On 1 August, the world looked on in horror as Zimbabwean security forces fired live ammunition against demonstrators, killing at least six people. Scores of civilians were also injured in the violence, which took place just two days after disputed parliamentary and presidential elections.
While election day itself passed peacefully, ACTSA had warned that the playing field was highly uneven, undermining the prospect of a truly competitive contest. The country’s electoral commission lacked transparency and fairness, and state media were biased towards the ruling Zanu PF. Moreover, there were credible reports of citizens, particularly those in rural areas, facing intimidation and direct threats if they did not vote Zanu PF.
Our analysis of the pre-election situation, which was informed by our partners in Zimbabwe along with Zimbabwean diaspora groups in the UK, was recognised by British parliamentarians, the UK government and the US government. ACTSA has a proud track record of working in support of human rights in Zimbabwe. We have consistently called for free and fair elections, independent state institutions, civil liberties to be upheld, and a government that is focused on reducing poverty and inequality.
If you would like to donate to our appeal Zimbabwe: The World is Watching to help us keep eyes on the current situation in Zimbabwe and campaign for the international community to do more to support human rights in Zimbabwe you can do so here.
Emmerson Mnangagwa has been declared the President and Zanu PF have a majority in parliament. On top of the genuine concerns regarding the elections, the President must answer serious questions about why the security forces used lethal force against civilians. In addition, Zimbabwean human rights groups are saying that security forces have carried out dozens of abductions, beatings and rapes in the centre and north-eastern parts of the country. Indeed, we know of human tights defenders that have had to flee the country in fear pf their lives. There must be an independent investigation into all actual and reported abuses of human rights since the election, and those responsible must face justice in line with international standards.
Without a legitimate government that works to protect and empower its citizens, Zimbabwe will not address its many social and economic problems. The country’s education and health infrastructure is crumbling. An estimated 72% of Zimbabweans live below the national poverty line. Over a million (and potentially as many as 2.5 million) people face food insecurity. And the vast majority of the population lack opportunities for decent work. Thus so many Zimbabweans are forced to work in the informal sector for low wages and in poor conditions.
The world’s eyes are currently on Zimbabwe. But for how much longer?
Our experience is that Zimbabwe gets very little attention from powerful decision makers and from the mainstream media. On the rare occasions that this changes, it only does so for a very short period of time. Moreover, we should not forget that the response of the international community to the plight of the Zimbabwean people has been underwhelming at best and times actually counterproductive.
With your support we will:
- Bring an activist from Zimbabwe to the UK to build support for human rights, democracy and development.
- Inform and advocate to British parliamentarians and the UK government, so that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Department for International Development do more to tackle human rights violations and corruption in Zimbabwe.
- Work more closely with our colleagues in the Zimbabwe Europe Network, in order to increase our joint efforts to strategically influence the European Commission and Members of the European Parliament.
- Produce more analysis and campaign materials to engage with the UK and international media.
Many Zimbabweans have waited years for elections in a post-Mugabe era, but human rights are still being denied to Zimbaweans. Whilst the world is watching, stand with us in campaigning for human rights for all Zimbaweans, free and fair elections and accountability for the atrocities committed. Cick here to donate to the appeal.