Ahead of Zimbabwe’s elections this month, Institute for Justice and Reconciliation (IJR) senior project leader Dr Webster Zambara said on Friday that the country’s citizens hope that it will be free and fair and that it will allow them to freely choose a candidate to take the country forward.
The country will hold its presidential and parliamentary elections on August 23.
Zambara was speaking during a seminar on the issues and prospects of the Zimbabwe elections, organised by the Africa Institute of South Africa at the Human Sciences Research Council, and the IJR. There he said the issue of the Zimbabwean elections and the violence associated with it, were quite topical.
He noted that whenever Zimbabwe held an election, the issue of its freeness, fairness and its credibility became central. He said it was not surprising because since 2000 the country had had electoral processes challenged in court.
Specifically, he referred to the 2008 elections, where many people were killed, as well as the 2018 election, which, despite being peaceful until the election day, resulted in protests owing to delays in announcing the results. This led to six people being killed.
Zambara explained that last week in Glenview, an opposition supporter was killed, allegedly by ZANU-PF supporters.
“This is something that should not happen in an election that is free and fair. Luckily the police have reacted quite swiftly this time again and up to ten people have since been arrested regarding the case,” he said.
He alleged that the issue of fear was perennial in the country’s elections, and added that sometimes elections meant war in Zimbabwe.
He said while there had been many cases of violence, torture, human rights violations and political violence, this time around lower levels of violence were being witnessed.
“We hope that the peace that is there continues. Every election in any country gives people a new hope, a new mandate to the President or a change of government,” he said.