BY MOSES MATENGA
CIVIL society organisations (CSOs) yesterday said President Emmerson Mnangagwa had failed to honour his November 2017 pledge to uphold human rights and promote good governance, as he continues to further shrink the democratic space in the country.
This came out yesterday as local civic groups joined the rest of the world in commemorating International Human Rights Day.
This year’s commemorations were held under the theme: Equality: Reducing Inequalities and Advancing Human Rights.
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) spokesperson Marvelous Kumalo speaking on behalf of over 350 civic groups said Mnangagwa had failed to address the country’s toxic political environment and marginalisation of minority ethnic groups since he took over power through a military coup in November 2017.
“A toxic political environment coupled with high levels of corruption remain some of the major factors contributing towards inequality, with the government discriminating citizens along political party lines,” Kumalo said.
“Despite claims of a new dispensation, Mnangagwa’s government has a tainted human rights record and as such, has failed to put human rights at the centre of its development initiatives,” he added.
He said the draconian laws, judicial capture, arbitrary arrests, persecution of civil society actors and the ongoing arbitrary constitutional amendments continue to reverse the democratic gains attained by the adoption of a new Constitution in 2013.
Southern Defenders, a membership organisation of CSOs from across southern Africa, called upon governments in the region to respect, promote and protect all internationally recognised and constitutionally-guaranteed human rights and fundamental freedoms.
“Southern Defenders urge governments in the region to safeguard the online and offline civic, democratic and civil society space. A country which respects human rights has better prospects of engineering inclusive and sustainable economic growth,” Southern Defenders team leader Washington Katema said.
“The leaders in southern Africa and beyond should demonstrate the political will to foster a culture of human rights in their respective countries. This is also time to move from survival rights to free expression rights. Our people deserve the full menu of rights.”
The Election Resource Centre (ERC) said: “ERC continues to push for the by-elections to be held. Elections are the bedrock of participatory democracy and the continued suspension of by-elections infringes on citizens human rights.”
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