The Zimbabwe Diaspora Development Interface (ZDDI) is holding a constitutional outreach meeting on Saturday the 2nd of October 2010 at the London Met University to give Zimbabwean organisations and individuals in the UK an opportunity to submit their views to the constitutional reform process being led by the Parliamentary Committee, COPAC, in Zimbabwe.
The outreach meeting will be held between 10:30am – 2pm in Room SH2-09, Stapleton House, which is at London Met University’s main campus on 166-200 Holloway Road, London, N7 8DB, only a minute’s walk from Holloway Tube Station.
The meeting will devote the bulk of its time to public submissions along the lines of the key talking points used by COPAC in its outreach exercise, but with a major focus on issues that have greater resonance with Zimbabweans living in the Diaspora.
ZDDI will collate the output from the outreach meeting into a document that we will submit directly to COPAC. ZDDI chairman Dr Alex Magaisa challenged Zimbabweans in the UK to be the change they wanted to see by coming forward to express their views at the London Met University meeting on Saturday.
“We need to get the authorities in Zimbabwe to recognise the value of their foreign-based human capital, and this constitutional reform exercise presents the Zimbabwe Diaspora with an opportunity to be proactive in advocating for their rights. We in the Diaspora must recognise that any new Constitution will affect us and our children in many ways but if we do not take action to be heard we can have no one to blame but ourselves,” Dr Magaisa said.
Driven by the country’s protracted economic and political crisis to seek opportunities and refuge elsewhere, Zimbabweans in exile have nonetheless remained connected with their homeland. The majority of us lead parallel lives in which we exert ourselves emotionally and materially to sustain livelihoods both in our countries of domicile as well as in Zimbabwe. These binding ties mean that we in the Diaspora, quite rightly, consider ourselves to be intrinsic members of the Zimbabwean family.
ZDDI is at the forefront of promoting closer engagement between the Diaspora and the Zimbabwean State, business and civil society organisations and sees Diaspora participation in the constitutional reform exercise as an important step in working towards this goal.
In September last year, ZDDI hosted a successful investment, migration and development conference which contributed significantly to the makings of a new Diaspora engagement policy by the Inclusive Government.
In view of the recently reported sentiments by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai that the final outcome of the ongoing constitution-making exercise may be negotiated between the three GPA parties, ZDDI strongly urges Zimbabweans in the UK to come forward with their views so that we can submit them to the process in Zimbabwe and ensure that the Diaspora’s voice is not absent or muted.
ZDDI will also actively engage other Zimbabwe Diaspora groups in the UK and elsewhere to collectively lobby the political leadership and civil society organisations in Zimbabwe to ensure that the Diaspora’s interests are not ignored in any negotiated constitutional settlement.
For further details on how to get to the conference at London Met University on Saturday, please visit our website: http://www.zimdiasporainterface.org/
For those who are not able to attend the conference but would still like to submit their views, please download the Talking Points questionnaire on our website, fill it in and send it back as an email attachment to: [email protected].