A Survey of Constitutional Amendments in Post-independence (1980- 1999)
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Zimbabwe's constitution has been amended fifteen times in the past nineteen years. Considering that the American constitution has only been amended 26 times in over 200 years, the Zimbabwean scenario is rather extra ordinary. It raises critical questions about constitutional development in Zimbabwe. For instance, what political factors have dictated changes to the constitution? What role does the constitution play in the consolidation of political power by the ruling elite? Did constitutional amendments lead to a more open and responsive democracy or were they primarily designed to entrench a dictatorship? Answers to these and other pertinent questions can only be obtained after undertaking a brief journey through the various amendments. What may be said at the outset is that the overall goal of the constitution-amendment process in Zimbabwe appears to have been to create and entrench a dominant position for the nationalist elite who took power at independence. The creation of a more open and responsive democracy does not emerge from any of the key amendments made in the period under survey.