This week, on Saturday 22 May 2021, Zimbabwe’s Constitution turns 8.
Many of you know that coming up with our current constitution was not an easy struggle. It was a journey that can easily be classified as Zimbabwe’s second liberation struggle, as progressive forces fought to get rid of the remnants of colonialism in the Lancaster House Constitution. With fierce resistance from the ZANU PF government, civil society organisations came together and waged an unprecedented attack on the Lancaster House Constitution. Activists mobilised from Zambezi to Limpopo, taking on a ruthless regime that was determined to hold on to the vestiges of colonialism. That movement which started in the 90s, declared victory with the adoption of a new Constitution on 22 May 2013.
Today, eight years later, our country is faced with a major constitutional crisis that exposes all of us as citizens and social justice leaders. It reminds us of what we have failed to do in the past 8 years. As we celebrated the new Constitution, we relaxed and expected politicians to do the right thing. The past few days have been a rude awakening for us as politicians took major steps to decimate our Constitution. We sat in our homes and condemned them the moment they announced their intentions. But they did not stop. We praised the judges who tried to stop the nonsense but deep down we always know that they are not stopping until we stand up.
But we have to stand up not merely to condemn and criticise. Beyond the bold condemnations, we have to stand up and build a new culture of Constitutionalism. And we know, this is not something we can do in our silos. No matter how big we are as a grassroots movement, we have to build a movement beyond our own.
This is why this Saturday, on 22 May 2021, the 8th anniversary of our current constitution, we are inviting you to the launch of our new initiative – the Constitutional Law Centre (CLC). Together with committed activists, distinguished scholars, and experts, we are coming together under the CLC to do what we ought to have done 8 years ago – put our hands together not only to defend the Constitution but to invest our energy and resources in building a culture of Constitutionalism. Culture cuts across sectors, generations, and professions. And it takes generations to build.
While at the end of the day politicians may carry a large chunk of the blame, we as citizens must bear the responsibility. We must play our part in shaping a new culture. To learn more about our vision, please join us online on 22 May 2021 between 10 am and 12:30 as we start this important journey.
Our partners are the following organisations; WELEAD Trust, Justice for Children, Women’s Institute for Leadership and Development, Centre for Applied Legal Research, Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, and distinguished scholar and one of the authors of the Zimbabwean Constitution, Dr. Alex Magaisa. These are partners who in their own right have a track record of defending the Constitution. Together, we are going to do way more.
To learn more about this initiative, please visit our social media pages. To attend the event, use this link