Constitution Translated Into Indigenous Languages

By Tadious Manyepo
The Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs has launched a translated version of the Constitution in four indigenous languages, in a development aimed at enhancing accessibility of the vital document to all Zimbabweans.

The supreme legislative document is now available in Shona, Ndebele, Tonga and Kalanga.

Translation of the Constitution to other 12 local languages is underway and the process will be completed by May.

Officially launching the native versions in Harare yesterday, Permanent secretary in the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Mrs Virginia Mabiza, said the development would enable citizens to be fully aware of what their rights were and what they ought to do for them to be implemented.

“It was realised that in order for every individual to enjoy and exercise his/her rights fully and for the Constitution to yield results, there is need for translating the Constitution to all official languages,” she said.

“This will then ensure that citizens are fully aware of what their rights are and how they can be implemented.

“This noble initiative of translating the Constitution is perfectly in line with the view point of constitutional implementation. The significance of the Constitution lies in Section 2, which entrenches constitutional supremacy in Zimbabwe.

“It is in this context that we may have a good Constitution paper, but only becomes a living and helpful document when implemented amongst ourselves.

“Its implementation should be coupled with adherence to the provisions of the rest of Constitution, thereby promoting peace, good governance and stability in our nation.”

Mrs Mabiza said the initiative was part of the ministry’s 100-day target programmes.

Players who include the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops’ Conference (ZCBC), Parliamentary Liaison Office (CPLO) and the National Constitution Translation Committee (NCTC), supported by Government, worked together to translate the document.

ZCBC president Bishop Rudolf Nyandoro said the selection of the first four languages was determined through research conducted by the University of Zimbabwe on the widely spoken languages in the country.

“A research was carried out by the University of Zimbabwe to find out which are the widely spoken languages in the country,” he said.

“The research pointed that Shona, Ndebele, Tonga and Kalanga are the major languages used by many Zimbabweans in the country.”

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