By Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition Information Department
On International Day of Democracy, Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) implores the Zimbabwean government to honor its constitutional obligation to respect and protect citizens’ fundamental rights and freedoms as outlined under Section 44 of the constitution.
CiZC is deeply concerned over the state of democracy in Zimbabwe and we note with great concern that since the 2017 military coup which toppled former President, Robert Mugabe Zimbabwe continues to plunge into a constitutional crisis and this has been worsened by the militarization and capture of key state institutions.
Criminalization of civic society work has largely worked against democracy and ultimately, economic development under the so-called new dispensation in Zimbabwe.
Arbitrary arrests, torture, and abduction of civic society and opposition activists has led to the democratic space shrinking in Zimbabwe.
Despite the Zimbabwean constitution providing for a rich Bill of Rights, the State continues to trample on citizens’ fundamental rights and freedoms such as the right to protest peacefully, freedom of speech, and freedom of association among other constitutionally guaranteed rights.
Cases of the arrest of journalists from the private media have also been witnessed in Zimbabwe and this is an attempt to muzzle the press and thwart dissenting voices.
CiZC implores the government to respect freedom of the press as this is imperative in promoting democracy and economic development. A free press is important in promoting accountability, good governance and respect for human rights.
We note that the COVID 19 pandemic has largely aided efforts by the government to perpetuate human rights abuses under the cover of enforcing COVID 19 regulations.
On International Day of Democracy, CiZC reiterates that the Zimbabwean crisis needs genuine multi-stakeholder dialogue that will ensure a return to democracy.