11th Anniversary of Zimbabwean Constitution: Strengthening and defending the gains

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Writes Edgar Gweshe

Today, May 22, 2024 marks 11 years since the late President Robert Mugabe assented to Zimbabwe’s constitution following its approval in the March 2013 referendum.

The 2013 Constitution was lauded as being progressive and set a high standard for the provision of civil, political, and socio-economic rights for all citizens.

Of note is the Declaration of Rights which contains freedoms for all Zimbabweans and the enunciation of constitutional principles such as the separation of powers.

The constitution calls on all duty-bearers to respect, protect, and fulfill the rights guaranteed by it and makes the judiciary responsible for enforcing them.

The “progressive” constitution adopted in 2013 was supposed to mark a great transition from the Lancaster House constitution but it is regrettable that despite the remarkable gains that were supposed to be realized from the supreme law, authoritarianism, repression and the ideology of a one-party State continue to characterize the political landscape in Zimbabwe.

The democratic and civic space in Zimbabwe continues to shrink and there has been little or no political will on the part of the government and the ruling party to implement the constitution in a way that promotes democracy, human rights, and the rule of law.

Since 2013, very few laws have been fully aligned to the Constitution and instead, we continue to witness numerous amendments to the Constitution which do not conform to the principles of democracy and good governance.

Lately, calls by the ruling party to push for amendments that will remove the two-term presidential limits and allow President Emmerson Mnangagwa to run for a third term are illegal and unfortunate.