ZimRights’ Youth Zone Hosts the Inaugural Constitution Summit for High Schools
Yesterday, 1 December 2020, the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) launched the ZimRights Youth Zone, an initiative aimed at building the next generation of active citizens who will lead in building a culture of human rights. Under this initiative, ZimRights convened the inaugural High Schools Constitution Summit that brought together 45 High Schools Students from four schools covering Harare, Bulawayo and Plumtree to learn and share knowledge on the Constitution, Constitutionalism and Constitutional Values.
The Constitution Summit was addressed by leading experts and practitioners who included former High Court Judge Justice Moses Chinhengo, Kent Law School Professor Dr. Alex Magaisa and the Chief Registrar of the Superior Courts of Zimbabwe Ms. Anitah Tshuma. Dr. Magaisa was one of the experts involved in development of the current Constitution and he shared with learners his experiences during the Constitution-making process.
In his reflections, Magaisa said, “Constitution-making did not end in 2013. It is an ongoing process that involves generations as they engage the document, learn it, and seek to improve it as circumstances demand.”
Ms. Tshuma addressed the summit and unpacked the institution of the Constitutional Court and its role in protecting Constitutionalism. She said young people must love, understand and make use of the Court to advance and defend their Constitutional rights and fulfil their aspirations.
In his keynote address, Justice. Chinhengo said young people have a role to play in fulfilling the aspirations of the Constitution. Justice Chinhengo, who was one of the three draftspersons of the 2013 Constitution encouraged young people to give life to the Constitution. “Without the Constitution, we are nothing.” said Chinhengo, who also launched the new publication by ZimRights, ‘Level Up: A Handbook for Constitution Clubs in Zimbabwe.’ The book is a guide for schools that want to launch Constitution Clubs and for club leaders who want to incorporate constitution education in their programmes.
The learners who participated in the Summit are members of various youth clubs that ZimRights is supporting in developing content and resources related to human rights, constitutionalism and civic leadership. As the year comes to a close, the learners converged at ZimRights House in Harare, ZimRights Centre in Bulawayo and in Plumtree. Only a limited number attended the physical summit. Others were connecting via Zoom as a measure to reduce travel in the face of Covid 19.
Speaking on the side-lines of the summit, ZimRights National Director Dzikamai Bere said the summit was designed not only to share knowledge and resources with young people, but also to inspire them to believe that they indeed are a key group in the affairs of our society.
“This is why we are going all the way to bring important people who designed these rules and who steward the institutions to talk to them.” said Bere.
The Constitution Summit is a collaboration between ZimRights and the Constitutional Law Centre, a group of scholars and experts supporting knowledge about the Constitution.
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