitution.
“What we have are mere drafts of drafts, way away from a draft for the management committee, let alone for principals,” he said.
“We do not have a draft Constitution. Copac has its own motions going on and they do not have a document they can have consensus on. They have certain issues they are referring to the management committee, which is the second level.
“Because Copac does not have a consensual document to forward to the Management Committee, what they have cannot be given the status of a draft Constitution.”
Mr Charamba said some clauses in the “so-called” draft Constitution were questionable.
The clauses, he said, sought to relegate Zimbabwe from its sovereign status to a non-State governed by foreign laws.
“If one were to go by the draft, one would get a sense of a country about to retreat from a nation, doing so in two contradictory ways.
“Centrifugally by anticipating secession presently couched as devolution. Call it a retreat to narrow forms of political and social foci. Globally by turning itself into a non-State governed by international law players.”
He said the media should critique the draft Constitution rather than focusing on peripheral issues.
Mr Charamba said a proper Constitution should not try to settle political scores, but should be timeless.
He said devolution being pushed for in the draft Constitution was impossible in a unitary State like Zimbabwe.
On freedom of expression, Mr Charamba said media organisations needed to be regulated as they have the capacity to injure freedom of expression.
“Media organisations can indeed undermine freedom of expression, which is why their protection under any Constitution must be conditional.
“Our drafters appear to be missing this most elementary point. What should be unconditionally protected is freedom of expression as a human right but never as an organisational right.”
Transmedia chairman Dr Paul Chimedza said they had intensified efforts to ensure radio and television transmission signals reached all parts of Zimbabwe.
He said traditionally marginalised border towns such as Plumtree and Beitbridge were connected to radio signals last year.
“We have now realised the importance for every Zimbabwean to receive radio and television transmission signals.
“We have done that in Plumtree, Beitbridge and Victoria Falls,” he said.
He said Transmedia was preparing for community radio stations across Zimbabwe.
“We realised that lack of transmission creates a vacuum and that vacuum will be filled by pirate stations which are hostile to the country.
“People will end up listening to pirate radio stations, not because they love them but because there will be no option,” said Dr Chimedza.
He said although they received substantial funding from the Government, they had devised other ways of making money.
Herald deputy editor Caesar Zvayi and Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation general manager (programming) Allan Chiweshe were also part of the Joint Command and Staff Course Number 25.