Evaluation of the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) of Zimbabwe

Report frontpage
Published:January 2010 by Norad
Commissioned by:the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), the Royal Norwegian Embassy (RNE) & the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
Series:Norad collected reviews 22/2009
Tags:Zimbabwe, Governance and democracy, Human rights


The Project

The National Constitution Assembly, NCA, was formed in 1997 and is a voluntary association of civil society organisations and individual civic groups. Its main objectives are the promotion of awareness, critical debate and participation in the making of Zimbabwe’s constitution through an open, transparent and accountable and people driven process.

The vision of the NCA is ‘a peaceful, prosperous, democratic and united country founded on human dignity and social justice’. Its goal is for Zimbabwe to have a new, democratic and ‘people-driven’ constitution. The NCA considers a democratic constitution the ‘basis of good governance’ and that good governance, in turn, leads to social and economic development.

Norway, Sweden and Canada have been NCAs main donors. This report presents the main findings of an evaluation of the NCA of Zimbabwe 2003-2007.

Interesting Findings

  • The findings indicate that there is a widely held perception that the NCA has contributed to raising public awareness of constitutional and human rights issues in Zimbabwe and that it is considered a relevant actor in the constitutional reform process.
  •  Many also feel that the NCA has a role after the adoption of a national constitution through an inclusive and participatory process: that of an independent watchdog.
  • While it is difficult purely based on the available documents to state with a degree of certainty that the funding support provided over the years to the NCA by Sida, CIDA and Royal Norwegian Embassy ‘has yielded sustainable results that benefit the poor’ and to assess the impact of the NCA, the fact that it has managed to keep the constitutional issue on the national agenda despite operating in a difficult political, social and economic environment over the years, is in and by itself a remarkable achievement.
  • It appears that the NCA’s sustained push for constitutional reform has contributed to an enhanced political commitment to constitutional reform as reflected in article 6 of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) and the inclusive government’s adoption of a timetable for constitutional reform.
  • Although the NCA is perceived to be an important actor in the constitutional reform process, there are some concerns relating to its governance and advocacy strategy. In particular, there are concerns about its failure to revise its advocacy strategy to enable it to engage more constructively with the Government of National Unity and other civil society organisations in the context of the constitution making process provided for under article 6 of the GPA.
  • The perception that the NCA is a personal project of its leader and concerns about undemocratic practices, poor governance and lack of transparency within the organisation have also undermined or threaten to undermine its credibility.

The publication is only available in digital format.

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