Statement on Zimbabwe’s 40th Independence Day Celebrations

The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) joins the nation in celebrating its 40th independence against a time the country is on a 21 day lockdown as one of the measures to contain the transmission and spread of the COVID-19pandemic. The country has so far recorded 24 positive cases of COVID-19, three of them fatal.

ZESN adds its voice to calls by stakeholders that the government of Zimbabwe puts in place adequate measures to prevent, contain and treat COVID-19 incidences. The Network urges all duty bearers, both in public and private sectors, to observe a human rights-based approach in employing the necessary measures to contain the COVID-19. ZESN further implores the government to ensure that frontline health workers are well equipped with personal protective equipment as they respond to the pandemic.

As we reflect on the 40 year journey Zimbabwe has walked thus far, we are reminded of the tenets of Zimbabwe, based on respect for the Constitution, rule of law, fundamental human rights and freedoms, the diverse cultural, religious and traditional values, gender equality, good governance and regular elections all rooted in the watershed elections of 1980 which gave a transition to Independence.

Despite the fact that Zimbabwe conducts regular elections every five years, elections have been disputable and controversial marred with allegations of vote manipulation. ZESN reiterates that there is need for government and political parties to create a conducive environment that ensures that the basic pillars of democracy are upheld such as respect for the rights of all political parties; respect for the people of Zimbabwe, from whom authority to govern is derived; the orderly transfer of power following elections; and transparency, justice, accountability, and responsiveness.

The Network implores elected leaders to strengthen accountability mechanisms to citizens as part of efforts to uphold the essence of good governance and democratic principles as well as the need for sustainable peace, tranquillity and development. In its pursuit of a Zimbabwe where democratic election principles are upheld, ZESN restates its call for comprehensive timeous strengthening of gains registered to date in improving the quality of elections by fully aligning Electoral laws with the Constitution; further strengthening the independence of ZEC; ensuring a political environment conducive for the holding of free, fair, peaceful, and credible elections; and extending the scope of right to vote; institution of measures to ensure adequate representation of marginalised groups; adoption of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms; and an efficient and transparent results management process.

As the country grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic, ZESN urges all citizens to heed to the lockdown order, observe all community mitigation strategies such as social distancing, avoiding unnecessary movements as well as maintaining sanitary habits to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Happy 40th Independence Zimbabwe and STAY HOME.

Source: Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN)

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