Break down the Constitution for the layman

Break down the Constitution for the layman

We live in a society where everything is systematic. Progression is dependent on fulfilling the requirements of a preceding phase or threshold.
We find ourselves in constant need to prove ourselves and our worth for the sake of qualifying for anything worthwhile.
We are burdened with tests that constantly need to be passed and basic indicators that validate qualifications.

For instance one might ask, is a Christian really a Christian if they don’t know the contents of certain verses in the Bible such as the ubiquitous Psalm 23 or Genesis 1:1?
These are basic verses which are taught to young children at churches and schools.

The general presumption is that everyone who identifies as Christian should at least know these verses, otherwise do they really qualify?
There are numerous other examples of this nature, the constitution being one of them.

The current political climate in the country is an opportunity for many people to assess and reassess their affiliations.
Emotions run high and objectivity is rare. But just as the Bible contains principles and guidelines for the correct conduct of Christians, the constitution is at the apex of all legislation and contains principles such as fundamental human rights, state policy and the composition of parliament.

Essentially it signifies what the country stands for as far as human rights are concerned and it also sets rules for the state and its organs.
It is useful for citizens to be acquainted with the constitution to at least refer to it where events in parliament lead them to the ballots.
Understanding the constitutionality of events, even vaguely, avoids being misguided easily during campaign season.

Word of mouth is a great source of information, but it doesn’t help if the information being passed is unfounded.
However, it’s not that simple. For those who have read or own a copy of the constitution, the language used is not exactly aimed at the layman.
Whereas teachers of religion decipher holy books and aid followers to conform to guidelines, this luxury does not exist for the constitution.

In addition, at the basic level (especially from disadvantaged backgrounds) largely perform poorly in English, and of course there’s only a fraction a people who actually have the privilege of going to school.

This constraints citizens from knowing their constitutional rights and being knowledgeable about the parliamentary processes that ultimately affect them as voters.
A readily available translated version of the constitution could be a solution.

Just as financial institutions invest in initiatives that educate citizens on financial matters, perhaps vital sections of the constitution must be broken down to the masses and explained by experts in a similar manner to avoid propaganda.

Otherwise if we continue being oblivious about the fundamental law of our country, one can’t help but ask, can a citizen really be a true citizen without any knowledge of the constitution?

Previous Is the Council of State a ‘white elephant’?
Next Key factors for success

About author

You might also like


Another gulf war – the first shots?

The men who carried out Saturday’s attack on the parade in Ahvaz, in Iran’s southwestern province of Khuzestan, were well trained: four of them killed 25 people and wounded 70


The question of identity

Of the adages of the differing ages, the most vexing is the simple deed, behaviour, or virtue; courtesy: for it is quite hard to point out with clarity which one


So long Queen of soul

If you are a music aficionado, you sip the sound in through the lips of your aural senses (your ears) and taste it on the tongue of your mind, as