Rights group slams Zim elections for delivering dead bodies, broken limps

Staff Reporter

 ZIMBABWE Human Rights Association (Zimrights) has slammed electoral processes for delivering nothing much except nightmarish dead bodies and broken limps amid calls for the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to amplify citizens’ voices.

Addressing delegates recently at a Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development’s (ZIMCODD)  organised function to launch the How Far 2.0  campaign , ZimRights team leader, Dzikamai Bere said despite elections normative processes being anchored on empowerment, the past experiences for Zimbabwe have been agonizing.

“They must indeed be a tool that enables hopeful participation in the creation of a world of our dreams as citizens but the reality in our country is that elections have become a nightmare. They deliver nothing but dead bodies and broken limps,” he said.

The remarks are indeed consistent with Zimbabwe’s electoral processes which have indeed sustained a record of bloodshed and serious injuries as witnessed by the just ended March 26 by-elections which left one Citizens Coalition for Change supporter dead and several others injured.

Soon after the 2018 general elections, soldiers forcefully invaded the streets to disperse demonstrating citizens who were demanding the urgent release of election results and shot six people.

Despite the Monthlante Commission of Inquiry into the incident establishing that members of the Zimbabwe National Army were answerable to the killings, nobody has been held to account over the matter.

Even the 2008 disputed elections which later culminated into the formation of the Government of National Unity were characterized by a wave of systematic violence.

A February 2009 document by the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum established that cumulatively, in 2008 , there were six politically motivated rape cases, 107 murders, 137 abductions/killings, 1913 cases of assault; 19 cases of disappearance, 629 of displacements and 2532 violations on freedoms of association and expression.

“As Zimbabwe’s oldest indigenous human rights group, ZimRights has seen it all. In the How Far 2.0 Campaign we have recalled President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s promise to strengthen the pillars of democracy.

“Our members have asked the questions; How Far with implementing the recommendations of the Motlanthe Commission? How Far with the Protection of human rights defenders? How Far with the establishment of the Independent Complaints Mechanism?

He said ZimRights Secretariat has partnered with the HowFar 2.0 campaign and is asking: How Far with transparency regarding tax holidays for the President’s Friends.

“We have approached Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) and we are asking that same question for the register of tax holidays to be published.

“In this campaign we have learnt a few things like; Simple questions matter? We must keep asking? We deserve the answers?

“We have learnt that as citizens our voices matter. When they brought down the How Far Bill Boards we knew they were listening. When the government started the counter #So Far, This Far   we knew they were listening. This is why we are stepping ahead into the How Far 2.0campaign,” added Bere.

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