AMH is an independent media house free from political ties or outside influence. We have four newspapers: The Zimbabwe Independent, a business weekly published every Friday, The Standard, a weekly published every Sunday, and Southern and NewsDay, our daily newspapers. Each has an online edition.

Letters: Violence and intimidation: Zimbos’ fate ahead of the 2023 elections

File pic: Violence that led to loss of life

ON October 22, 2022, the Election Resource Centre (ERC) deployed observers at three out of six by-election sites, namely Guruve RDC Ward 4, Mutare Municipality Ward 4 and Insiza RDC Ward 4 to observe the elections.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) had scheduled the by-elections for October 22, 2022 to fill vacancies arising in Buhera RDC Ward 24; Guruve RDC Ward 4; Insiza RDC Ward 4; Matobo RDC Ward 2; Takawira (RDC) Ward 6 and Mutare Municipality Ward 18, following the death of incumbent councillors in those respective areas.

The ERC notes that the by-election sites were marred by pre-election violence and intimidation which extended to the election day. Cases of violence were noted in Insiza and Matobo. Highlighting the violence was the attack on Member of Parliament Jasmine Toffa (CCC) and campaign team by alleged Zanu PF activists on October 17, 2022 in Insiza ahead of the by-election.

The ERC also received a report of an attack by suspected Zanu PF youths on Mutare Municipality Ward 18 candidate Nyasha Machekeche (NCA) on October 21, 2022 ahead of the Mutare Ward 18 by-election. The ERC noted that the sites of the by-elections were also plagued by potential corruption, especially from the ruling party because they were handing out fertiliser in Guruve RDC days before the by-election.

ERC also observed that on election day, Zanu PF set up “information desks” outside polling stations in Guruve and Insiza collecting information from prospective voters, potentially intimidating and unduly influencing the electorate.

While polling was largely peaceful, the ERC continues to be concerned that the political environment is not conducive for a free and fair election in 2023. Therefore, the ERC emphasises the need for the Zimbabwe Republic Police, Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and the ZImbabwe Human Rights Commission to take tangible steps in holding perpetrators to account.

The ERC notes that unless electoral reforms are implemented, the 2023 Harmonised elections will result in yet another disputed election, marred by violence. The ERC also highlights the piecemeal principles approved by Cabinet, which fall short of the required level of reforms for a free, fair and credible election. Less than a year before the 2023 elections, the ERC recommends the following to the Government of Zimbabwe:

  • Ensure that government inputs are not used politically as campaigning tools during elections.
  • Government must take tangible action against the manifestation of violence and intimidation in the pre-election, election and post-election period.

To Parliament of Zimbabwe:

  • Wide consultation of election stakeholders on reforms and the immediate implementation before the 2023 Harmonised elections.

To the citizens of Zimbabwe:

  • To practise political and electoral tolerance.

To Zec:

  • To receive and consider complaints from the public and to take such action in regard to the complaints.

To the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission:

  • To fully investigate the violence targeting Honourable Jasmine Toffa ahead of the 22 October .
  • Engage key players in elections including political party leaders, candidates, traditional leaders and the ZRP in order to facilitate peaceful elections in Zimbabwe.

To political parties:

  • To practise political and electoral tolerance and refrain from violence. - ERC

Regenerative agric way to go on climate crisis, food shortages

THOUGH many of us may not be familiar with the term regenerative agriculture, it could well be instrumental in helping solve the problems of climate change and global food shortages. Regenerative agriculture is a system of farming principles and practices that increases biodiversity, enriches soils, improves watersheds and enhances ecosystem services.

The purpose of regenerative agriculture is threefold:

lTo capture carbon in soil and above ground biomass, reversing current global trends of atmospheric accumulation;

lOffer increased yields, resilience to climate instability, and higher health and vitality for farming and ranching communities; and,

lDraw from decades of scientific and applied research by the global communities of organic farming, agroecology, holistic management, and agroforestry.

There is need to invest knowledge into cover crops, which are plants that save soil from wind and water erosion, reduce the evaporation of soil moisture and attract beneficial insects and birds.

Like all plants, these cover crops convert atmospheric carbon dioxide into a liquid carbon food, some for themselves and some to support the fungi, bacteria and other microscopic partners underground. A portion of that carbon stays there, turning poor soil into fragrant, fertile stuff that resembles chocolate cake. The plants, therefore, help to feed other plants.

And yet, conventional agricultural models are a far cry from what one sees on a regenerative farm. That is partially why the world finds itself in a fix when it comes to providing food to a growing population while also protecting Mother Earth from the man-made fertilisers and pesticides polluting our world.

The solution has to be a return to the things that can produce crops, but don’t contribute to climate change, which threatens to destroy us all if we don’t make drastic changes in everything we do. - Enough Mare

African commission launches instrument to fight enforced disappearances

ZIMBABWE Lawyers for Human Rights, MENA Rights Group, Lawyers for Justice in Libya, and the African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies welcome the launch today of new regional guidelines aimed at supporting African States eradicate the practice of enforced disappearances on the continent.

 The Guidelines on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances in Africa (EDA Guidelines) were launched during the 73rd Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’

Rights that is taking place from 20 October to 9 November 2022 in The Gambia.

While enforced disappearances are pervasive throughout the African continent, the existing data does not reflect the full scale of the problem. The UN Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances (UNWGEID) has received more than 6 000 enforced disappearance claims from victims in Africa since 1980, but these numbers are believed to be much higher due to States’ denial of the use of this crime, victims’ fear of reporting cases, and a lack of official data. Widespread impunity also remains the norm. As such, the adoption of the EDA Guidelines by the African Commission is a significant step towards preventing enforced disappearances and supporting victims and their families in their search for truth, justice and reparations.

The EDA Guidelines build upon existing legal obligations of African States under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, and other international and regional treaties, and soft law instruments, and encourage States to ratify the relevant treaties as a positive and effective measure to both prevent and respond to enforced disappearances on the continent.

The EDA Guidelines address the following key areas around enforced disappearances:

  • The context of enforced disappearances in Africa, including the specific groups affected and the circumstances in which the crime is often committed.
  • General principles and definitions of enforced disappearances, the continuous nature of the crime, the concept of short-term disappearances, the definition of victims, and the prohibition of discrimination.
  • The rights commonly infringed upon as a consequence of an enforced disappearance, such as the right to life, the prohibition of torture and ill-treatment, the right to liberty and security of the person, the right to a fair trial and judicial guarantees, and the right to the truth, among others.
  • States’ legal obligations which include refraining from committing enforced disappearances and ensuring its prevention, investigating allegations of enforced disappearance, prosecuting and punishing perpetrators of this crime, and providing redress to victims.
  • Steps to implement the EDA Guidelines.

Over the last three years, our organisations supported the work of the African Commission by convening several expert workshops and events, in which many regional and international experts participated. We are grateful for the pro bono support provided by the team at Linklaters led by Charalampos Dimoulis, Emma Kate Cooney and Liberty Brown. We further thank the experts that participated in the workshops that led to the adoption of the EDA Guidelines, including Gabriela Citroni and Aua Balde, members of the UNWGEID; Bernard Duhaime and Houria El-Slami, former members of the UNWGEID; the late Christof Heyns, former member of the UN Human Rights Committee, and Matar Diop and Olivier de Frouville, members of the UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances. - Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights




Related Topics