Civil society in talks to end election conflicts

HARARE - Representatives of African civil society groups are attending an international conference in Harare on ways to end election conflicts, formulate democracy education and monitoring of human rights violations.

Zimbabwe, Ghana, Rwanda and Uganda will share their experiences on elections and locating citizen participation in African elections, the gains and drawbacks, and will be among 200 delegates at the four-day African Democracy Forum (ADF) General Assembly to exchange views about how to consolidate democracy on the continent.

ADF has mandated ZimRights to put together the 2016 ADF General Assembly.

“The delegates, most of whom have worked for the United Nations and African Union, have brought their rich experiences and expertise to the network so as to help strengthen their capacities further,” ZimRights director Okay Machisa said.

“The ADF members include leading human rights and democracy workers who are able to use their experiences to teach others.”

Machisa said the three-day meeting in Harare will produce a communique with clear declarations which Africa should adopt.

“We will look at the best and worst practices and recommend what would be best for the region,” he said.

Machisa said while the assembly is closed to the public, a press conference at the end of the meetings will inform the public on the deliberations.

He said the assembly will also be addressed by the Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda.

“In inviting the Speaker, we are extending our hand to the people who make the laws so that they can give us hindsight on the various issues we have at hand,” he said.

“We will deliberate on human trafficking, terrorism, transparency and accountability. The plunder of our natural resources will also be an issue for the participants.

“Issues to do with democracy will not leave out the ordinary people; hence we want to find out how citizens are participating in elections, especially as Zimbabwe and South African face elections soon. Do we have people speaking freely and are the citizens empowered at the grassroots level?”


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