Zimbabwe’s New Constitution: A little too much faith?

Zimbabwe has just gone through an extensive and sometimes volatile exercise of putting together a new constitution.

A Global Political Agreement signed in 2009 made provision for this and stated that the existence of such a constitution would be a primary goal of a transitional government leading to elections.

Of course the agreement has had its fractious moments with all parties giving one reason or the other for a form of resistance.

Most recently President Robert Mugabe has made a somewhat unpopular call for elections to be held and there have been calls for the new constitution to be  in place before this happens.

Now that is all very well good but in reality a constitution is really a bunch of words that is only given meaning to by a generation. If you look for example at the United States constitution, itself subject to 27 amendments – Zimbabwe’s current one has 19 –  you will probably be find that what they set out to do in the beginning is quite different from what they are looking to do now.

So in Zimbabwe’s case unless the players involved from top to bottom are committed to giving the same life to the words that will have been adopted it will be an exercise in futility.

And reform needs to happen on both sides. Not that they have to change their policies but that they have to accept each other as realities commanding significant chunks of the population.

That aside, the elections are the same under whatever document they happen.