Public Lecture: Constitutional Reform in Zimbabwe and the pitfalls of Judicial-Politics in Democratic Transition

Public Lecture: Constitutional Reform in Zimbabwe and the pitfalls of Judicial-Politics in Democratic Transition

Date/Time/Location: Friday 27 February 2015, 16h00-17h00, Passage 31, The Hague-NL

Speaker: David T. Hofisi, Civil Society Monitoring Mechanism, Zimbabwe ( )

Zimbabwe enacted a new constitution on the 22nd of May 2013. The constitution-making process was part of the Global Political Agreement (GPA), the foundational document for a coalition government made up of three of Zimbabwe’s major political parties. This followed over a decade and a half of mass protests, demonstrations and intense lobby and advocacy. A broad range of civil society organizations and the general populace pinned their hopes for further democratization and protection of the rule of law on the enactment of a progressive and liberal constitution. However, in spite of a comprehensive declaration of rights and other commendable provisions, no significant qualitative improvement can be gleaned on the rule of law and democracy front since its enactment.  Constitutionalism itself, it can be argued, has suffered a still birth whilst minute quantitative leaps have occurred to mask the truly unchanged political landscape in Zimbabwe.

This begs several questions; what are the limits of a constitutional reform in authoritarian contexts? What safeguards can be used to ensure greater constitutional compliance? What options exist to remedy a situation of endemic constitutional abrogation?  With a focus on the role of Zimbabwe’s judiciary, the lecture will address the challenges of constitutional implementation in Zimbabwe.

David T Hofisi is a Lawyer with the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights— a participating organization in the Civil Society Monitoring Mechanism (CISOMM), which is a constitution-monitoring body made up of a coalition of Zimbabwean civil society organizations. CISOMM has been monitoring progress with the implementation of the Constitution since the end of the coalition government.

Register by Monday 23 February through:

Izabela Rybarczyk

International IDEA, Passage 31, NL-2511 AB The Hague, Netherlands Tel: +31-70-3028230; Mobile: +31-6-46881952 Email: [email protected]