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A CONSTITUTION is essentially a document that discusses the distribution of power in each country to the extent of detailing the power centres and justifying their possession and use of that power.

It is a document fully capable of being manipulated so that it serves the interests of those who draft it; or tilted to serve interests of those privileged in society.

The key to this document is that it must have the impression of national consent. Whether to keep the status quo, select the leadership out of fear or obligation or indeed have the mandate to vote freely.

Whatever the case, it must have the impression of consensus and finality.    

No two constitutions are the same because domestic configurations differ variously between and among nations. For instance, of the two constitutions compared, Kenya and Zambia drafted their constitutions so that power derived from the people. That is to say executive, judicial and legislative authority was a privilege granted to leaders by the voting public.

Even when the text is identical, the domestic environment cannot be forced to become identical or import customs unfamiliar to their domestic context. This is because each country has its own nuances that influence the scope of how it defines its constitution.  

Irrespective of the domestic construct of any country, power is ultimately at the core of the relationship between those that rule and those ruled over.

Power is intended to serve and protect either institutions of state or powerful groups in a country. Sovereignty, for instance, is a prerogative of the electorate in some constitutions so that elected officials understood the source of their authority to govern.

This was more pertinent in young democracies with some history of dictatorship so that the people were involved in electing their leaders. This sense of past isolation made mass inclusion of the people in those constitutions through elections an essential necessity.   

Other constitutions rather observed sovereignty as an extension of collective national values than a direct electoral reward by the voters.

Such constitutions were typically found in diverse and multicultural nations such as the Republic of South Africa (RSA) and the United States of America (USA).

Whether by design or coincidence, the challenge with different races, nationalities and cultures fusing into a single country could be more daunting because any slight favour towards one group could cause an implosion.

Contrary to constitutions that benefitted by including society as the source of power, the complexity of a diverse society could make such an inclusion appear subjective and unfavourable to other groups.   

Therefore, the two choices were to posit the state as a construct of different values or as an extension of electoral privilege. In other words, a constitution will explain if institutions are essential to the distribution of power or if groups are a part of the power dynamics as envisaged by law.

In most of those constitutions observed, democracy is merely a liberal umbrella that requires detailed aspirations of unity from the people to make cohesion possible.  

Consensus of the constitution is important because elections do not create unity, and neither do slogans. The point is for the country to embody that core human sense of worth and self-respect.

In Zambia, for example, public interest as a core pillar became important because the restoration of democracy in 1991 refocused on people as the centre of the nation and nationhood.

This was important because the previous constitution made people absent only to be informed rather than being engaged in facilitating key changes taking place in the country.  

Similarly in South Africa, the old apartheid constitution was written for the privilege of minority whites to the exclusions of other races, and more specifically the Africans.

It would be counter discriminatory to revise the constitution to disadvantage those who previously held power. The solution here, was to aspire to ideals that deter and condemn that horrid history and the weakness of all men, but instead create ideals that speak to equality.   

Nations with diverse domestic groups chose values while those with homogenous groups like China and Saudi Arabia for example, did not amplify or focus on values but insisted on either religion or a relatable history to bind citizens together.

The revelation, indeed summation, of this brief study is that the best attribute we can share is to respect each nation’s domestic environment, its history and culture.

To undermine any country’s domestic values is equivalent to attempting to erase that nation and derail its future. No nation has the singular right to supplant another country’s worth and self-determination.


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