HUMAN Rights Watch (HRW) has called on the Zimbabwean government to come up with a roadmap to free and fair elections as well as operationalising the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC).
BY OBEY MANAYITI
Zimbabwe is set to hold elections this year and the government has pledged to make them credible.
For long, Zimbabwe’s elections have been marred by allegations of rigging, bias and politically-motivated violence targeting members of the opposition.
“Design and implement a roadmap to democratic, free and fair elections in 2008, which include the diaspora vote, an independent and professional Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and ensure the political neutrality of the security forces,” HRW director for Southern Africa Dewa Mavhinga said.
“Provide for the timely and sufficient deployment of domestic and Sadc-led international election observers to Zimbabwe to promote credible, free and fair elections and to deter violence and intimidation.”
HRW said for economic recovery and investor confidence, the government needed to guarantee the respect of rule of law and for all human and property rights.
The human rights watchdog said the NPRC must be operationalised as a matter of urgency so that there is justice and accountability for the past serious human rights abuses like the Gukurahundi massacres of the 1980s.
HRW said there is also need to establish an independent constitutional body to impartially investigate and punish as appropriate, security forces’ abuses against members of the public.
Before the conclusion of Operation Restore Legacy recently, there had been an outcry that soldiers were indiscriminately assaulting members of the public.
The organisation also said there is need to repeal of legislation such as the Public Order and Security Act and Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act.