More than three quarters of Zimbabwean do not know about the country’s new supreme law, a new research has shown.
The country’s new constitution was enacted in May 2013, replacing the Lancaster House constitution which had gone through nineteen amendments.
However, close to one and a half years later, the latest Afro barometer survey has revealed that about three quarters of Zimbabweans know little or nothing about the new constitution.
The results are quite interesting considering that the new supreme law was overwhelmingly endorsed in a referendum in march 2013 in which half of the country’s adult population voted.
Presenting the findings to media practitioners in Bulawayo, Mass Public Opinion Institute official Stephen Ndoma, said the findings provide a solid case for urging the government and other stakeholders to disseminate the supreme law to the citizen.
“Without such interventions, the Constitution will simply remain a meaningless paper document for most of its citizens who will be unable to enjoy their rights as defines in the charter. To enjoy constitutionally enshrined rights, one first has to know them and presently nearly eight in ten Zimbabweans presently do not,” said Ndoma.
The research revealed that, three out of 10 adult Zimbabweans (30%) indicated that they know-nothing at all while almost half (48%) said they know a little bit about the new national charter. Only one in five (16%) of the respondents said they know the country’s supreme law.
Both urban and rural dwellers have limited knowledge about the country’s supreme law but about one in four (26%) of urbanites and almost one in three (32%) rural dwellers conceded absolute ignorance about the national charter, the findings showed.
Almost half of the respondents (49%) believe that the new constitution has to be translated into local languages and copies made available to all Zimbabweans in order to enable theme to have more knowledge about the national charter.
Afro barometer is an African-led, non partisan network that conducts public attitude surveys on democracy, governance, economic conditions and related issues across more that 30 countries in Africa.