Open letter to Mr Mnangagwa

I AM a politician, but I am not writing this letter to you in that capacity.

I am writing to you as a young woman, as a citizen and as part of a generation to whom a debt is due. When we were young, we were told we were “born free”, but for reasons caused by this government, we go everywhere in chains.

We are demanding our freedom because this great nation feels like prison. We were told that a war of liberation was fought on our behalf and that a world of opportunity had been opened.

However, with each passing day, it is becoming evident that the oppressor only changed name, face and colour, but his methods, laws and operations have remained exactly the same.

The social contract between the State and the people has been broken and replaced by threats of arrest, persecution and underhand punishment for those who dare challenge the torn fabric of a once promising dream.

Why must a nation with all the ingredients for success be a graveyard for aspiration? Why must the rich fly in private jets while the poor get stuffed like sardines in rickety buses? Why must the many toil and sweat but starve so that the few can live like royalty?

Why is it a crime to want a better society?


Why is it a crime to want funding for public health and schools? Why is it a crime to demand jobs or modern infrastructure? Why is it a crime to seek accountability for the money that we pay in taxes? Why is it a crime to protest against hunger? Why are the police who are meant to protect and secure the lives of citizens mimicking the behaviour of the Special Branch by breaking into the homes of journalists who speak out against corruption? Why do those who are innocent get treated like criminals yet criminals go scot-free?

Imagine if all the young people who are arrested on spurious charges of subversion were included in the economy and spending all those wasted court hours contributing towards the economy through innovation and productivity?

Imagine if all the lawyers who waste time arguing bail applications for the pro-democracy activists that are continuously arrested on bogus charges spent their time working on mergers and acquisitions that would grow and develop the economy?

Imagine if the property rights framework of the nation enabled more of that to happen?

Imagine if people were so inspired by the national vision that they were not planning endless strikes and protests, but they were knuckling down to work and rewarded in a meaningful currency for their hard work?

The people deserve better and more. We are sick and tired of being sick and tired. There is a generation that is ready to pick up the broken pieces and re-write the contract that you repeatedly breach through violations of the Constitution and fundamental freedoms.

People deserve hope. People deserve an ecosystem that allows them to work hard and reap the rewards of their hard work.

People deserve to be free and secure in their homes. People deserve a government that they can trust. We will never stop believing in the beauty of this nation regardless of the madness. But the madness must stop.

When people unite and find their collective voice to fight injustice, a nation is reborn.

Sincerely

A citizen who wants a better society,-Fadzayi Mahere


Make Zec more independent, impartial

IMRIGHTS registers its displeasure over the recent appointment of commissioners to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec).

President Emmerson Mnangagwa recently appointed six commissioners in terms of section 238(1)(b) of the Constitution which allows him to appoint from a list of nominees submitted by Parliament’s Committee on Standing Rules and Orders.

The recently appointed commissioners are Catherine Mpofu, Abigail Millicent Mohadi Ambrose, Janet Mbetu Nzvenga, Rosewita Marutare, Kudzai Shava and Shepherd Manhivi, who replaced the previous commissioners whose terms of office expired on July 6, 2022.

ZimRights believes that independence is the cornerstone of Zec as an entity that performs the role of a referee in democratic elections.

However, the recent appointments go against the principles of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (Article 17.1), as well as the Sadc Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections (section 4.1.9) which all speak to the need for member states to uphold the impartiality and independence of electoral management bodies.

Further, the Zimbabwean Constitution, under Chapter 12 (235 and 236) speaks to the need for Zec and its commissioners to be independent from partisanship and influence from political parties, among other factors.

ZimRights generally doubts the impartiality of the six commissioners.

For example, the appointment of Mohadi Ambrose, who is the biological daughter of Zanu PF vice-president and second secretary Kembo Mohadi, raises eyebrows.

While ZimRights believes in the principle of equal opportunities for everyone, including children of high-ranking officials, it sees the appointment of Mohadi Ambrose as a direct attack on Zec’s independence and integrity.

Just a few months from now, in 2023, Mohadi Ambrose will act as a referee in an election her father, Mohadi, and the party that he leads, will be contending in.

It is highly unlikely that she will be a neutral referee. Apart from her relationship to the Zanu PF vice-president, a record of Mohadi Ambrose’s performance during the interviews, shows that she was not among the best suitable candidates to be appointed as Zec commissioner.

This only supports the notion that nepotism was a factor in her appointment.

This appointment of the commissioners comes after ZimRights’ own findings from the recently launched State of Peace Report 2021, wherein 50% of community activists indicated that they were living in fragile peace.

One of the reasons for this fragility was the lack of confidence in Zimbabwe’s electoral systems’ capacity to deliver democracy.

Many are convinced that the election outcome is predetermined because the institutions are captured.

The appointment of questionable individuals as commissioners points to Zec’s lack of independence and impartiality, and it is, therefore, an attack on peace in Zimbabwe.

In light of this, ZimRights makes the following demands;

lThat the government of Zimbabwe (the Executive and the Legislature) respect the independence of Zec and ensure that Zec as an institution must be independent and also be seen to be independent.

As a result, it should revoke Mohadi Ambrose’s appointment, including any other compromised commissioner and replace them with neutral individuals.

lThat Mohadi Ambrose admits that, given her relationship to a top political contender, her position in the commission is not free from undue influence and/or capture from the ruling Zanu PF party and, therefore, resign from her post as a Zec commissioner –ZimRights Information Department


Authorities should look at themselves in the mirror

THE fact that Zimbabwe is experiencing an economic crisis is neither surprising nor terribly illuminating; most saw this coming months ago, as it became clear that there was a currency crisis in the offing.

Years of government’s economic smoke and mirrors created a situation in which much of the dollarised economy was backed by bond notes of questionable value, then the Zimbabwe dollar, and characterised by widespread use of electronic money worth far less than advertised.

When Finance minister Mthuli Ncube stated the obvious by noting that this system could not continue, Zimbabweans were quick to remember how their assets had spiralled into worthlessness in the past, and panic buying and shortages predictably ensued.

But government’s reaction to the crisis was not a foregone conclusion, and to date, it is deeply disappointing.

Contradictory statements about how government plans to navigate the currency crisis have bred suspicion and fear.

So has the State’s heavy-handed approach to managing the fallout. At one time, government threatened and scapegoated business owners, accusing them of price gouging and hoarding.

Scores of trade unionists were arrested for protesting, or planning to protest, a new 2% tax on electronic transactions — essentially an attempt to squeeze the deeply impoverished population even more to address economic shortfalls, was introduced.

State media trumpets headlines about breakthroughs with the international financial institutions or new investments from abroad, but closer inspection tends to reveal far less than meets the eye.

When creditors agree to a payment plan to clear longstanding debts, it doesn’t mean that new loans are coming, or even that arrears will actually get cleared.

When start-up hedge funds commit to try to raise capital for unspecified projects in the future, it doesn’t mean that an influx of dollars has been secured.

In their quest to paint a picture of a new dawn, Zimbabwean officials keep overselling small and preliminary steps, undermining their own credibility.

Confusion, repression, and misdirection seem to be the distinguishing characteristics of the “new dispensation,” and they contribute to citizens’ fundamental lack of confidence in government.

The 2018 elections were supposed to bolster the legitimacy of government and give Zimbabwe a solid new basis on which to move forward, but little seems solid and reliable in this new era — including, as the European Union noted, the election results themselves.-CFR

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