PRESS RELEASE ###STARTS###
On Tuesday April 18, 2017, Zimbabwe Human Rights Organisation (ZHRO), and other Human Rights organizations including Restoration of Human Rights Zimbabwe (ROHR) & Zimbabwe Citizens Initiative (ZCI), some political parties, and citizens movements are uniting to demonstrate outside the Zimbabwean Embassy in London, UK followed by a peaceful march to 10 Downing Street where a signed petition will be submitted to the UK government.
ZHRO is initiating an ongoing campaign for a second independence for Zimbabwe termed, '#Take2Zimbabwe' in support of a united citizens ‘front’ coming together against the betrayal of independence irrespective of parties, groups, movements etc. In effect ‘the people’ will be rejecting the Independence Day celebration in favour of triggering their own “Zexit” – leaving behind the failed State of Zimbabwe in favour of a new Independent Zimbabwe.
"#Take2Zimbabwe What Independence? concept was birthed from realization that I/you/we and those past have been tragically betrayed by the Mugabe regime & his ZANU PF government. The very definition of independent is not what Zimbabwe is today or has been for decades. Look around you, What Independence?" - Mable Kayiya; Marketing Director ZHRO.
"We feel that the protest is necessary to highlight the Human Right abuses in Zimbabwe, we cannot celebrate being Independent when we are being denied the right to vote and our people are being abducted and tortured for speaking out the truth," stated Farai Nhakaniso, spokesperson for ROHR Zimbabwe U.K. Chapter.
To denounce this ‘fake’ independence, citizens across the social & political spectrum will rally outside the Zimbabwean Embassy, and places where this year's "Independence Celebrations" will be held by ZANU PF chapters in the UK.
Will there be a reason for ordinary Zimbabweans to hail our country as "independent" at all?
Do Zimbabweans genuinely have democratic values and freedoms to celebrate?
The answer is a clear and unequivocal NO! Certainly a culture of political intolerance, violence perpetrated by state security forces and human rights abuses has persisted with impunity. The ZANU PF government continues the repression of the country's opposition parties and its supporters, including through the continued evictions of people from their urban and rural homes using state resources, the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP).
Mazowe villagers are the latest victims and a perfect example of how the judgements of the courts are ignored. The villagers of Arnold Farm in Mazowe have been brutalised by the ZRP as they were forcibly evicted to make way for a wildlife venture by the elite Grace Mugabe.
Zimbabwe should not be considered as independent because:
- Although the country is supposed to be governed by a constitution, the Mugabe Regime & it's ZANU PF government's intolerant authoritarian rule makes Zimbabwe an undemocratic country. An autocratic regime is a poor guarantee for prosperity, poverty reduction and human rights.
- the media, civic groups, activists and ordinary people are not allowed to criticise the government for they would be labelled as ‘sellouts’ and brutalised as a consequence.
- there is no free and fair elections, freedom of speech and expression are limited and violence by state security agents is sanctioned by the government on those who defy.
- the elections can only be won by Mugabe’s Regime & it's ZANU PF government using unfair means as we are about to see in 2018.
- this has eroded the incentive for voting and decreased the value of a vote. ZANU PF will again harass the opposition parties' supporters and have ZEC declare them as winner in 2018.
- civic meetings and most demonstrations are declared illegal to allow police brutality.
- politically motivated violence, such as murders, and disappearances, rampant intimidation, political thuggery, harassment of opposition supporters and intolerance of descent are endemic during the run-up to elections.
In light of this, it is clear that Zimbabwe does not have a universally acceptable democratic framework and Zimbabweans have had no experience of democracy during and after white minority rule. Currently in Zimbabwe the post-independence type of democracy definition is the continuation of the previous non-democratic Rhodesian rule. Thus these independence celebrations have a negative effect on the prospects for democratic partnerships/coalitions and on perceptions among the Zimbabwean populations of democracy as a political system.
Although the Mugabe Regime & it's ZANU PF government’s autocratic repression has been effective for 37 years, it has, and we have seen in recent times increased discontent among Zimbabweans. We believe that democracy is a valued and preferred system of governance by Zimbabweans therefore it's evidently clear that the Zimbabwean populations across the world should show their unhappiness and dissatisfaction with the democratic credentials of ZANU PF on this 18 April 2017.
Thus the need for #Take2Zimbabwe.