Zimbabwe should domesticate the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance to make it legally binding and come up with laws that ensure a free and fair poll, Global Justice Federation has said.
Zimbabwe deposited the instruments of ratification for charter, an African Union instrument that sets the standard and principles for good governance, popular participation, rule of law and human rights on the continent.
To date, 35 African countries have deposited the instruments of ratification.
In a statement this week, ActionAid Zimbabwe (AAZ) said while ratification of the Charter is a positive step in terms of committing to credible pre-and post-election processes, Zimbabwe has to domesticate the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance and “effect electoral changes in line with the spirit, the purport, and the objectives of the Charter”.
It said Zimbabwe has to support the ratification with electoral reforms necessary to achieve free, fair, and credible elections.
Zimbabwe should also ensure that it aligns its laws, national systems and governance to the ethics and principles of the Charter.
It said the March 26, 2022 by-elections, the upcoming 2023 general elections, and the successive electoral cycle, are an opportune time for the government to “demonstrate political will to be truly bound by the Charter”.
“As such, AAZ urges the government to create an environment that encourages popular participation, without intimidation, and to hold free, fair, and transparent elections,” it said.
The ratification of the Charter is a culmination of AAZ’s advocacy work in partnership with various civil society organisations, the media, and Activista Zimbabwe.
This was done in close liaison with the Parliament of Zimbabwe, ministries of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, and Foreign Affairs and International Trade, and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.
AAZ appreciates the efforts made by the Government of Zimbabwe in guaranteeing the ratification of the Charter as exemplified by President Emmerson Mnangagwa who in March 2018 signed the Charter, to ensure that the country operates within the dictates of regional instruments,” it said.
Despite the ratification, 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.