A United State-based human rights group has claimed that Zanu PF violated the Global Political Agreement (GPA) on more than 21 000 separate occasions, compared to slightly over 1 000 by the two MDC formations combined.
REPORT NQOBILE BHEBHE
The Robert F Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights (RFK Center) on Monday released a report titled A Promise in Peril: How Widespread Rights Violations Undermine Zimbabwe’s Elections, which says the ongoing human rights violations set the stage for the type of violence and chaos that has marred past elections.
“One notable civic group has systematically documented breaches of the GPA, results of which show that Zanu PF is responsible for an overwhelming majority (of cases),” the report that was released three weeks before the polls reads.
“The most common offences relate to the rule of law,promotion of equality and national healing, State organs (security sector violations), and prevention of violence. As the numbers indicate, there has been scant progress on a number of prominent issues contained in the GPA — namely, reforms that are meant to facilitate the holding of peaceful, democratic and credible elections.”
According to the research, which was conducted in March, political fear is at an all-time high.
“Nearly nine out of 10 people feel that political competition in the country often or always leads to violent conflict,” the report says. “Furthermore, six out of 10 fear becoming a victim of intimidation or violence.”
However, it said Zimbabweans were optimistic that the democratic tide would ultimately change and that the forthcoming elections would be a positive watershed moment.
“The routine intimidation, harassment and arbitrary criminal prosecutions of human rights defenders, lawyers and political activists in Zimbabwe threatens the rights of all citizens toparticipate freely in public affairs,” Kerry Kennedy, president of the RFK Center, said.
“With an election upcoming, the government must ensure an electoral environment that is consistent with international standards.”