Issued by ERC
Election Resource Cente noted with deep concern the escalation of closure of democratic space in Zimbabwe which has not spared journalists, civic activists, political parties and ordinary Zimbabweans.
Such closure of space through abductions, arrests, incarcerations, and threats are synonymous with the country’s checkered history of intolerance towards descending voices.
Given the political undertones underlining the ongoing clampdown on constitutionally enshrined rights such as freedom of speech, expression, association and that of the media,the response of the state to discontent poses an existential threat to free and fair elections in the future.
More specifically, the clampdown on the media freedoms under COVID19 has the potential of limiting citizens access to information during a period in which reliable on alternative sources of information is most critical.
The actions of the state have the ultimate effect of threatening democratic participation by citizens in the manner in which Zimbabwe is governed, a phenomenon which is inconsistent with both our constitution and international best practice.
The continued criminalisation of civic work and weaponization of laws to curtail rights and freedoms is unacceptable and the ERC calls upon state institutions and individual civil servants perpetuating human rights violations that history has consistently treated such actions harshly.
The pursuit of credible,free and fair elections in Zimbabwe is grounded in strengthened institutions,laws and practices that sustain democracy.