Civic Society Organizations (CSOs) under the banner of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) have written an open letter to President Emmerson Mnangagwa pleading with him to deal with various problems bedeviling the country.
In the letter, the Coalition expressed concern over the lack of genuine independence in key state institutions
“Mr. President, Chapter 12 of the constitution of Zimbabwe lists five independent commissions which are crucial in protecting our independence and the liberties it brought, especially to the extent that they protect the sovereignty and interests of ordinary citizens. These are the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission, the Zimbabwe Gender Commission, the Zimbabwe Media Commission and the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission.
“They are also under-resourced and are in most instances unable to fulfil their full constitutional mandates. One key commission, ZEC displays an acute lack of independence through its errors of omission and commission. ZEC is supposed to engage the public, the people of Zimbabwe beyond political party lines in its business. The secretive manner in which it conducted the 2022 delimitation process is a serious cause for concern, not just to this generation, but the future of the country given that the right to vote was one of the key virtues of the liberation struggle.
“However, the reality in Zimbabwe is very worrying, as judicial independence is under severe threat, notwithstanding the poor working conditions of the officers or the courts and the Chapter 13 institutions. Justice at the courts has therefore been the biggest loser, as the class divide continues to rear its divisive head in the delivery of justice; in short Mr. President, ‘justice is now for sale’, the judiciary is suffering from the yoke of executive interference and preferential treatment of citizens based on political affiliation,” said CiZC.
The CSOs urged President Mnangagwa set a motion that guarantees genuine independence of all state institutions.
“Mr. President, our humble submission is that our country has since as far back as the 1985 elections, failed to entrench a culture of peaceful and democratic transitions, as benchmarked by the conduct of free, fair and credible elections whose outcome is beyond national question, and marked by clear provisions of transfer of power. We therefore implore you Mr. President, even within the various issues raised above, to consider setting in motion and guaranteeing the genuine independence of all state institutions; to guarantee and uphold all rights and freedoms of citizens as espoused in our national constitution, so that Zimbabwe begins a journey of peaceful contestation for state power and its attendant transitions.
“Our neighbours – including South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, Botswana, Namibia and Mozambique – have indeed shown us that this is possible, and the stability they enjoy, including the economic dividends, are testimony to its desirability. The same energy and vision of “power to the masses’ must be protected and bequeathed to upcoming generations, who deserve a new page of happiness and development for our beloved nation,” added CiZC.