Fair elections? – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary

Human rights activists have urged all stakeholders – national, regional and international – to convene a conference to discuss what to do about the worsening situation in Zimbabwe and chart the way forward. Ibbo Mandaza and Tony Reeler, co-convenors of the Platform for Concerned Citizens, said it was evident from multiple reports that adherence to constitutionalism, the rule of law and human rights had been worsening since 2017.


The Platform for Concerned Citizens expressed outrage at the continued pre-trial denial of bail to Job Sikhala and others. It said some 55,000 people had signed their petition about this. It said: ‘Unlawful arrest has become a standard tactic by the government in dealing with dissent, most particularly during elections, and subsequent denial of bail an even more egregious injustice. We make this point because we have entered the pre-election period, seen a huge increase in hate speech and violent rhetoric, and most disturbing of all, a dramatic rise in political violence against members of opposition political parties.’

The press release continues ‘the conditions for a free and fair election are thus becoming more and more remote, and to this must be added the problems around a wholly opaque delimitation and denial of access to the voters’ roll’. (See: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/1252-the-platform-for-concerned-citizens-pcc-press-release.)

The press release came as Sikhala was refused bail for the 8th time. He is accused of obstructing the course of justice and has been held in the maximum security Chikarubi prison since June awaiting trial (see: https://www.thezimbabwean.co/2022/11/sikhala-denied-bail-for-the-8th-time/).

The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum says in its latest report that nearly 2,000 cases of political violence have been reported this year ahead of the forthcoming general elections. ‘It is apparent that the country’s deepening polarisation and political crisis need urgent intervention to ensure that Zimbabwe experiences a free, fair and peaceful election in 2023,’ the report said (see: https://www.thezimbabwean.co/2022/11/some-2000-cases-of-political-violence-recorded-so-far-fears-of-bloody-2023-elections-heightened-report/).

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is reported to have demanded US$187,000 for a hard copy of the voters’ roll. Opposition parties say the charge is ridiculous and an attempt to deny scrutiny of the document. The CCC Secretary for Elections Ellen Shiriyedenga said it could not afford the fee: ‘This destroys the prospect of a multi-party democracy’.

(See: https://www.newsday.co.zw/local-news/article/200003013/copy-of-voters-roll-costs-us187k-zec.)

Other points

Events and Notices:

  • Next Vigil meeting outside the Zimbabwe Embassy. Saturday 19th November from 2 – 5 pm. We meet on the first and third Saturdays of every month. On other Saturdays the virtual Vigil will run.
  • The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organisation based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organisation on the ground in Zimbabwe which reflected the Vigil’s mission statement in a practical way. ROHR in the UK actively fundraises through membership subscriptions, events, sales etc to support the activities of ROHR in Zimbabwe. Please note that the official website of ROHR Zimbabwe is http://www.rohrzimbabwe.org/. Any other website claiming to be the official website of ROHR in no way represents us.
  • The Vigil’s book ‘Zimbabwe Emergency’ is based on our weekly diaries. It records how events in Zimbabwe have unfolded as seen by the diaspora in the UK. It chronicles the economic disintegration, violence, growing oppression and political manoeuvring – and the tragic human cost involved. It is available at the Vigil. All proceeds go to the Vigil and our sister organisation the Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe’s work in Zimbabwe. The book is also available from Amazon.
  • Facebook pages:  

Vigil : https ://www.facebook.com/zimbabwevigil

         ROHR: https://www.facebook.com/Restoration-of-Human-Rights-ROHR-Zimbabwe-International-370825706588551/

         ZAF: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Zimbabwe-Action-Forum-ZAF/490257051027515

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