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Letters to the Editor


Govt must uphold political, civil rights
THE Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) joins the rest of the continent to commemorate Africa Human Rights Day.
The theme for 2021 is Africa Human Rights 40 years after Adoption of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
The theme presents an opportunity for people from all walks of life around the African Union, including Zimbabwe, to reflect on how far the member States and the people of Africa have implemented and upheld the values, fundamental rights and freedoms provided in the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
Zimbabwe, like most other member States of the African Union, is a State party to the African Charter.
The African Charter also established the African Commission, which has a three-pronged mandate of protection of human and peoples’ rights, promotion of human and peoples’ rights and the interpretation of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
Over the years, the African Commission has received periodic reports from member States updating on progress made towards implementing the African Charter and any challenges that the states are encountering.
To this end, the Zimbabwean government has also submitted several reports to the African Commission, with the most recent having been submitted in 2019 highlighting the progress that the country has made in implementing the provisions of the African Charter.
Although the African Charter encourages member States to take necessary measures to ensure the implementation of the human and peoples’ rights espoused in the African Charter, there has been limited political will to fulfil these obligations.
Despite the voluntary commitments that the Zimbabwean government has made under the African Charter, ZLHR remains concerned that violations of human and peoples’ rights in Zimbabwe continue unabated.
The Bill of Rights provisions in the 2013 Constitution of Zimbabwe, domesticates some of the fundamental rights and freedoms in the African Charter.
However, violations of civil rights, political rights, social, economic and cultural rights continue to be well documented.
As Zimbabwe joins the rest of the continent on this Africa Human Rights Day, ZLHR is alarmed by recent incidents of politically-motivated violence experienced by the opposition MDC Alliance party members during their community citizens’ conversation interface.
Also disturbing are the reported attempts on the MDC Alliance party leader’s life, Nelson Chamisa.
On this Africa Human Rights Day, ZLHR urges government to:
Implement all outstanding recommendations that have been made by the African Commission in its concluding observations following submission of the previous state reports.
Implement recommendations made by the African Commission in Resolution 443 on the human rights situation in the Republic of Zimbabwe.
Ratify the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the establishment of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
Uphold political and civil rights without discrimination and arrest and prosecute perpetrators of political violence. -ZLHR

Resurfacing of politically-motivated, electoral violence worrisome
HEAL Zimbabwe’s October 2021 human rights update explores the resurgence of politically-motivated violence as the country gets into election mode.
Zimbabwe is scheduled to conduct its general elections in 2023 and political parties are already focused on internal party restructuring and voter mobilisation.
The two main parties, Zanu PF and the MDC Alliance, are intensifying their voter mobilisation initiatives in rural areas since relaxation of COVID-19 lockdown measures in September.
Both parties launched aggressive campaigns, with Zanu PF targeting five million voters, while the MDC Alliance is targeting six million voters.
Young people and rural constituencies are their prime targets. These political activities from across the political divide have also come with a dramatic increase in politically motivated violence which include severe assault, abductions, property destruction, arbitrary arrests, detention, intimidation and threats of violence. The sudden escalation of violence, from the community level to national level attacks on the leader of the main opposition warrants particular attention as 2023 approaches.
The recorded political violence, from October 10-16, 2021, was perpetrated against the opposition party MDC Alliance leaders and supporters in Masvingo province, specifically in Gutu, Ngundu, Chiredzi and Zaka, where party leader nelson Chamisa was on a tour to interface with community opinion leaders.
The interface with the community members, leaders, civic leaders, and special interest groups as part of voter mobilisation ahead of the 2023 elections.
On the first day of the party’s tour of the province in Chief Charumbira’s area, Zanu PF mobilised its supporters to prevent Chamisa’s visit by barricading three possible routes to the venue of the meeting.
The MDC Alliance vehicles that were part of the envoy being stoned, and passengers assaulted. The same was experienced in Gutu at Mupandawana and Maunga.
The MDC Alliance alleges that the mission was planned and co-ordinated by State security agents, with Masvingo Provincial Affairs minister Ezra Chadzamira being responsible for the violence.
They also allege the complicit role of the police led by Assistant Commissioner Florence Marume, who up to date have not arrested any of the alleged perpetrators.
The police were also complicit in the violence by throwing teargas canisters to opposition party members meeting in a private property. – Heal Zimbabwe Trust

CSO reflects on govt’s COP26 position paper
WE the civil society in Zimbabwe under the flagship of the Zimbabwe Climate Change Working Group, Climate Action Network Zimbabwe, and ACCESS Coalition having gathered on October 20, 2021 at Bronte Hotel in Harare Zimbabwe.
We recognise the national country position for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) 26th Conference of Parties (COP26) shared by the Government of Zimbabwe to stakeholders on October 15, 2021 at Meikles Hotel in Harare.
We acknowledge the commitment of the Government of Zimbabwe to the Paris Agreement that seeks to hold an increase in global temperature to well below 2 degrees above the preindustrial levels and to pursue efforts to reduce global carbon emissions.
We note that the Zimbabwe country position paper for COP26 is focusing and prioritising the following areas:
Narrowing the emissions gap
Climate finance
Response measures
Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture (KJWA)
Enhanced Action on Adaptation Loss and Damage
Article 6 — Market Mechanisms and Sustainable Development
Outstanding Transparency Issues
Having deliberated and reflected on the submitted government COP26 country position paper, as civic society organisations in Zimbabwe, we specifically call upon government to consider the following issues:
We are calling for the COP26 to push for a balance on the financing gaps between mitigation and adaptation funds.
We call upon the COP26 to consider the establishment of a direct financial intervention by International financial institutions such as -AfDB in developing localised and continental finance institutions to address the imbalance between adaptation and mitigation financing.
We strongly support the availability of climate finance. However, we call upon the COP26 to prioritise grant financing particularly to developing countries on issues of adaptation.
We call upon the COP26 to avail more financial resources to developing countries for the development of technologies that allow for the “fair and just transition” from emission intensive technologies and processes (e.g., coal and beef production).
We support the COP26 in the global stock take on financial gaps on mitigation and adaptation.
We call upon the COP26 to push for the establishment of continental carbon emissions verification bodies like those of the clean development mechanism. – Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association

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