Why does or should the rule of law matter? The rule of law is the essential element in constitutional government (Nwabueze, 1973, p. 2). Most of the states in the world have constitutions, but only a minority has a constitutional system of government (Loewenstein, 1963, p. 149). Constitutional government is, by its nature, limited government. The rule of law demands that every organ of the state act within the terms of the limitations imposed upon it by the law and by the constitution. The rule of law thus seeks to ensure that the state will not behave in an arbitrary, corrupt, or oppressive fashion (International Commission of Jurists, 1988, p. 144). The rule of law is largely a procedural notion; it does not address substantive questions. If the constitution and the law of a particular state are unjust and oppressive, the rule of law will not limit the injustice or oppression. A strange aspect of the legal system of apartheid South Africa was that the organs of the state tended to observe the rule of law (International Commission of Jurists, 1988). If the rule of law creates the possibility of limiting corrupt and oppressive behaviour by officials of the state, its desirability in contemporary Africa seems self-evident (Slinn, 1991). This simple conclusion may suggest why the Commonwealth Heads of Government issued the Harare Declaration in 1991. The Declaration states that the "fundamental political values of the Commonwealth" include: "democracy, democratic processes and institutions which reflect national circumstances, the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary, just and honest government" ( The Commonwealth Yearbook, 1999, p. 38).