PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa’s recent signing of the African Charter on democracy, elections and governance does not guarantee the holding of credible elections, but remains a public relations stunt if not ratified, and domesticated local legislative watchdog Veritas has observed.
By NQOBANI NDLOVU
The charter, among others, seeks to entrench “a political culture of change of power based on the holding of regular, free, fair and transparent elections conducted by competent, independent and impartial national electoral bodies.”
Mnangagwa signed the charter at the African Union extraordinary summit held in Rwanda in March, a move interpreted as cementing his promise to ensure the country holds free, fair and credible elections in a few months’ time.
Veritas, however, challenged Mnangagwa to go a step further and domesticate the charter to make it more effective.
“The necessary follow-up action to make Zimbabwe a State party to the charter and as such legally bound to implement the charter’s terms can be relatively easily completed before the coming election,” Veritas said,
“All that is needed is for the President to ensure that there is no delay in taking the following steps (a) the passing of a resolution approving the Charter in both the Senate and the National Assembly, as required by section 327(2) of the Constitution; and (b) the preparation and signing of Zimbabwe’s instrument of ratification of the Charter and the deposit of the instrument of ratification at the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa.”
Two weeks ago, Justice minister, Ziyambi Ziyambi, tabled the charter in Parliament, paving the way for its ratification.
Veritas added: “As soon as the instrument of ratification is deposited with the chairperson of the African Union Commission, Zimbabwe will immediately become a State party to the charter. Zimbabwe and its government would then be legally bound under international law — and under our own Constitution — to implement the charter.”
After ratification, the charter has to be domesticated through legislative, executive and administrative actions, and government will be mandated to report to the Africa Union every two years on the “legislative or other relevant measures taken with a view to giving effect to the principles and commitments of the charter.
“Implementation of the charter, which also requires state parties to ensure the wider dissemination of the charter and all relevant legislation as may be necessary for the implementation of its fundamental principles; promote political will as a necessary condition for the attainment of the goals set forth in the charter; incorporate the commitments and principles of the charter in their national policies and strategies,” Veritas reported.