Sacrifices by liberation war heroes, heroines must never go to waste

Letters to the Editor

THE Election Resource Centre Africa (ERC) joins the rest of Zimbabweans in commemorating National Heroes Day.

The anniversary, which is celebrated annually on the second Monday of August,  honours and recognises the sacrifices of all those that participated in the liberation struggle.

The ERC recognises the contribution of the liberation war heroes and heroines, both the living and the departed, who sacrificed their lives to liberate the country from colonial rule.

ERC commemorates the gains attained through the liberation struggle.

These gains, which are now enshrined in the Constitution of Zimbabwe, include the rights to freedom of expression, association, assembly and above all, the universal adult suffrage and the right to free and fair elections.

As we commemorate the day, it is important to reflect on the progress and challenges the country has realised since the attainment of political independence 43 years ago.

While the Constitution guarantees the political and civil rights of Zimbabweans, it is in the implementation that we witness gaps.

Zimbabweans in the diaspora, in prisons and hospitals cannot enjoy the right to vote today.

Zimbabweans in the rural areas continue to feel harassed and intimidated from enjoying free association and participation in political activity of their choice, especially with alternative political formations and candidates apart from the current ruling party.

General public sentiment, as noted in numerous surveys, reveal that people have very little confidence in the electoral process as well as the electoral management body in the country.

While we applaud efforts by the church to have political parties sign the peace pledge, incidents of political violence that include the use of hate speech, defacing of political material and disruption of political meetings and rallies across the country continue to be witnessed.

There is a disconnect between what is said and done by political leadership at national level with what is obtained in communities.

During the liberation war, women and youths played very critical roles in enabling the guerillas.

Sadly, in this current election, the number and level of women’s participation as candidates is very poor, far less than it was in the 2018 elections.

The same can be said about youths and people with disabilities. Zimbabwe is still far below becoming an inclusive nation as many vulnerable groups are left behind when it comes to political participation. - ERC

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