Democracy, which is being commemorated under the theme “Democracy
under Strain: Solutions for a Changing World”, is meant to raise
public awareness about democracy and to promote and uphold the
principles of democracy.
International Day of Democracy is also an opportunity to highlight the
values of freedom and respect for human rights as essential
pre-conditions for democracy.
Democracy provides the natural environment for the protection and
effective realisation of human rights.
The theme for International Day of Democracy is a reminder to
governments everywhere that the hallmark of successful and stable
democracies is a universal value based on the freely spoken and
expressed will of people to determine their own political, economic,
social and cultural systems.
In Zimbabwe, it is disheaterning that democracy is showing greater strain.
While President Emmerson Mnangagwa signed the African Charter on
Democracy, Elections and Good Governance early this year, it is
disheartening that government has not moved to ratify, domesticate and
implement its provisions.
The African Charter on Democracy Elections and Governance seeks to
promote adherence by African states to the universal values and
principles of democracy and respect for human rights premised upon the
supremacy of the Constitution and respect for the rule of law and is
one of the key instruments that will advance democracy, peace and
security in Zimbabwe, the region, and the continent as a whole.
While the decision to sign the African Charter on Democracy, Elections
and Governance, is a progressive step to promote democracy in
Zimbabwe, ZLHR is perturbed by the continued delay in ratifying and
domesticating the provisions of the African Charter On Democracy,
Elections and Governance. The African Charter on Democracy Elections
and Governance can only be meaningful if the government takes concrete
steps to ratify and domesticate all the provisions.
It is saddening that International Day of Democracy is being
commemorated when Zimbabwe is emerging from a disputed election, where
many citizens living in the diaspora were disenfranchised after they
were not allowed to vote in the harmonised elections in violation of
the Constitution and several regional instruments of which Zimbabwe is
a state party.
Equally worrying is the use of excessive force and the killing of
citizens during protests by members of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces
(ZDF), who used excessive force to disperse some protestors and
innocent by standers on 1 August 2018.
Further, ZLHR is concerned about the persecution of human rights
defenders who are being targeted and prosecuted after the 2018
Therefore, ZLHR calls upon;
• Government to implement legal and administrative reforms to create
a conducive environment that guarantees the respect and enjoyment of
democracy and fundamental human rights and freedoms.
• Government to ratify and domesticate the African Charter on
Democracy, Elections and Good Governance.
• Government to speed up alignment of laws with the Constitution and
ensure adherence to principles of democracy and constitutionalism.