Coupon Accepted Successfully!


Rule of Law and Respect of Right

The basis of a Democratic Government is that it should rule within limits set by constitutional law and citizens’ rights.

Let us take the case of Zimbabwe to highlight this factor.

Zimbabwe attained independence from White minority rule in 1980.

  • Since then the country has been ruled by ZANU-PF, the party that led the freedom struggle.
  • Its leader, Robert Mugabe, has been ruling the country since its independence.
​Robert Mugabe
  • Elections have been held regularly and has always been won by the ZANU-PF.
  • President Mugabe is popular but also uses unfair practices in elections.
  • Over the years his government has changed the constitution several times to increase the powers of the President and these power make him less accountable.
  • Opposition party workers are harassed and their meeting are disrupted.
  • Public protests and demonstrations against the government are declared illegal.
  • There is a law that limits the right to criticise the President.
  • Television and radio are controlled by the government and give only the ruling party’s version.
  • There are independent newspapers but the government harasses those journalists who go against it.
  • The government has ignored some court judgments that went against it and has pressurized judges.

From this we can come to the conclusion that though there is popular approval for the leader in Zimbabwe, in a democracy, it is not sufficient.

So, we learn that…

  • Popular governments can be undemocratic.
  • Popular leaders can be autocratic.

To determine the strength of a countries Democratic status it is necessary to look at the elections, and it is equally important to look before and after the elections.

  • There should be sufficient room for normal political activity, including political opposition, in the period before elections.
  • The state should respect the basic rights of the citizen.
  • The citizens should be free to think, to have opinions, to express these in public, to form associations, to protest and take other political actions.
  • Everyone should be equal in the eyes of law.
  • The rights of the citizens must be protected by an independent judiciary whose orders are obeyed by everyone.

So, we can conclude that a democratic government rules within limits set by constitutional law and citizens’ rights.


Test Your Skills Now!
Take a Quiz now
Reviewer Name