Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum throws ED under the bus

BRUISED NOSE: Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa


ZHRNGO tells Commonwealth not to re-admit Zimbabwe for poor human rights record

THE Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum (ZHRNGO Forum) has cited Zimbabwe’s poor rights record as an indication the country is not yet ready to rejoin the Commonwealth following its unsuccessful application for re-admittance.

In a statement addressed to the Commonwealth, whose heads of states meeting ended in Rwanda on Saturday, the ZHRNGO Forum said it was doubtful Zimbabwe met the organisation’s conditions of admittance.

Zimbabwe re-applied to join the union of former British colonies and a few other countries, on May 15, 2018, some 15 years after late President Robert Mugabe withdrew its membership after a falling out with the western superpower.

Zimbabwe’s ambassador to Rwanda Charity Manyeruke with with Soraya Hakuziyaremye, Central Bank of Rwanda Deputy-Governor, during the Commonwealth Business Forum in Kigali

“We would note that since the suspension and withdrawal of Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth, the country has held four elections, one of which was so violent that it was repudiated even by the African Union. None of the elections has received a passing grade from reputable observer groups,” said the ZHRNGO Forum.

“We also note the serious political change that took place in November 2017 with the removal from office of Robert Mugabe, and the human rights record of the government both before and after the election in 2018. The Forum has had occasion to issue repeated reports documenting the unacceptable human rights record of the Zimbabwe government since November 2017.

“We draw attention to these reports because they demonstrate that it is doubtful that Zimbabwe currently meets the conditions of adherence to the Harare Commonwealth Declaration (1991), or The Millbrook Commonwealth Action Programme on the Harare Declaration (1995).

“We draw the Commonwealth’s attention to these reports because they outline in detail the problems that led the Commonwealth to take action on Zimbabwe, and this is relevant for any discussion about re-admission.”

Zimbabwean ambassador to Rwanda, Charity Manyeruke, students and members of civic society took part in some activities at the Rwanda meeting, which was described as a “positive development.”

The ZHRNGO Forum will fly in the face of President Emmerson Mnangagwa, whose re-engagement strategy continues to receive knocks.

Added the ZHRNGO Forum: “This serves to confirm the systemic nature in which both the ruling party and law enforcement agents have become and continue to be the biggest threat to the enjoyment of human rights by citizens in Zimbabwe.

“In view of the above, the Forum urges the Government of Zimbabwe to demonstrate a genuine and sustained effort at implementing political reforms and to show this commitment.

“While keen for Zimbabwe’s eventual return to the Commonwealth family, it maintains the view that any re-admission should follow a comprehensive and exhaustive evaluation of current conditions in the country by a high-level Commonwealth mission that consults widely with all stakeholders in the country and should ultimately be predicated upon a demonstrable commitment on the part of the Zimbabwean Government to uphold, defend and respect the sanctity of the Constitution and the principles buttressing constitutional democracy in the Republic that include constitutionalism, good governance and the rule of law.”

A total of 1 017 politically motivated human rights violations have been recorded by the ZHRNGO Forum in the first half of 2022 alone.

The violations, detailed in its Political and Human Rights Violations (January to June 2022) Report, range from arbitrary arrests, manipulation of the criminal justice system by state personnel to intimidate and punish perceived dissent by the adoption of protracted and undue pre-trial incarceration processes often characterised by the denial of bail; abductions, assault, torture including a total of ten extra-judicial killings.

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