In Zimbabwe, UNDP-EU support development of new Constitution

Jan 25, 2013

Consultation meeting on Zimbabwe’s constitution making, organized by the Constitution Parliamentary Select Committee (COPAC) in January 2011. The EU-supported COPAC process culminated in the production of a draft constitution which will be subjected to a referendum. Photo: UNDP Zimbabwe


EU has awarded UNDP a new contract worth EUR 500,000 to continue to support the drafting and adoption of a new Constitution for Zimbabwe. As part of the agenda to support democratic transformation in the country, the UNDP-EU partnership has since 2009 assisted the Zimbabwean authorities to prepare and conduct a participatory, inclusive and transparent constitution making process.

The current Zimbabwean Constitution is a product of a compromise agreement reached in 1979 between the outgoing colonial government and the incoming nationalist government at the Lancaster House Conference held at the end of the Zimbabwean war of liberation. However, this Constitution which came into force in 1980 is widely regarded as inadequate as it has many shortcomings that need to be addressed.

Following the signature in September 2008 by the three major political parties of a Global Political Agreement (GPA) to end the 2008 post-electoral crisis, Zimbabwe put in place an inclusive Government and started the process to develop a new Constitution.

A Parliamentary Constitution Select Committee (COPAC), composed of representatives from the three main political parties that are signatories to the GPA, was appointed in April 2009 to lead this process. In 2009, COPAC convened a first All Stakeholders’ Conference, which brought together representatives of civil society organizations, political parties and other groups for the purpose of identifying issues to be covered in the new Constitution.

Between June and October 2010, a nation-wide public consultation process was launched in all the ten provinces of the country to gather the views of Zimbabwean citizens. A total of 4943 public meetings were convened recording views from 1,118,760 participants including women, the disabled, the youth and men. Following this, a first draft of the future Constitution has now been developed. Should the final draft be adopted, it will be submitted to a referendum by the Zimbabwean people.

The new EU financial contribution will enable UNDP to provide the necessary technical expertise and human and financial resources to complete the remaining key activities leading to the finalization and adoption of the draft Constitution. These include, the completion by COPAC of the drafting process, the organization of a Parliamentary debate in preparation for adoption of the draft Constitution by the Zimbabwean Parliament, and media outreach to publicize the draft in preparation for the referendum.

The draft will also be translated into local languages (Shona, Ndebele and seven other languages used during the outreach exercise in 2010), and printed and distributed in all the ten provinces. To make sure that the public is aware and engaged in the process, the project works with different media such as newspapers, and electronic media such as radio, television and internet.

For more information contact Zimbabwe Country Office

Mr. Sammy Mwiti
Communications Specialist

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