ZIMBABWEANS enter the year 2018 with a cocktail of expectations following the events of November 2017, which ushered in a new leadership through a military-assisted transition and with anticipation ahead of the general elections.
ZimRights believes that the window of opportunity presented by the fact of leadership change and the prospect of elections should help the country to re-dedicate itself to human rights observance and generally good and democratic governance.
Part of that process involves the full implementation of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, 2013, regarding which the signing of the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) Act is a welcome development.
In 2018, the full Declaration of Rights, Chapter 4, its full complement of civil, political, cultural, and economic rights must be upheld, in addition to the new government’s need to ratify international human rights treaties.
The extension of the Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) blitz program from January 10 to February 8 by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) is commendable and should expand the opportunities that are there for people to freely participate in national elections.
Going forward, transparency will be imperative in all the preparatory processes that will culminate in a new voter’s roll.
However, cases of intimidation that have been recorded in respect of political actors requesting serial numbers of registration slips from registrant and related incidences must be condemned and completely eliminated.
These pose a serious threat to the credibility of the forthcoming 2018 harmonised elections.
In the same vein, the government must expedite the process of electoral reforms such as fair access to the state media by all political actors, and reaffirming the political neutrality of the security sector and traditional leadership of the country.
As the country seeks a long overdue turnaround in its politics and economy in 2018, it is envisaged that a human rights-based approach should be the campus and bedrock of government programs.
ZimRights will continue programs targeting human rights monitoring, education and advocacy, and citizen participation in democratic processes, with a special focus on national harmonised elections.
ZimRights wishes the country a Prosperous Year!