Selected Challenges Associated with Civil and Political Rights Violations in Zimbabwe (Part 1)

AuthorPontsho Mokone - Howard Chitimira
PositionLLD Candidate, Faculty of Law, North-West University, South Africa - Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, North-West University, South Africa
Pages5-24
JURIDICA
5
Studies and Articles
Selected Challenges Associated with Civil
and Political Rights Violations in
Zimbabwe
(Part 1)
Pontsho Mokone
1
, Howard Chitimira
2
Abstract: Various challenges have been associated with the violation of civil and political rights in
Zimbabwe before and after its political independence from the white minority rule in 1980 to date.
Thus, despite the fact that these civil and political rights wer e somewhat protected in t he Lancaster
House Constitution of Zimbabwe 1979 (SI 1979/1600) as amended by Act 1 of 2009 which
introduced amendment 19 of 2009 (Lancaster House Constitution) and subsequently, unde r the
Zimbabwe Constitution Amendment Act 20 of 2013 (Zimbabwe Constitution, 2013), various
violations of these rights could still be perpetrated by the offenders against the members of the public,
especially, during elections in Zimbabwe. Given this background, such civil and political rights
violations are discussed in two parts: firstly Part I of this article analyses historical aspects of civil and
political rights abuses, constitutional obligations arising from civil and political rights and legislative-
related challenges associated with the protection of such rights in Zimbabwe. Thereafter, Part II of the
next article discusses politically-related challenges, economic-related challenges, constitutional-
related challenges as well as regional and international law challenges pertaining to the protection of
such rights in Zimbabwe.
Keywords: Civil and political rights; protection; challenges; Zimbabwe; violations
1. Introduction
Civil and political rights are those rights that enable individuals to freely exercise
and enjoy their lives in their respective countries without discrimination,
1
LLD Candidate, Faculty of Law, North-West University, South Africa, Address: Private Bag
X2046, Mmabatho, 2745, South Africa, E-mail: pontshophila@gmail.com. This article was
influenced in part by M okone's LLM dissertation entitled An Analysis of the Protection of Selected
Civil and Political Rights under the Zimbabwe Constitution 2013. In this regard, she wishes to
acknowledge the expert input of Prof H. Chitimira.
2
Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, North-West University, South Africa, Address: Private Bag
X2046, Mmabatho, 2735, South Africa, Corresponding author: Howard.Chitimira@nwu.ac.za.
AUDJ, Vol. 14, No. 2/2018, pp. 5-24
ACTA UNIVERSITATIS DANUBIUS Vol. 14, no. 2/2018
6
infringement or oppression by governments, independent organisations a nd/or
other individuals. Thus, civil and political rights empower an individual to
participate freely in the civil and political activities that pertains to his or her
society without discrimination, victimisation or prejudice from any other persons
(Avocats Sans Frontières, 2017, page number unknown; the International Bar
Association, 2007, pp. 2, 15-59, for related examples of civil and political rights
violations in Zimbabwe). Civil and political rights are usually enforced as a vehicle
for the enjoyment of various freedoms and liberties for individuals in many
democratic countries.
1
Accordingly, for the purposes of this article, civil and
political rights include the right to life; freedom from torture or cruel, inhuman or
degrading treatment or punishment; freedom from slavery or servitude; freedom
from forced or compulsory labour; the right to personal liberty; the right t o
personal security; rights of arrested and detained persons; right to equality and non-
discrimination; right to privacy; freedom of assembly and association; freedom to
demonstrate and petition; freedom of conscience; freedom of expression and
freedom of the media; right to human dignity; freedom of movement and residence;
political rights; right to administrative justice; right to a fair hearing and rights of
accused persons (ss 48 to 70 of the Zimbabwe Constitution Amendment Act 20 of
2013 (Zimbabwe Constitution 2013); related rights were also protected under the
Lancaster House Constitution of Zimbabwe 1979 (SI 1979/1600) as amended by
Act 1 of 2009 which introduced amendment 19 of 2009 (Lancaster House
Constitution), see ss 12 to 23A). Nonetheless, despite the fact that civil and
political rights were somewhat protected in the Lancaster House Constitution (ss
12 to 23A) and subsequently, under the Zimbabwe Constitution 2013 (ss 48 to 70),
various violations of these rights have continued to be perpetrated against the
members of the public by the offenders, especially, towards and/or during elections
in Zimbabwe (Robertson, 2014, pp. 4-5; Dziva, Dube and Manatsa, 2013, pp. 85-
91; Asylum Research Consultancy, 2015, pp. 1, 72-224; the International Bar
Association, 2007, pp. 7-9, for further related comments). This clearly shows that
the mere fact that civil and political rights are protected under the Zimbabwe
Constitution 2013 does not in itself guarantee the enjoyment of, and/or respect for
1
See articles 1-51 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), adopted on 16
December 1966, G.A. Res. 2200A (XXI), 21 U.N. GAOR Supp. (No. 16) 52, U.N. Doc. A/6316, 999
U.N.T.S. 171 (1966). The ICCPR came into force on 23 March 1976 and was eventually signed and
acceded to by Zimbabwe on 13 August 1991; see further articles 1 to 21 of the Universal Declaration
of Human Rights (UDHR), adopted on 10 December 1948, G.A. Res. 217A (III), U.N. Doc. A/180
(1948); articles 1 to 13 of the the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR). The
ACHPR was adopted on 27 June 1981, OAU Doc. CAB/LEG/67/3 rev. 5, 21 I.L.M. 58 in Banjul
(1982) and came into force on 21 October 1986.

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