SA rights body wades into Zim crisis

BULAWAYO - Human Rights Institute of South Africa (Hurisa) has waded into the chaos Zimbabwe has been plunged into following the just-ended elections which they described as sham.

In a statement released yesterday, the human rights institute raised the red flag on the just-ended plebiscite.

This comes after United States(US) President Donald Trump signed into new law on Wednesday — sanctions against Zimbabwe after President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government failed to fully embrace US’s electoral reform wishes as outlined by that country’s new Bill.

“We are particularly concerned about the post-election violence, abductions, intimidation, harassments, killing, torture and displacements of activists, human rights defenders, supporters aligned to opposition, including senior members of the MDC Alliance and the silence of the regional institutions,” said Hurisa.

It noted that, the developments in Zimbabwe were against the principles of the Sadc region which is founded on the principles of human rights, democracy, and rule of law and citizen action led participation as purported in the Sadc Declaration Treaty (as amended in 2001).

“Due to the lack of institutional reforms and failure to implement the three outstanding Sadc Zimbabwe Road Map principles contributed to the post-election outcome and flagrant human rights violations.

“We have noted with much concern regarding the misconception and lack of peaceful and conducive environment that creates vulnerability with possibilities of civil strife due to delays to implement acceptable free and fair election standards,” the institute noted.

The organisation surprisingly took aim at the international observers for failing to engage the electorate, a development it says had a negative impact on the poll aftermath disaster.

“The failure by international observers to engage people on the grassroots and their reluctance to pursue issues of concern raised by progressive stakeholders in Zimbabwe contributed to the post-election humanitarian crisis.

“Other issues that have to do with irregularities which transpired before elections, particularly the lack of electoral reforms, transparency, accountability, efficiency, non-visibility of candidate pictures on the ballot papers and delays in releasing the ballot paper to the stakeholders, as well as the outcome of the presidential elections, led to protests and military intervention,” Hurisa said.

As if that was not enough, the human rights organisation also criticised State media, “which is favouring the ruling party through publicity coverage that created an uneven democratic electoral environment”.

Hurisa, however, pinned its hope on the forthcoming Sadc Summit, to be held in Windhoek, Namibia this month where there is a possibility for engagement among Sadc member States, citizens, activists, progressive political parties to work together in ensuring freedom and democracy in Zimbabwe and other affected countries in the region.

“This Summit should also seek to provide long lasting political, social, economic rights and entirely human rights in Zimbabwe to overcome a culture of impunity, electorate manipulation, torture, police brutality, murders committed by security force to defenceless and law abiding citizens who seek rule of law, accountability, transparency and democracy.”

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