IBJ-Zimbabwe Fellows, Innocent Maja and John Burombo, recently held an interview with Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation‘s SFM on the importance of the implementation of IBJ’s rights awareness campaign in Zimbabwe. The 30-minute interview, with SFM’s Tashinga Masawi, was held on 19th March and aired on SFM’s programme Morning Mirror on 22nd March. This interview was a follow-up to the roundtable discussion held by IBJ on 18th March to strategize on the implementation of the rights awareness campaign.
During the engaging interview, the Fellows commenced by outlining IBJ’s mandate and objectives. They outlined and explained IBJ’s approach, using the three-pillar programming consisting of defender capacity building, criminal justice reform and human rights awareness. The Fellows then outlined the rights available under the Constitution of Zimbabwe to protect people who are believed to have committed criminal offences. These include, among others, the protection against arbitrary arrest; being promptly informed of the reason for an arrest; being allowed to engage a lawyer without delay; being brought before court without undue delay; the entitlement to bail; and the entitlement to a fair trial without delay.
After outlining these rights, the Fellows then outlined the strategies IBJ was to utilize to implement the rights awareness campaign. These included use of dramas and movies, use of the print and electronic media, use of posters and leaflets, use of manuals, use of t-shirts and other regalia, putting up of billboards and doing road shows.
In conclusion, the Fellows emphasized the need for citizens to be made aware of their Constitutional rights. They stressed the importance of rights awareness in its capacity to empower citizens to enable them to exercise their rights. This would, in turn, help ensure that citizens are able to access justice by asserting these rights.