“Elections are meant to provide citizens with real and genuine opportunities to make choices. Let the citizens speak through the ballot,” noted the report entitled: Zimbabwe Election Support Network consolidated Ballot update 2011 an analysis of 2011: Respect for human rights and implications for free and fair elections.
It noted that differences in political ideologies as well as lack of political will to reform remain evident, characterised by increased polarisation, hate language, simmering violence and tensions in Zimbabwe’s Inclusive government.
“The need for political reform remains alive and critical in Zimbabwe as we prepare for the referendum and the general election.”
The report was compiled after 210 observers had been deployed in the country throughout 2011 to monitor Zimbabwe’s political situation.
The report among others noted that Zimbabweans were coerced to attend Zanu (PF) gatherings against the spirit of the Global Political Agreement (GPA).
“Thirty-three percent of reports revealed that people were forced to attend Zanu (PF) meetings. This undermines the notion of voluntary participation in political party activities,” stated the report.
Zanu (PF) was able to conduct meetings to the exclusion of other parties because it was not subjected to the rigorous requirements to convene meetings as was required for the two Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) formations and civic organisations. In addition, about 27 percent of people were forced to buy Zanu (PF) membership cards.
The report also showed that over 60 percent of Zimbabweans were not free to express themselves even through wearing partly regalia unless if the regalia belonged to Zanu (PF). Violence was a real threat in most parts of the country.
“In 30 per cent of cases, observers reported political harassment to citizens such as threats of violence, forced attendances to political meetings and denial of the right to read newspapers of their choice,” read the report.
The report stated that the existence of different forms of violence can be explained by the activities of various groups such as the Mbare based Chipangano militant group backing Zanu (PF) in Harare and the presence of war veteran leader Jabulani Sibanda in some provinces such as Masvingo in 2011. In areas such as Mashonaland West and Mashonaland Central, the presence of political “bases” which were later dismantled accounted for the presence of violence. While the report noted that in some cases the existence of the bases was denied, they were a cause for concern because they served as places of torture and where gross acts of human rights violations were perpetrated.
The observers noted in the report that there was no political will to come up with a new constitution given the false starts to the process and the many disturbances that followed the process. Political party preferences also affected smooth progress of the constitution making process.
In the area of national healing only four percent of apologies had been made.”Observers’ reports reveal that 96 per cent of the victims have not received any compensation for losses suffered due to human rights violations.”The Organ on Reconciliation and National Healing has been viewed as ineffective.