Zimbabwe has placed good governance at the centre of its development trajectory and is committed to reforming the electoral and political environment through strengthening of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).
Speaker of the National Assembly Advocate Jacob Mudenda told a capacity building workshop for parliamentarians on Tuesday that Zimbabwe had made strides in enhancing participatory democracy and accountable governance in line with Article 17 of the relevant Africa Union charter which requires African countries to reaffirm commitment to regular, transparent, free and fair elections.
Parliament should expedite the ratification of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Good Governance to further enhance the country’s democratic, electoral and governance structure, which he said should be fairly easy as the charter’s principles were already captured in Zimbabwe country’s Constitution.
Once ratified, Parliament and stakeholders such as ActionAid will sift through the Electoral Act to remove and align its provisions to the charter.
This comes as the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs is in the process of preparing instruments for the ratification, which will see Zimbabwe becoming a State Party to the Charter after the instrument is deposited with the Chairperson of the African Union Commission.
Zimbabwe has only signed the charter, which promotes respect for human rights, representative governance, holding of regular, transparent, free and fair elections signifying its agreement, but needs to go through the formal treaty ratification process.
The charter also seeks to elevate gender equality in private and public institutions, effective participation of citizens in public affairs and strengthening pluralism.
“Albeit slow, the government of Zimbabwe has demonstrated its firm commitment towards reforming the political and electoral environment,” he said.
“This has seen the establishment and strengthening of an independent and impartial national electoral body, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, which is responsible for the management of elections.”
Adv Mudenda said Government had made strides in establishing and strengthening national mechanisms for redress in election-related disputes.
He challenged MPs, particularly the portfolio committees on Foreign Affairs and on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, and the Thematic Committee on Human Rights, to spearhead the lobbying for the expeditious ratification of the charter.
“We dare not shirk from this responsibility as the Constitution obligates us to promote democracy and good governance in Zimbabwe, which resonates with the avowed objectives and principles of the charter,” said Adv Mudenda.
The Constitutional Court was established in terms of the national Constitution and its verdict is final, and all players have been challenged to respect it.
Adv Mudenda said by adopting the charter, Zimbabwe will not be reinventing the wheel as the majority of its values and principles were recognised and provided for in the constitution.
“To that an extent, there should be no hesitation to ratify and accede to the charter,” he said.