Human Rights Watch (HRW) says Zimbabwean authorities have not yet introduced meaningful security, media and electoral reforms ahead of the country’s general elections expected to be held within the next few months.
In a statement, HRW said it is impossible for the southern African nation to hold credible, free and fair elections without these reforms.
“In his inaugural speech on November 24, Mnangagwa confirmed that elections will take place as scheduled, by August 2018, but did not address the issue of meaningful security sector, media, and electoral reforms to ensure credible, free, and fair elections. There was no indication that the Mnangagwa administration intended to ensure the independence and enhance the professionalism of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), or update the voters’ roll under ZEC’s exclusive control.”
HRW noted that the African Union and Southern African Development Community “have also not yet spoken publicly on the need for Zimbabwe’s new government to establish a roadmap to democratic elections and to ensure the political neutrality and non-interference of the security forces in civilian and electoral affairs. Zimbabwe is party to the SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections, established to promote regular free and fair, transparent, credible and peaceful democratic elections.”
The new Zimbabwean president told Mozambican leaders that Zimbabwe is expected to hold free and fair elections.
In November, the military ousted Robert Mugabe and replaced him with his former deputy, Emmerson Mnangagwa.
HRW, in its latest report, says Mnangagwa is a military leader with his own long record of bloodshed.
It says Mugabe had presided over intensified repression of peaceful protests against human rights violations and the deteriorating economic situation.
“His administration disregarded the rights provisions in the country’s 2013 constitution and implemented no meaningful human rights reforms. Parliament passed a constitutional amendment to grant Mugabe powers to appoint senior members of the judiciary, further eroding the judiciary’s independence.
“Police used excessive force to crush dissent and harassed and arbitrarily arrested human rights defenders, activists, journalists, and government opponents. The police and state security agents have widespread impunity for abuses.”
Some Zanu PF officials, including Mnangagwa, are under targeted sanctions imposed by the West following claims of alleged human rights abuses and election rigging.
At least 200 people were killed in the presidential run-off in 2008 after opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai defeated Mugabe though he did not have majority votes to form a government.
For more details on the Human Rights Watch report open these links:
To read Human Rights Watch’s World Report 2018 chapter on Angola, please visit:
To read Human Rights Watch’s World Report 2018 chapter on the Democratic Republic of Congo, please visit:
To read Human Rights Watch’s World Report 2018 chapter on Mozambique, please visit:
To read Human Rights Watch’s World Report 2018 chapter on South Africa, please visit:
To read Human Rights Watch’s World Report 2018 chapter on Swaziland, please visit:
To read Human Rights Watch’s World Report 2018 chapter on Zimbabwe, please visit:
For more Human Rights Watch reporting on Africa, please visit: