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Who will guard the guards?

The report spotlights Zimbabwe’s gradual degeneration towards failed State status as demonstrated by the country’s low ranking on the Fragile States Index as a result of weakening political and social indicators.

EVER wondered “who will guard the guards themselves?” This age-old political question, which raises concern over the conduct of those who are charged with enforcing rules on others, is interrogated in the latest joint publication by the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, RAU, Heal Zimbabwe, Veritas and the Counselling Services Unit.

The report spotlights Zimbabwe’s gradual degeneration towards failed State status as demonstrated by the country’s low ranking on the Fragile States Index as a result of weakening political and social indicators.

Who Guards the Guards establishes an increase in organised violent crimes in the country.

For example, in 2019 armed robberies constituted 1% of the total reported crimes whereas in 2021 the figure has risen to 29,6%.

According to the report, serving or former members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police were reported to have taken part in 8,9% of reported criminal cases, and serving or former members of the Zimbabwe National Army participated in 4%.

The increased involvement of security sector forces in criminal activities is also acknowledged by senior government officials.

One such admission was made by the minister of Home Affairs before Senate.

The report also demonstrates how members of the security forces have been implicated in corruption, another indicator of a failed State. This demonstrates how the “guards” are themselves in need of guarding.

The report emphasises how the perpetration of serious crimes by security forces undermines the confidence of citizens in those who have the duty to protect us all. –Civil Society

Have war vets woken up?

HAVE the war veterans final woken up? It has been a long time that they have been doing Zanu PF’s dirty work by terrorising the electorate to vote Zanu PF.

They seem to have finally seen that they have just been used all these years to prop up a bunch of liars whose only interest has always been to enrich themselves at the expense of the masses, including the war vets, the military, police and Zanu PF’s rural members.

The war vets, military and cadres have killed and maimed the opposition each election only to be fed on a few crumbs drawn from Treasury. They are later left to wallow in poverty until the next election.

These lackies of Zanu PF need to realise that they will die in poverty as long as they keep Zanu PF in power. They need a change as much as any Zimbabwean to enjoy a decent living.

The MDC since 2000, yes 20 years ago, has been promising and can deliver a prosperous Zimbabwe to all.

Just cast your mind back to 2009-13 when the MDC stabilised the economy for all Zimbabweans to prosper, even die-hard Zanu PF supporters. –A Mbire

Register to vote, demand reforms

AS citizens continue to motivate each other to register to vote, the Election Resource Centre (ERC) reminds the nation that for the people’s will to be reflected in the outcome of any election, there is a need to strengthen electoral processes which are accepted by all and sundry.

Zimbabwe’s elections have in the past suffered a credibility test which has resulted in the electorate losing confidence in the electoral system.

For Zimbabwe to increase the credibility of elections, there needs to be an urgent need to address the following five key areas:

lPublic broadcaster and media coverage: All political parties must be granted equal media coverage by the public broadcasters and publishers.

This ensures that citizens have access to information on all political parties and candidates contesting in elections as supported by the electoral laws.

The media plays an important role in helping citizens to hold elected officials accountable thus access to information by voters and equal access to the electorate by parties and candidates is important and must be objective.

lThe conduct of traditional leaders: As per the dictates of the Constitution, traditional leaders must not further the interests of any political party or candidate or in any way participate in partisan politics.

Compliance with the law is of paramount importance in order to ensure a balanced political and electoral environment.

Traditional leaders should, instead, facilitate equitable access to communities by all parties canvassing for support and ensure that the voter has access to information necessary to make an informed decision at the polls.

  • Independence of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec): In administering its constitutional mandate to oversee elections, Zec must be impartial and independent.

Zec’s activities, decisions and roles must not be influenced by anyone.

More so, there ought to be transparency and accountability (responsibility to justify actions or decisions) to citizens, political parties and independent observers.

Ensuring verifiability (demonstration of accuracy beyond reasonable doubt) and inclusivity (providing equal access) of processes will enhance public confidence in the commission.

These processes extend to voter mobilisation and education, ballot printing, results transmission and political parties and civil society engagement.

  • Conduct of the security services: Security services must be professional, respect the rule of law and ensure that the electoral and political environment remains conducive for free and fair elections.

The security services must respect the fundamental rights and freedoms of all persons and be non-partisan, national in character, patriotic, professional and subordinate to the civilian authority as established by the Constitution.

  • Election dispute resolution mechanisms: There is a need to create accessible and functional mechanisms that ensure that electoral disputes are resolved, strengthening confidence and ensuring the credibility of electoral processes.

Zec, ZRP and ZHRC must ensure compliance with criminal and electoral justice systems including fair investigation and immediate redress of complaints and reports of violence.

The mechanism of multi-party liaison committees must be decentralised to lower levels from the current national and provincial tiers.

Conclusively, voter registration should be complemented with the implementation of electoral reforms. –Election Resource Centre

Recall of councillors costs Harare

HARARE City Council has failed to convene a full council meeting for the third time after councillors failed to constitute a quorum, a move that will further cripple service provision.

According to the Urban Council Act 29:15(85)(1) “one third of the total membership of a council, together with one other councillor shall form a quorum.”

Out of 23 councillors, only six of them were available for the meeting which was convened virtually via Zoom platform.

Full council meetings are responsible for making resolutions that will be implemented by the technocrats and failure to hold these meetings has a bearing on social service delivery.

Harare had 46 councillors, however, 23 of them were recalled by the MDC-T due to the bruising political fights between MDC-T and MDC Alliance

On the other hand, the failure by the Local Government ministry to resolve the suspension of Harare mayor Jacob Mafume has seen him  resurfacing at Town House with the acting mayor Stewart Mutizwa still in office.

CHRA calls on the remaining Harare councillors to take council business seriously by attending full council meetings as this has implications on social service delivery and serious political costs ahead of  2023 elections.

The residents’ movement further calls on the Local Government ministry to follow the law and resolve the suspension of Mafume in terms of the Local Government Amendment Laws Act of 2016. –CHRA