By Peacemaker Zano
Human rights are defined as freedoms to which all humans are considered to be entitled, and these often include the rights to life, liberty, equality, freedom of expression and many others.
The Government of Zimbabwe, in the second republic values human rights and this is witnessed through the social and political reforms that are currently taking place.
Unlike the former Government, which was led by former President, Robert Mugabe, President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration has been appreciated for its efforts on reforms. The new dispensation is committed to remove all repressive laws that were enacted in favour of former colonialists.
It boggles the mind, reading an article in one of the privately owned local daily paper where it carried an article, titled, ‘Government the worst human rights abuser: MPs.’ In the article, the opposition Members of Parliament for the MDC party were accusing the Government for failing to observe human rights owing to the arrest of their legislators after the violent incidents that took place between 16 and 18 January 2019.
Also, the Zimbabwe Human Rights (NGO) Forum posted on its Facebook page that the Human Rights Watch has imprudently challenged President Mnangagwa to bring to book and arrest members of the security forces who were responsible for the alleged deaths of seventeen people who passed on during the national shut down protests.
It’s so unfortunate that the MDC legislators, civil society organisations and most NGOs have a propensity of accusing the Government for violating human rights while in actual fact they pay no attention to what the Government is actually doing to address the same issues.
It is worthy to note that, protection of citizens’ rights strengthens international peace and security, thereby enjoying a shared prosperity with other stable democratic countries around the world. Under the second republic, President Mnangagwa’s administration is protecting the rights of its citizens through a number of reforms.
Firstly, the new dispensation ensured that there is freedom of speech in the country. President Mnangagwa, as a listening leader, pledged that all those who have different views and ideologies from his administration should feel free to air their views in which ever channel they feel, but peacefully.
However, most opposition members abused that opportunity as they engaged in violent protests which led to the arrest of some MDC legislators. For instance, there was a video of MDC Chitungwiza North legislator, Godfrey Sithole that went viral on social media, where he was inciting his party supporters to violently protest. Following that, MDC supporters went on a rampage and destroyed properties in Chitungwiza.
So, the arrest of MDC MPs was above board. It’s an open secret that everyone who breaks the law will face arrest without fear or favour. Arresting of opposition legislators who include, MDC deputy Treasurer General, Charlton Hwende were done notwithstanding their political affiliation. Had it been that the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) arrested people owing to their political background, former Zanu PF legislator for Bikita West, Munyaradzi Kereke could not have been behind bars. In simple terms, it should be noted that no one is above the law.
Secondly, as a way of making Zimbabwe a democratic State, the Government is working flat out to abolish some of the laws that were repressive. Currently, the Government is working on four Bills which will lead to the repeal of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) and the Public Order and Security Act (POSA). Repealing of the two laws will certainly open up the media space and also afford Zimbabweans certain freedoms. It is through such reforms that Government’s efforts of addressing the issue of human rights are greatly appreciated.
In addition, the Government has recently established a taskforce to look into the issue of reforms. The Ministry of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services revealed that Government remains committed to the implementation of political, electoral and legislative reforms aimed at deepening the country's democratic processes as well as the ease of doing business, and as such President Mnangagwa appointed Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs' Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi to chair the taskforce.
Strong nations always value human rights and Zimbabwe is one of them.