Heal Zimbabwe joins the rest of Africa in commemorating Africa Day. This day is the annual commemoration of the 1963 founding of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) which later became the African Union (AU).
Africa Day commemorations offer an opportunity to reflect if the vision of the founding fathers of the AU has been realized to date. One of the key aspirations of the AU is the promotion and protection of human and peoples’ rights in accordance with the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights and other relevant human rights instruments. For Zimbabwe, the occasion of Africa Day is taking place against a background of widespread gross human rights violations. On 13 May 2020, three MDC Alliance activists, Honourable Joana Mamombe, MDC Youth Vice Chairperson, Cecelia Chimbiri and Deputy Organising Secretary, Netsai Marova were abducted and tortured. The three activists were later found two days later. Although the police assured the nation that they are investigating the inhumane treatment of the 3 activists, no one has yet been arrested in connection with the case.
Zimbabwe, as a member of the African Union must stand guided by provisions of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights, a human rights instrument intended to promote and protect human rights and basic freedoms on the African continent. In addition, one of the Aspirations of Agenda 2063, which is both a vision and an action Plan launched by the African Union in 2015, aims to achieve a peaceful and a secure Africa where mechanisms for peaceful prevention and resolution of conflicts will be functional at all levels. As a first step, dialogue-centred conflict prevention and resolution must be actively promoted and a culture of peace and tolerance must be cultivated in Zimbabwe.
In light of this year’s commemorations, Heal Zimbabwe implores government to create a conducive environment for citizens to enjoy fundamental human rights and freedoms that are enshrined in the constitution. Added to this, government must fully capacitate and adhere to a principle of non-interference of the Chapter 12 Independent Commissions supporting Democracy such as the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) and the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) among others. These commissions have a constitutional obligation to secure the observance of democratic values and principles by the state and all institutions and agencies of government and government controlled entities and to ensure that injustices are remedied.