Saturday, 16 March 2013

Consititonal referendum day in Zimbabwe

This poster appeared on my iPad this morning - quite randomly (shuffle). But it seemed very appropriate.

Zimbabwe was so transformed by the last constitutional debate, it seems right to hope that the same might be true this time, but instead the water is rather muddier.

In 1996 when Jonah Gokova and I ran the first workshop on Zimbabwe's constitution - including presentations by Bulelani Ngcuka from South Africa and the late, much missed, John Makumbe, we were amazed at the excitement it generated. The room was packed out and debate was lively. Even at that early stage, people seemed to sense the potential of the constitution as a framework for debate and reform.

The seeds that became the NCA were already germinating at the Zimbabwe Council of Churches in the minds of Deprose Muchena and Tawanda Mutasah, but I don't think even they anticipated what was to come - a profound transformation of party politics and civil society in Zimbabwe.

I'll post about the images and significance of those debates another time. Today is a day to focus on the hopes that Zimbabwe continues that transformation, and that the outcome is progressive and democratic. So much could be riding on this.

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