ROHR ZIMBABWE UK CHAPTER PRE-ELECTIONS STATEMENT
On the eve of elections day, we celebrate our successes and endeavours as Restoration of Human Rights Zimbabwe. We are especially grateful for the support shown by all our committed members. Our action plan for during and after the elections is underway.
Collectively, with other Civic groupings and players we have achieved much during this struggle for our rights. However, there are areas that still need much attention and there is a need to consolidate our gains. Since there have been no widespread acts of violence so far in the run up to the elections we can see that our work is coming to fruition. However, the lack of widespread pre-election violence does not mean we should let our guard down. In 1985 there was no widespread pre-election violence but we saw opposition supporters being attacked and had their belongings burnt after the elections.
Although our campaign for a level electoral playing field has gained ground, we still have a playing field that heavily favours one team. One simply has to browse through state controlled publications to see how they are effectively campaigning for one team and de-campaigning others. Officers in the armed forces still publicly display their partisanship during the discharge of their official duties. Moreover, we have seen the army and the police actively campaigning and working for one party whilst on duty
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has been a big disappointment. Around two million more ballots than the voters have been printed – heaven knows why. Ballot papers have been found in waste bins, the voters’ role is still in shambles and has not been availed to candidates in good time and when it was, stunning discrepancies have been noted. One of many questions we have to ask is, how is it possible that after a new registration process, people who died years ago are still on the voters’ roll? With regards to the special vote, how come the process could not cater for just less than 70 000 people leading to around 26000 officers failing to cast their ballots.
Was it a matter of incompetence? Was it a calculated move? What is to prevent those who already cast their vote to vote again on 31 July?
Article 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that.
- Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.
- Everyone has the right to equal access to public service in his country.
- The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and GENUINE elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.
ZEC has clearly failed to deliver genuine elections, and in this regard, we will continue to fight for our fundamental right to elections which are GENUINE, free and fair, whatever the results of the forthcoming elections.
Our mission is to fight for the restoration of human rights and dignity in Zimbabwe. Human rights abuse is our enemy. Therefore, anyone who abuses our human rights whether knowingly or unknowingly, stands in the line of fire. Our mission remains as stated in our Mission Statement and so it will remain during and after the elections. We must learn lessons from what is happening now so we can better prepare ourselves for future elections scenarios.
There are numerous other areas that need our attention. These include the behaviour of our armed and police forces, state sponsored violence, murders, arbitrary detentions, arrests, tortures among other abuses which seem to continue unabated. We will continue to fight for a professional, non-partisan police and army.
Our duty to educate and inform the populace of our beloved country will continue. Hopefully those who will be victors in the forthcoming elections will allow us to carry out this duty without hindrance. We look forward to a time where exercising our right as stated in articles 19 and 20 of the UN”s Universal Declaration of Human Rights does not see us being victimised as is the case now and before.
As the genuine Restoration of Human Rights Zimbabwe, we affirm our commitment to demanding and fighting for the restoration of our rights. We affirm our commitment to disseminating relevant information to the people of Zimbabwe. We also encourage all Zimbabweans to go out on the 31st of July and exercise their right to vote.
On Behalf of the National Executive Committee of the ROHR ZIMBABWE’S UK CHAPTER
Pamela Dunduru – Chairperson
Patrick Gore – Vice Chairperson