SALIENT FEATURES OF CHAPTER 2 OF THE CONSTITUTION OF ZIMBABWE
In most countries world-over, the State has been criticized for lacking or failing to exhibit strong commitment or will towards the realization of national goals and constitutional and other legislative provisions. Against this background, chapter 2 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe sets out the national objectives which should bind the State and all its institutions and agencies. These objectives are a strong statement of what the state should aim towards achieving, for the benefit of every Zimbabwean. Put differently, these objectives are the goals which the nation should endeavour to achieve.
Whereas these objectives are not justiceable in that the State or its agencies cannot ordinarily be taken to court for failing to realize them, their inclusion in the Constitution make them a strong force capable of driving the State and its institutions towards fulfilling the rights and other provisions contained in the Constitution.
In the first instance, the State is obliged in terms of section 9 to adhere to good governance standards in its policies, principles and practices. The State should, therefore, be seen in all its conduct promoting transparency, accountability, efficiency and competence. Every well-intentioned Zimbabwean aspires to live in a country where good governance systems are put in place which in turn leads to national growth and development.
National unity, peace and stability are a chief corner-stone in the growth and development of any nation and are the aspiration of every Zimbabwean. Evidence from many countries shows that the consequences of war, conflict and disunity are incalculable. Not surprisingly, therefore, section 10 of the Constitution speaks to the importance of these principles and makes them a matter of national importance. The State should, therefore, do all it can to make sure that Zimbabwe is a united, peaceful and stable nation.
National development is one of the most important goals of every nation. Everyone wishes to stay in a country which develops and promotes laws, policies and practices which promote national development. Section 13 makes national development a national objective which the State and all institutions and agencies of government at every level must endeavour to facilitate rapidly and equitably. In this light, private initiatives and self-reliance should be promoted and encouraged in all sectors of the economy. Further, balanced development throughout all Zimbabwe’s areas should be encouraged.
Empowerment and employment is another national objective contained in section 14. It is the desire of every person to earn a living and be involved in the economic activities of his or her country. The State should craft policies which empower its citizens to also benefit from all its resources and should ensure that appropriate and adequate measures are undertaken to create employment for all Zimbabweans, especially women and youths.
The emancipation of women both politically and economically is one of the most progressive elements of this Constitution. Women have for long been marginalized and reduced to second class citizens owing to a raft of cultural norms which are patriarchal in nature. Section 17 sets the tone for the equalization of opportunities and treatment between men and women. At the political level, the State should ensure the equal representation and participation of women in all institutions agencies and commissions. On the economic front, women should be accorded the same opportunities as their male counterparts, be it at the work-place or in empowerment initiatives. This is an important national objective given that women form the majority of the population in Zimbabwe.
The equitable distribution of resources among all the country regions is also an important national objective which should bind the State and all its agencies and institutions. Section 18 provides for fair regional representation in both the political and economic activities of the country. The State should take practical measures to ensure that all local communities have equitable access to resources to promote their development.
The promotion of the rights and freedoms of children, persons with disabilities, elderly persons, youths and war veterans also form part of the national objectives with the State obliged to take all reasonable steps towards realizing the rights of these groups of persons.