Author Jonathan Chawora is a senior social worker who is a former senior police officer in Zimbabwe, and a former chairman of the MDC UK.
The draft constitution of Zimbabwe has generated interesting debate and has been subject of criticism from various quarters in Zimbabwe and in the Diaspora - the criticism varying from people who believe that the draft constitution weakens the powers of the President to those who believe that the President would still have too much power in the new constitution.
In addition there are others who feel that the constitution is not democratic enough, whilst others think otherwise.
What is clear though is that no constitution in this world is perfect and no constitution is universally accepted by its citizens. Britain and America are considered in modern times to be some of the most democratic countries in the world with some of the most advanced economies.
However in the United kingdom there is currently a debate about reforming the House of Lords because there are many people in the United Kingdom who believe that the House of Lords is undemocratic and outdated. As expected this view is facing fierce opposition from those who want to maintain the status quo.
As usual the debate is marred by vested interests, political expediency and manipulation resulting in serious disagreements among people who would otherwise have the same agenda.
The Untied States of America is facing a serious problem deriving from numerous incidents of firearms related mass murders. Unsurprisingly this has not generated enough debate on the possession of firearms because this is a sensitive issue, as Americans love guns and indeed the American constitution protects the right to bear arms.
There are some, however, who now argue that the constitutional right to bear arms is outdated and inconsistent with modern standards of living and that the constitutional provision was relevant at a stage in history when America faced aggression from its former colonial master Great Britain.
I believe that a constitution is more than a legal document and to view a constitution in purely legal terms is a narrow and simplistic approach and to attack a constitution on the basis that it is a compromise document baffles me.
A constitution is a multifaceted document which not only stands as the corner-stone of democracy but it must also facilitate democracy rather than undermine it and to that effect on its top of the list of priorities is the stability of a country.
There are countries today in this world which on paper are democratic but are riven by perennial instability and internal conflict and consequently human rights are violated on a grand scale on a daily basis.
There are areas in the constitution which definitely need revisiting in future. It can be argued that a constitution must be a final document but this can never be the case given the way the world is evolving in its beliefs, technology, values and structure especially in recent times.
In any case the political and social environment in Zimbabwe today especially the polarisation of our society will not be resolved by a document that places emphasis only on legal arguments.
Democracy evolves and the most stable democratic countries in the world have tended to evolve over periods of time. For example the United Kingdom, which I consider to be one of the most stable democracies in the world, has evolved in such a way that has allowed its monarch to stand the test of time.
I therefore believe that the draft constitution just about meets our national needs for now and I would like to stress that this is by no means a final document. There are areas in the constitution which I believe will be revisited in future.
For example, I do not believe that the issue of Devolution has been resolved and I am sure at an appropriate time and in keeping with prevailing political circumstances the issue of Devolution will be revisited.
Chapter 8.4 (1) and (b) states that in exercising Judicial Authority members of the Judiciary must be guided by the following principles; justice must be done to all, irrespective of status and Chapter 4:13 (1) states that every person is equal before the law and has the right to equal protection and benefit of the law.
It seems to me that the two parts are not consistent with Chapter 4.7 (1) (b) (ii) which states that any person who is arrested must be permitted without delay at their own expense to consult in private with a legal practitioner and a medical practitioner of their choice.
I believe that at the heart of this inconsistence is the access to justice and basically implies that there is one criminal justice system for the poor and another one for the rich. This basically undermines social justice and therefore democracy.
Will this stand the test of time? The answer is no. Given our resources can we afford legal representation for everybody, for example for offences that may result in a person going to prison? The answer is probably not but political questions maybe asked about how resources are managed and distributed.
I understand that this is a problem area even in the United Kingdom, where people who are on benefits are entitled to free legal advice but people who are employed but do not earn a lot of money struggle to afford solicitors.
Finally does Chapter 5:14 (2) deal with what happens if the second vice-president is removed from office, resigns or dies. Maybe 5:14(2) (a) and (b) do. However if somebody were to argue for an election will this need a constitutional court to decide?
I do not know.