Analysis of Zimbabwe's draft constitution

By Richard Lee | October 02nd, 2012

With the transition timetable in Zimbabwe suddenly speeding up, the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) has issued a special edition of the Legal Monitor entirely devoted to the COPAC Draft Constitution, which will be debated at the upcoming 2nd All-Stakeholders’ Conference.

The analysis provides an overview of each chapter of the proposed Constitution together with a commentary on which sections are progressive (highlighted in normal text) and which remain problematic (highlighted blue text).

As the country moves towards the 2nd All-Stakeholders’ Conference and a possible constitutional referendum, it is vital for all Zimbabweans to be aware of the content of the current constitution in order to make their own decision on whether the COPAC Draft is better than the current constitution, whether it requires further improvement, and whether it is likely to positively impact on the country.

“ZLHR notes that a constitution cannot make a positive impact on society in and of itself,” states ZLHR Executive Director, Irene Petras. “It requires a population that is willing to protect its provisions, as well as a government and state institutions and actors who are committed to the principle of constitutionalism and who are willing to make themselves subservient to the provisions of the constitution as an expression of the will of the people.”

"As such, even a perfect Constitution will be meaningless if there is no political will to comply with its ethos, provisions and safeguards,” adds Petras.

With the conference just weeks away, it is time for all Zimbabweans to read not only this summary and analysis but also the full COPAC Draft Constitution in order to decide whether to further amend it, and ultimately support or reject it.

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