n Journal of African Elections - Zimbabwe : constitutionalism, the electoral system and challenges for governance and stability




In February 2000 Zimbabweans went to the polls to vote on a draft constitution for their country. The draft contained some important provisions for, amongst other things, the reform of the country's electoral system. The draft was rejected and a bitter general election campaign ensued in the second quarter of 2000. The general election held in June 2000 and the presidential election in March 2002 were the most violent in Zimbabwe's electoral history. These developments raise significant questions relating to constitutionalism and the electoral process in Zimbabwe. They were an admission that both constitutional and electoral reforms were imperative and, indeed, overdue. A state-appointed Constitutional Commission (CC) was set up in 1999 after a civil society-driven one, the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), had been founded earlier in 1998. In particular, the political developments since 2000 have highlighted the need to address the increasing deficit in democratic governance and stability in Zimbabwe. This paper attempts to assess critically developments relating to constitutionalism and the electoral system, the links between them, and their significance for governance and stability.


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