Civil Society Organisations welcome the ratification of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance

THE Elections Resource Centre has called on the Zimbabwean government to support the recent ratification of the African Charter on Democracy with electoral reforms necessary to achieve free, fair and credible elections which are set for 2023.

This comes after President Emmerson Mnangagwa last Thursday signed the instrument of ratification of the ACDEG, making Zimbabwe a full State party to the charter.

The African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance is a roadmap setting out continental standards on democracy and good governance in Africa. It also sets out rules for free and fair elections as well as condemning unconstitutional changes of Governments.

To date there are 34 other countries who have ratified the charter.

In a statement, ERC programs officer Rudo Motsi said the ratification is a welcome step towards ensuring that Zimbabweans enjoy their democracy.

“The Election Resource Centre (ERC) welcomes the ratification of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (ACDEG) by the Government of Zimbabwe.

“While the ratification of the ACDEG is a positive step in terms of committing to credible elections and peaceful transfer of power, the ERC notes that the elections credibility crisis Zimbabwe has faced has not been a result of the failure to ratify the Charter but the failure to implement existing legal frameworks meant to spearhead credible elections,” said Motsi.

“Without the Government’s will to fully implement the ACDEG and existing laws aimed at achieving free, fair and credible elections, the ratification will be an exercise in futility.

“ERC remains concerned by the elections stakeholders’ failure to comply with local laws and the reluctance of the Government to implement reforms necessary to ensure free, fair and credible elections. It is imperative for all elections stakeholders to comply with the Charter, Constitution and laws governing elections.”

She called on the Government to ensure that the ratification is followed by the timely depositing of the Charter with the AU Commission in order for Zimbabwe to become a full State Party to the Charter.

Commenting on the same issue, Action Aids Zimbabwe national director Joy Mabenge said the implementation of ACDEG will foster economic development, poverty alleviation and also increase literacy.

“It’s a good step that has shown political will, but we are fully cognisant that it is one thing to ratify, and another to domesticate and to fully implement ACDEG. For us, we will keep pushing and working with other stakeholders to ensure that we get to a point where there is a degree of comfort in terms of alignment of our own national systems and national governance to the ethics and principles of the charter,” said Mabenge.

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