via Statement on the International Day of Democracy | The Zimbabwean by Heal Zimbabwe 16.09.13
Heal Zimbabwe joins the nation and the rest of the world in commemorating the International Day of Democracy. The International Day of Democracy which is celebrated on the 15th of September was established by the United Nations in 2007 as an opportunity to review the state of democracy in the world.
In particular, the day celebrates the values of freedom, respect for human rights and the principle of holding genuine elections by universal suffrage. The United Nations goes on further to highlight that democracy is a universal value based on the freely expressed will of people to determine their own political, economic, social, cultural systems and their full participation in all aspects of their lives.
Heal Zimbabwe is convinced that the ultimate goal of democracy is to preserve and promote the dignity and fundamental rights of the individual, achieve social cohesion and justice, foster economic and social development in a niche to guarantee social stability and well-being.
This year’s commemorations are coming under the banner of, Strengthening Voices for Democracy. The theme emphasises the importance of people’s voices, both expressed directly and through their elected representatives in today’s political, economic, social, developmental, environmental and technological debates.
Therefore, the ability of people to raise their voices and decide how they are governed lies at the heart of democracy. For this democracy to be achievable and sustainable, there is need to build strong institutions. These institutions have to ensure good governance, accountability, equality and justice for all citizens.
Coming against the background of the contested July 31 2013 harmonized elections, in which the professionalism and impartiality of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), the security forces, the judiciary and traditional leaders has been questioned, the commemorations could not have come at a more appropriate time in Zimbabwe. This justifies the need for strengthening local community voices in ensuring accountability of public institutions, their transparency and responsiveness to their needs and expectations.
Heal Zimbabwe emphasizes the need for tolerance of diverse views as an important ingredient to a truly democratic state and society. This freedom is expressed in Zimbabwe’s new democratic constitution. We also content the need to return to constitutionalism, where the respect for the constitution by all citizens remain paramount and pivotal to the building of a democratic Zimbabwe. We call upon the new Government to create an environment conducive for a free, unfettered and active civil society.