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The will of the people shall prevail over coercive power
Restoration of Human Rights (ROHR)
December 16, 2010

Acknowledging that we have been called by our times to assume duty, deliberate effort and locate ourselves in the journey that Zimbabwe is on as a country, we reaffirm our undying commitment to the founding principles of peace, justice and freedom.

Our vision of seeing a peaceful, just and free nation that is conscious of and respects human rights still lurks in a distance at a time when much has been said and projected, with hopes raised in the advent of the Inclusive Government that followed the Global Political Agreement between the major political parties.

As ROHR Zimbabwe we strongly believe in the power of a governance model that is based on the will of the people through the universal democratic right to elect leaders of choice as opposed to the current arrangement which is at best a temporal truce designed to quell a violent political conflict that has dogged Zimbabwe for the past decade.

We note with deep concern that in many respects the coalition government has simply not lived to the people's expectations and neither can it justify its existence insofar as tackling the root causes to the Zimbabwe political instability namely a culture of impunity, selective application of the rule of law, a distorted and corrupted democracy, state sponsored human rights violations, lack of basic freedoms, widespread corruption, among many over the two years it has been in office. More concerning is the continued domination and abuse of state institutions and central government arms by ZANU PF to the overall, deliberate oppression and marginalization of the generality of the Zimbabwe people.

We are aware that ZANU PF has assumed a deliberate role calculated to frustrate efforts by sections of the coalition government targeted on reform and development and this is aimed at strengthening their stranglehold on power and much to the exasperation of a peace-loving nation. We are also aware that the sustenance of ZANU PF's hold onto power, even against the will of the people, has been built upon an aura of cohesive force and an ideology that promotes fear and destitution among the people for ease of their manipulation.

We are further aware that the Inclusive government, at the instance of ZANU PF continues to limit access to free media with a view to maintain its siege on the mindset of the oppressed people whilst feeding them only on partisan state propaganda. We are aware that the deployment of state propaganda and a restricted media space is calculated to work to the advantage of ZANU PF; come the next elections!

It has become clear that the current premature talk about elections by parties to the inclusive government, without first putting in place the necessary and acceptable conditions to achieve a credible election, is meant to send shock waves across the nation against the background of the state sponsored terror that characterized the 2008 election.

As a human rights defender, ROHR Zimbabwe therefore pledges to deploy all its energies and rally other civil society players in the battle to set free the mindset of the people of Zimbabwe insofar as their basic rights are concerned and unlocking the fear that has continued to alienate vast sections of the populations from making effective choices on issues of governance and their civil liberties. ROHR Zimbabwe also calls for perpetrators of human rights abuses to be brought to book in order to put an end to the prevailing culture of impunity and that this should be viewed as a step towards ensuring a free and fair election. Likewise, all victims of human rights violations must be acknowledged and measures taken to ensure justice.

We firmly believe that the future of Zimbabwe rest not on coercive power or any source of illegitimate authority but rather from the liberated free will of the people. We therefore re-dedicate ourselves to the struggle to set free the people of Zimbabwe from fear and to cause more cadres to join this transformational cause that seeks to bring about an end to the culture of violence and disregard for fundamental human rights.

In the same vein we challenge that the mindset of Zimbabweans be changed towards a culture of accountability, self respect, dignity and love. We further assert that all things unjust must be challenged if not resisted wherever, whenever and by whosoever and in doing so, we urge unison and solidarity among all progressive forces, the people and friends of Zimbabwe.

As ROHR Zimbabwe we hold that elections should not be held under the prevailing defective conditions as this can only produce more of the same - a stolen election, more deaths and destitution among the voting populace, an illegitimate regime and more repression. If elections were allowed to happen, we foresee overtures being made towards another unity government to the detriment of the people's will and fundamental freedoms. We hold that this would not be an acceptable outcome as this would result in the increased alienation of the people from matters to do with their own country. To ensure a credible, free and fair election, ROHR Zimbabwe demands that the Inclusive Government including all State agents prioritise forthwith the security of all persons regardless of political affiliation and that the same be true before, during and after elections. We further hold that elections in Zimbabwe can only be held after the following concerns are addressed:

  • The Zimbabwe Election Commission (ZEC) should be freed from the influence of the Executive and all political parties to ensure full control and impartiality in the discharge of its mandate.
  • The Inclusive government, through the agreed Global Political Agreement, must cause the realisation of their pledges through the delivery of a people driven constitution, an honest and transparent truth and national healing process and institutional reform.
  • The state must put an end to manipulation of security organs (police, army, central intelligence, prisons, etc) to end discrimination and ensure a return to professionalism and fairness in the discharge of their duties.
  • Draconian pieces of legislation such as POSA and AIPPA should be repealed to embrace freedom of expression, association and assembly.
  • Independent investigation committees should be set up to investigate the allegations of the existence of the Infrastructure of violence and torture bases around the country.
  • International and regional monitors must be allowed in the country and given full movement access into the grassroots communities to carry out investigative research on allegations of violence well before elections are held .

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