Election advocacy group the Election Resource Centre (ERC) says gains of the liberation struggle have long been forgotten as the country continues to endure human rights violations reminiscent of the colonial era.
In a statement to mark the International Day of Democracy, ERC urged the Government to immediately enact electoral reforms and reinstate by-elections to ensure a return to participatory democracy and that citizens are equally represented in council and parliament.
“Despite promising to preside over a democratic government that respects the Constitution, rule of law, and mutual tolerance, it is regrettable that four years after these utterances by President Emmerson Mnangagwa and 41 years after independence, Zimbabweans are underrepresented in Parliament and Local Government, with rampant human rights violations that were tenets of colonial rule under Ian Smith.
“The existing modus operandi betrays the men and women who gave their lives in order to wage battle against the colonial authority in order to get fair representation, equality and basic human rights. Zimbabweans battled for these fundamental rights, and they must not be jeopardized. Unfortunately, in modern Zimbabwe, more than 90 wards and 26 constituencies are unrepresented, without councillors or members of parliament,” said ERC
The pressure group said the country cannot commemorate such days and called for electoral reforms.
“As a result, the country cannot continue to commemorate days such as the International Day of Democracy while democracy is not acknowledged. The ERC explicitly emphasizes that calls for electoral reforms and the reinstatement of by-elections do not imply a push for regime change but are key for true representative democracy.
“Elections, however, have been characterized by violence, intimidation, and disputed results. The goal of democracy is to provide citizens with an environment conducive for open participation, free, fair and credible elections and a fair playing field in which political opponents have equal opportunities to reach various constituencies,” noted the group
The International Day of Democracy is observed annually on September 15th with the aim to encourage people and governments to uphold human rights and offer meaningful democratic participation.