The Institute of Democracy in Southern Africa (IDASA) launched its inaugural Democracy Index on Zimbabwe on Friday, noting that democracy levels in the country are currently at their lowest.
The Index, titled “Compromise or Compromised? An Assessment of Transitional Democracy in Zimbabwe,” says the country is still far from being democratic.
The Index accuses Harare of stifling citizens, leaving them with little room for political participation, adding that patterns of participation are dominated by patronage networks and political violence.
Kudakwashe Chitsike, one of the women who participated in the research, said there is lack of an enabling environment for those with dissenting voices.
Although elections are held regularly, Chitsike said they are done to promote a facade of democracy and are marred by violence, terror and corruption.
Rumbidzai Dube, who also contributed to the report, pointed out that citizens’ security is threatened by those in power and therefore citizens do not believe they can influence decision-making.
Dube said the executive, legislature and the judiciary do not submit to scrutiny, adding that where accountability mechanisms exist they are not fully utilized.
The report says while the crisis prior to the formation of the inclusive government had a negative impact on socio-economic factors and stripped citizens of their dignity, the unity government has crafted policies to address the problems.
IDASA says the Zimbabweans can use the democracy index to enhance research capacity and lobby for greater democratic depth.