new constitution in Zimbabwe

I realise this is a purely theoretical document, but it’s an interesting constitution nevertheless. It follows pretty much the standard South Africa/Kenya model.

4 thoughts on “new constitution in Zimbabwe

  1. Here’s a thought-experiment: would a fully democratised Zimbabwe keep that Constitution (as some nations – Lithuania, IIRC? Mongolia? – did with their Communist-era drafts)? Or are they more likely to scrap it and start afresh, as post-apartheid South Africa did? (The latter course seems more common.)
    We had discussion here a year or two ago as to why African republics are tending towards having a single hybrid office that is titled President but that operates more like a Prime Minister. Having done some reading on the history of India’s independence movement, I’m guessing one factor might have been a feeling that “Westminster” systems subordinated the elected Prime Minister – a native national – to some Whitehall-appointed British lord in the viceregal palace. By contrast, if the nation’s majority leader has the title of “President,” his supremacy is undisputed.

  2. Perhaps I missed something. As I read the document, it came across as a fully presidential system. “Subject to this Constitution, every Vice-President, Minister and Deputy Minister is accountable, collectively and individually, to the President for the performance of his or her functions.”

    Yes, ministers can be members of parliament and have speaking rights if they don’t, but that doesn’t make it parliamentary, it just ignores the rather odd American prohibition of being in the legislature and the executive. (I actually would let ministers come from outside parliament but having speaking rights if I were designing a political system)

    As far as I can tell ministers are still responsible only to the president and if parliament doesn’t like a minister, all they can really do is grill him to death and hope that the president replaces him with someone more usefull.

  3. Section 109does allow for motions of no confidence. I fear it is the dreaded Weimar-style president-parliamentary system.

    On the other hand the procedural aspects of the section reflect what Tom and I so sagely advocate in the prorogation thread. It goes without saying that an absolute majority is a ridiculous threshold.

  4. Interesting, I did not see that section. As I understand things regarding both parliamentary and presidential systems of government, the “vote of no confidence” strikes me as being in no way like a vote of no confidence.

    If it would be easier for the U.S. Congress to impeach and convict a cabinet secretary than it would be for the Zimbabwean parliament, than what Zimbabwe has is not a parliamentary system of government. The U.S. Congress can decide to ditch an executive official with a majority of the House and 2/3rds of the Senate. My math tells me that such a number would be less than the 2/3rds of both houses required in Zimbabwe.

    I stand by my original comment. Zimbabwe under this constitution will retain a presidential system of government.

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