IN the wake of the passing of Constitutional Amendment No. 1 in Zimbabwe’s Senate, ZimRights Director Okay Machisa has called for political will to implement the Constitution as he assessed the country’s human rights situation.
Speaking to Capitalk FM on Wednesday evening, Machisa also urged Zimbabwean authorities to ratify international human rights treaties.
“We have the Convention against Torture and the International Convention for the Protection of People against Enforced Disappearances, and their optional protocols which we have not ratified.
“We’ve the unresolved issue of Itai Dzamara,” he said, referring to the activist who was abducted in March 2015.
“No matter which office one occupies, if they abuse human rights they should face the law,” he added, discouraging impunity for human rights violators.
Zimbabwe has faced notable challenges with stopping torture and abductions of human rights activists by groups linked to the ruling party Zanu-PF.
Since 2015, the government has not resolved the abduction of human rights activist Itai Dzamara by suspected State security personnel.
Machisa bemoaned lack of political will by the government to implement the Constitution of 2013 and fully observe human rights.
“Let’s align the law to the Constitution, not vice versa,” Machisa said, criticising the authorities for rushing to amend the Constitution, before even implementing it in full.
Machisa called for tolerance for political differences, ahead of the 2018 harmonised elections, saying diverse viewpoints were important in shaping the future of the country.
“We call on the government of Zimbabwe to respect its citizens,” the ZimRights director said.
“This country has a lot of people, who see differently from each other.
“When you discriminate people because they do not subscribe to your values; that is wrong.
“We’ve not reached political maturity, where we respect our differences; yet, those differences shape the future.”
The human rights defender said people should read with caution the recent State media reports with misleading attributions to UN Resident Coordinator, Bishow Parajuli, that Zimbabwe’s human rights situation had improved.