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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The constitution of Zimbabwe: towards a model for Africa?
Author:Hatchard, JohnISNI
Periodical:Journal of African Law
Geographic term:Zimbabwe
Subjects:constitutional amendments
heads of State
Abstract:While some aspects of the Lancaster House document were subject to amendment, overall the eleven constitutional amendments which have been enacted since Zimbabwe's independence in 1980 have led to a strengthening of presidential power. The author analyses both the new constitutional structure and its operation in practice. He notes that changes to the composition of parliament together with political manoeuvring have effectively reduced the legislature to the status of a rubber-stamp body. Power has been further centralized in the hands of the president, and the practical importance of parliamentary safeguards is very limited. Moreover, the use of emergency regulations can virtually bypass the legislature. In addition, the president now also has effective control over key appointments. With respect to the judiciary, the present constitutional model is, in general, satisfactory and has ensured that judicial independence is a reality, although there is still no constitutional recognition of judicial immunity from prosecution. The effectiveness of the office of the Ombudsman, increasingly important in view of the weakening of other constitutional safeguards, is restricted as a result of current limitations on its operations. On the whole, the author concludes that Zimbabwe's present constitution does not provide a satisfactory model for other African States. Notes, ref.