I am no lawyer but….

I have just been sent a copy of Zimbabwe’s new constitution which is due to go before a referendum sometime next month. I have not read more than a small part of it, but one element caught my eye, that which relates to ‘War Veterans’ and the ‘Liberation Struggle’. It seems that anybody who fought in the Liberation Struggle must be honoured and protected and receive some sort of pension. (The fact that it was the awarding of vast ad-hoc pensions in 1999 which precipitated the collapse of the local currency and brought about the country’s economic ruin, seems to have been overlooked.) What my quick perusal has not uncovered, though it may be there, is that there does not seem to be any distinction with regards to the opposing factions of the war. I fought in the Liberation Struggle, albeit on the losing side, and am therefore a War Veteran. Is there any reason why I should not be awarded the same benefits that those¬†against¬†whom I fought? Would a constitutional lawyer be able to make a case?

It does seem to me to be very ill-thought out document. I note that women must be afforded equal rights and that all government commissions etc. must comprise at least 50% women. Thus technically, there can be more women than men on a commission, though not the other way round. Not exactly equal. Of course, I don’t suppose any of that really matters. The purpose of this, as with so many African constitutions, is to determine the powers of the President and the number of terms he can serve and the protection from prosecution he can expect.

Here is a site from which the Constitution can be downloaded.