‘Domesticate elections charter’ 

Source: ‘Domesticate elections charter’ – NewsDay Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa looks on as he gives a media conference at the State House in Harare, Zimbabwe, August 3, 2018. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration has been urged to move a step further and domesticate the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (ACDEG) to guarantee free and fair elections, following the country’s ratification of the charter in November last year.

ACDEG binds member States to adhere to constitutionalism and rule of law, hold free, fair and regular elections, and respect separation of powers among various arms of government.

It also requires member States to respect gender equality, participation of citizens in development and governance issues, accountability and transparency in resource allocation and management, rejection of corruption, as well as strengthening political pluralism and recognising legally-constituted political parties, including the opposition.

ActionAid Zimbabwe national director Joy Mabenge in a statement yesterday said after depositing the instrument of ratification with the AU, the government should now domesticate to level the political playing ground ahead of next year’s general elections.

“ACDEG is an AU instrument that sets the standards, and principles for good governance, popular participation, rule of law and human rights in Africa. To date, 34 African countries have deposited the instruments of ratification and ratified the Charter making Zimbabwe the 35th,” Mabenge said.

“Despite this positive effort, the charter is yet to be legally binding on Zimbabwe as a State party either in terms of the Constitution or in terms of the Charter. The March 26, 2022 by-elections, the 2023 general elections and the successive electoral cycle, are an opportune time for the government of Zimbabwe to demonstrate political will to be truly bound by the charter,” he said.

Mabenge urged the government to create an environment that encourages popular participation, without intimidation, and to hold free, fair and transparent elections.

“While the ratification of the ACDEG is a positive step in terms of committing to credible pre- and post-election processes, ActionAid Zimbabwe now, therefore, calls upon the government of Zimbabwe to domesticate the charter and effect electoral changes in line with the spirit, the purport and the objectives of the charter.”

ActionAid Zimbabwe also urged the government to support ratification of the charter with electoral reforms necessary to achieve free, fair and credible elections.

“There is need to support the ratification with electoral reforms necessary to achieve free, fair and credible elections, and to ensure that the nation aligns its laws, national systems and governance to the ethics and principles of the charter.”