Constitutional reform in Zimbabwe: history and way forward
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Zimbabwe is in the middle of a decade old but climaxing unprecedented and multi-faceted economic and political crisis. The crisis is on the one hand, political, that is the autocratic rule and crisis of legitimacy of the Zanu PF-led state, and on the other economic, that is, a threatening economic implosion arising from an economy under siege from internal and external factors as well as the failure of neo-liberal policies pursued by the state and business elites since the end of the 1980s. The March and June 2008 elections have failed to resolve the crisis...the likely settlement of the crisis is now through an elite compromise settlement mediated under the regional body, SADC, as encapsulated in the 15* September 2008 Global Politica Agreement (GPA) between Zanu PF and the two Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) parties. A key component of the settlement is constitutional reform. Elites seek to ensure a constitutional framework that realizes sustainable intra-elite democracy including the rule of law, free elections and protection of private property. This is captured in the Kariba Draft Constitution already agreed by the three main parties. Working people also have a primary interest in constitutional reform centred around demands for greater democratization of state power to allow broader representative and participatory democracy of citizens and civic society movements as well as democratization of the property and economic power of the state and the privileged propertied few through the constitutional enshrining of socio-economic rights including labour and gender rights. The latter are well articulatec in the Zimbabwe Peoples Charter of the February 2008 Peoples Convention as well as in various international human rights instruments.