New Zimbabwe.com

Most Zimbabweans still ignorant of own constitution – survey

By Bulawayo Correspondent


A recent survey carried out by a local NGO has revealed that the majority of Zimbabweans are not knowledgeable about their country’s constitution.

The survey was conducted by the Civic Engagement for Accountability and Democracy in Zimbabwe (CEADZ).

The “civic engagement and constitutional literacy survey, which was conducted in all the country’s 10 provinces also revealed that Matabeleland North has the highest levels of constitutional awareness while Manicaland recorded the least levels of awareness.

“In general, Zimbabweans are not aware or knowledgeable about the 2013 Constitution,” reads the survey findings which were released on Thursday in Bulawayo.

“Almost half (41%) of the respondents reported that they had never heard of the Constitution and 68 % reported they had never heard of the Declaration of Rights which sets out the fundamental rights and freedoms of Zimbabweans.”

According the report, constitutional awareness levels differed by age, education and geographical location.

“Only 45% of the respondents aged 18 to 35 years reported being aware of the Constitution, while 70 % of those aged 36 to 55 reported being aware.

“Respondents resident in Matabeleland North reported high levels of constitutional awareness (70 %) while those in Manicaland reported the least levels (41). Zimbabweans’ levels of knowledge about the provisions of the constitution are extremely low,” the survey revealed.

The survey further noted that despite Zimbabweans’ limited knowledge and awareness on their supreme law, they still valued the need to acquire the necessary knowledge about the constitution.

“A significant number of respondents (91%) thought it is very important to have knowledge about constitutional and legal rights. Most respondents prioritised civic and socio-economic rights, namely rights to life, personal liberty, education, health, food and water,” says the report.

The survey which was conducted with a nationally representative sample of 1 200 adult Zimbabweans who were selected on a random basis indicated that a large proportion of locals have little to no knowledge of governance institutions and processes.

“More than a third (37 %) of the respondents did not know anything about the role and responsibilities of Parliament.

“Almost half (47%) did not know about the roles and responsibilities of the Executive. Half of the respondents thought the President and Cabinet were the sole sources of State power, almost one in ten (9%) thought it was the military,” reads the results of the study.

The view that the President and Cabinet are sole sources of State power was more prevalent in rural areas and among women.

CEAZA is a consortium of civic organisations which include Pact Zimbabwe, Youth Empowerment and Transformation Trust (YETT) and Women’s Coalition in Zimbabwe (WCOZ).