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).
For Zimbabwe, Africa Day commemorations offer an opportunity to reflect if the vision of the founding fathers of the AU have been realized to date. One of the key things they envisaged was promotion of unity and solidarity among African states. The commemorations for this year are taking place a few months before Zimbabwe goes for watershed elections. Recent incidences of violence that have been recorded in primary elections for both MDC-T and ZANU PF cast doubt over the possibility of violent free elections. In light of this, Independent Commissions that support Democracy such as the National Peace and Reconciliation Commissions (NPRC) must without delay set up early warning and early response mechanisms for the early detection of conflicts ahead of the 2018 elections.
Zimbabwe as a member of the African Union must also 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-centered conflict prevention and resolution must be actively promoted and a culture of peace and tolerance must be cultivated among political parties in Zimbabwe.
In light of this year’s commemorations, Heal Zimbabwe urges government to commit fully and guarantee the conducting of free, fair and violent free elections by putting the necessary infrastructure in place such as fully capacitating Independent Commissions that support Democracy such as NPRC for effective discharge of their constitutional duties. This is a direct contribution to the African Union vision of Agenda 2063, which aims to achieve a peaceful and secure Africa where all mechanisms for peaceful prevention and resolution of conflicts will be functional at all levels.