By Byron Mutingwende
In light of the recent events in the country where the military has reportedly taken control of critical state agencies and apparatus, the Election Resource Centre (ERC) called on the people of Zimbabwe to remain peaceful.
It strongly encouraged the restoration of constitutional civilian order and implored those in authority to immediately avail a clear road map towards the restoration of a civilian constitutional order by ensuring they abide by the Constitution of Zimbabwe bearing in mind that the country is in the process of preparing for elections in 2018.
ERC urged the Southern African Development Community (SADC) leaders and civil society organisations to act in concert and with the safety and security of the people of Zimbabwe in mind.
“The ERC urges authorities to ensure the non-interruption of ongoing electoral processes especially voter registration ahead of the 2018 polls, guaranteeing that laws are fully aligned with the constitution and the political environment remains conducive for free participation by all Zimbabweans.”
Adding their voice to the discourse, the Amalgamated Rural Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) said a pro-poor education system can only be achieved in a democratic dispensation where the ordinary people can make decisions for the nation through electing Parliament and an Executive.
“Our country has endured a straining dictatorship under Robert Gabriel Mugabe who was aided by the military to remain in power after losing the 2008 elections. Mugabe’s failure to map a succession plan post his tenure has ignited panic and tension in both his party and the country as individuals jostled for control of both country and party.
“The clear factional divide in Zanu PF pitting Mugabe’s wife G40 and Mnangagwa’s Lacoste has been tussling for power since 2014. The firing of Mnangagwa forced his allies from the army to come in to defend their turf. We are told they have confined Mugabe to his residence (house arrest),” ARTUZ said.
The teachers’ body urged Parliament to pass a vote of no confidence on Mugabe and encouraged the Zanu PF congress to choose a preferred candidate to finish his term of office as prescribed in the 6th Schedule of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.
A coalition of 22 civic groups, NGO Human Rights Forum, has commented on the current political situation in Zimbabwe, saying there is fear and uncertainty, which needs stakeholders to pursue peace and faster return to a constitutional order.
NGO Forum board chairperson, Jestina Mukoko, addressed a press briefing on Wednesday afternoon, November 15 flanked by two board members, Okay Machisa, the director of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) and Roselyn Hanzi, the director of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR).
“The Forum is gravely concerned with the current political developments in Zimbabwe which have resulted in uncertainty and fear among all people in Zimbabwe,” said Mukoko who is the director of Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP). The Forum therefore calls upon all stakeholders to adhere to their constitutional mandates and to conduct their duties guided by our Constitution in a manner that reflects the resolve of Zimbabweans to live as equals in liberty, peace and harmony, free from fear, and in prosperity.
“We also call upon the Defence Forces of Zimbabwe, political leadership in the country, SADC, AU and the international community to urgently and expeditiously facilitate the resolution of the current political impasse and an urgent return to constitutionalism. It is imperative for the preservation of peace, respect of the rule of law, democracy and the enjoyment of all human rights by all people for immediate restoration of the constitutional order.”
The Forum insisted that it is a non-partisan non-governmental organisation motivated by the desire to see an environment conducive to the enjoyment of human rights and liberties by all.