By Sibongile Maruta
The Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC), civil society organisations and other independent commissions have laid out possible initiatives to strengthen capacities and strategies to ensure human rights are upheld during this year’s electoral process.
Speaking at the knowledge exchange programme seminar held in Harare yesterday, ZHRC chairperson Mr Elasto Mugwadi said the three bodies had a role to play in efforts to ensure peace within the electoral cycle.
He said there was need to harness limited resources for a common goal as engagements between independent commissions and civil society were crucial in building democratic societies.
“The protection of human rights of the citizens in the election processes is crucial and this seminar is for us to put our heads together and come up with ways to protect these rights,” said Mr Mugwadi.
“The engagements between independent commissions and civil society to foster continued collaboration are crucial in building democratic societies, where the respect for human rights, the rule of law and upholding of constitutionalism are observed.
“While independent commissions are broadly mandated to support and entrench human rights and democracy, protect the sovereignty of the people, promote constitutionalism, ensure efficient service delivery and ensure that all state organs observe democratic values and principles, they cannot achieve this mandate without collaboration with civil society.”
Mr Mugwadi noted that President Mnangagwa’s recent assertion that civil society was important in turning around the economy was welcome.
Zimbabwe Gender Commission (ZGC) chairperson Margaret Sangarwe-Mukahanana commended Government’s efforts to establish independent commissions.