These statements, including the afore-mentioned Bulawayo incident and other violations of
basic freedoms during the course of 2017, easily explain the government’s reluctance to
institute the long overdue media reforms and respect for constitutional democracy.
It is this intolerance and obsession with retention of power, policy inconsistency, corruption
and economic mismanagement that resulted in acute cash shortages, sharp price increases,
unprecedented company closures, more than 90 percent unemployment, low investment
inflows, declining from US$545 million in 2014 to US$319 million in 2017.
Envisaged reforms become even more critical ahead of the 2018 elections to entrench
citizens’ rights to freedom of assembly, association, access to information and free
“We fully reaffirm our membership to the family of nations and express our commitment to
playing our part in regional and international organisations and arrangements in order to
make our modest contribution towards a prosperous and peaceful world order,” said
President Mnangagwa in his inauguration speech.
The first step towards commitment to regional and international organisations and
arrangements should be through the ratification of instruments such as the African Charter
on Democracy, Elections and Governance (ACDEG), which came into force on 15 February
Five years later, Zimbabwe is still to sign, let alone ratify this Charter. A total of 45 African












accession/ratification instruments, minus Zimbabwe.
Southern Africa Development Countries (SADC), countries that have either signed or ratified
the instrument include, among others, Zambia, Swaziland, Namibia, South Africa,
Mozambique, Malawi, Mauritius and Lesotho. In fact, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Tanzania
were the only three countries that were still to sign or ratify the Charter as of November
The pillars of democracy cannot be strengthened through failure to comply and domesticate
regional and continental instruments such as the ACDEG and the continued existence of
repressive laws such as AIPPA and BSA, among others.
These laws impinge on citizens’ right to freedom of expression and free flow of information
which is critical in shaping a new democratic dispensation. The Zimbabwe Broadcasting

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