Political Context and Key Events
That Zimbabwe has not moved in aligning the afore-mentioned laws with the constitution is
easily attributable to lack of political will and fear that freeing Zimbabwe’s democratic space
will result in loss of power, more-so for the ruling Zanu PF.
Political expediency then becomes the determining factor at the expense of the outstanding
reforms critical to entrenching constitutional democracy. Political and economic reforms
were thus relegated to the periphery as the succession infighting in Zanu PF persisted in
2017. This culminated in the firing of then Vice President Mnangagwa by President Mugabe
before his dramatic comeback to assume the presidency in the wake of the military push
which triggered mass demonstrations for Mugabe to vacate office.
The new president’s pledge to break with the past, was however, severely tested in the
country’s second city of Bulawayo. Youth activists were arrested, detained and tortured after
demanding that President Mnangagwa should come clean on his role in the mass killings of
an estimated 20 000 citizens by the army during the military insurgency in Matabeleland and
Midlands provinces in the early 1980s.
Section 59 provides for the right to petition and protest peacefully.
It is also instructive to note that when parliament was convening to institute impeachment
proceedings against Mugabe, it cited his failure to implement devolution of power as among
his major failures to comply with the constitution.
Chapter 14, of the Constitution provides for the devolution of governmental powers and
responsibilities to provincial and metropolitan councils constituted by a province’s MPs,
mayors, and chairpersons of the provinces’ local authorities, among other provisions.
However, in his 2018 National Budget presentation shortly after Mugabe’s resignation,
Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa, hinted at the need to amend this provision to do away
with devolution of power. “Funding of the provincial and metropolitan structures, as set out
in Chapter 14 ... is not sustainable and political parties represented in Parliament should in
the future give consideration to amending the Constitution to lessen the burden on the
fiscus,” said Chinamasa.
The 2013 Constitution has already been amended through Constitution of Zimbabwe
Amendment No 1 Act, which changed the procedure of appointment of the Chief Justice,
Deputy Chief Justice and Judge President of the High Court.

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