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Statement on Political Violence in Zimbabwe

We are deeply concerned by the reports of political violence and other human rights violations in Zimbabwe in the lead up to the country’s general elections on 23rd August 2023. These violations are against the African Union (AU) and Zimbabwean normative frameworks for electoral integrity.

We, therefore, join Zimbabweans and all Africans in demanding that electoral processes across our continent are peaceful, transparent, inclusive, and fair.

The African Charter on Democracy, Elections, and Governance (ACDEG) requires that every African government must protect basic human rights, including freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, and association. To this end, we urge the government of Zimbabwe and all political leaders to uphold the sanctity of the AU Shared Values, the 2013 Zimbabwean Constitution, and the electoral process. In this regard, the government should reconsider and review repressive laws and other measures that stifle the diverse voices of its people.

Fair electoral processes depend on citizens freely attending campaign gatherings and rallies without repercussions and fear for their well-being. Equally, an impartial electoral body is the backbone of fair elections, and concerns regarding the impartiality and independence of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission are deeply troubling and must be addressed. Due diligence, good governance, and transparency should be rigorously upheld.

Women play an invaluable role in fostering peace and ensuring fair democratic processes, but the upcoming elections also demonstrate a concerning lack of women’s representation on the ballot. We call on the government and all political leaders to ensure that women’s voices are heard during the electoral process.

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