‘Promote constitution to fight corruption’
ACTING President Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday called for the promotion of the constitution in all sectors of the economy saying it is a vital document in fighting rampant corruption and nepotism in both public and private organisations.
The Acting President, who is also the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, was in Bulawayo for a constitution advocacy meeting.
He said the country’s good constitution only becomes a useful document when it is promoted to ensure that all people adhere to it.
“Principles of public administration and leadership are vital in the wake of ugly vices manifesting themselves through nepotism, rampant corruption in local authorities, rent seeking tendencies in the allocation of vital amenities such as housing and industrial stands.
“We may have a good constitution, but it only becomes a living and helpful document when we promote it amongst ourselves. The promotion of the constitution will subsequently ensure that we adhere to it, hence promoting peace and stability in the nation.”
He said the principles of public administration were important in guiding local authorities in their provision of services.
“In order that City Fathers of metropolitan cities such as Bulawayo adhere to dictates of Chapter 9 of the constitution, central government has put in place policy measures such as salary caps.
“Moreover, the Government is working on a public sector corporate governance framework which is based in law to ensure that good corporate governance is practised in our local authorities,” said Acting President Mnangagwa.
He added that the Government had also scaled up efforts to fight corruption of any kind by streamlining the role of the anti corruption watchdog under the oversight of the Office of the President and Cabinet.
The Acting President explained the provisions of the constitution, saying his ministry’s mandate was to provide vital information, which will improve people’s knowledge on the constitution.
He said, unlike the Lancaster House constitution, the current constitution provides for an expanded Bill of Rights incorporating socio-economic, cultural and environmental rights as well as protecting vulnerable groups.
“The rights are binding on all persons, including juristic persons, all branches, agencies and institutions of the State.
“The judiciary is obliged to consider virtually every issue in order to purposefully and liberally give effect to the rights and freedoms set out,” he said.
Yesterday’s outreach meeting in Bulawayo coincided with Acting President Mnangagwa’s birthday.
The Zimbabwe National Army Band played a surprise birthday song for the Acting President who turned 70 yesterday, creating excitement among the participants, who included senior government officials, members of different religious groupings, civic and non-governmental organisations, the provincial Joint Operation Command and youths.
The Acting President said the country will not revert to pre-colonial boundaries but will uphold the spirit of a unitary state cherished by Zimbabweans and enshrined in the constitution.
He said those pushing for the disintegration of the country were working against the constitution.
He was responding to sentiments raised by a member of the Mthwakazi Liberation Front Mr John Gazi who, in a plenary session, complained over labels against the party’s calls for secession as being enemies of the government.
“We are not up to dividing the country but uniting it in a certain way.
“I’m one of the defenders of this government, more than some in the government but we are labelled antigovernment when we express sentiments,” said Mr Gazi who said the basis of their calls was the sidelining of Matabeleland region in development issues.
In his response, the Acting President said the post colonial generation of Zimbabweans cherish the unitary state
“Someone mentioned that before colonisation there was no unity but as the current generation, we are committed to unity and that is why the concept of a unitary state is enshrined in our constitution,” he said.
“Anyone who wants to push the ideology of separation will be in contradiction to our constitution and what we stand for.”
Formed in 2010, the MLF is a secessionist party that wants the creation of a separate state comprising of southern parts of the country.
The secession organisation has, however, been largely ignored by the people and instead has been involved in internal fighting resulting in its own fragmentation.