Rising doubts over credible Zimbabwe elections


Citizens Coalition for Change

from MARCUS MUSHONGA in Harare, Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe Bureau
HARARE, (CAJ News) – DOUBTS are mounting if Zimbabwe will hold crucial polls on August 23.

The qualms come on the back of the criminalizing of political opposition and the curtailing of the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly.

The violations are blamed on the government of President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who is seeking a second term and is at the helm of the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF).

The liberation movement has been in power since independence in 1980 and is celebrating 60 years of existence.

Amnesty International has expressed doubt the upcoming polls will be credible, five years after Mnangwagwa was elected in a disputed poll.

“What we have seen in Zimbabwe over the past five years amounts to a brutal crackdown on human rights, especially the rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association,” said Khanyo Farisè, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Southern Africa.

“Respect for socio-economic rights has also declined dramatically, leaving many people in abject poverty with no means to put food on the table,” the activist said.

Farise said the Zimbabwean authorities have revealed a brazen contempt for basic freedoms and shown that there is no space for dissent in the so-called ‘second republic’.

“The police have also repeatedly resorted to excessive use of force to suppress human rights, including the right to peaceful assembly.”

Mnangagwa declared a second republic after taking over from longtime mentor, Robert Mugabe (now late), who resigned after a coup.

He pledged reforms, but critics argue his regime is more brutal than Mugabe’s.

During the 2018 elections, the military shot dead six people amid opposition protests.

At least 15 were killed at the beginning of 2019 when citizens protested against the hike in fuel prices.

Mnangagwa’s main rival at the upcoming polls is Nelson Chamisa, leader of the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC).

Former cabinet colleague and expelled ZANU-PF member, Saviour Kasukuwere, faces a race against time at the courts to stand as an independent candidate.

– CAJ News

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