by MARCUS MUSHONGA
HARARE, (CAJ News) – THE new administration of President Emmerson Mnangagwa has been urged to promptly restore the rule of law and ensure free and fair elections in Zimbabwe following last month’s ouster of Robert Mugabe.
Sam Zarifi, the Secretary General of the International Committee of Jurists (ICJ), made the appeal in Harare at the conclusion of his visit.
He called on government to ensure all those arrested and detained during the military intervention were identified and brought immediately before
an independent and impartial tribunal.
Zarifi called for investigations of unlawful deaths, torture or ill-treatment and arbitrary arrest and detention and that police and the military are subject to accountability and receive proper and adequate training in performing their duties.
The call by ICJ, which is composed of 60 eminent judges and lawyers from around the world, comes amid indications Mnangagwa would remain in office until new elections, currently scheduled to be held before August 2018.
“The change in leaders in Zimbabwe presents an opportunity to reverse decades of damage to the rule of law and respect for human rights in the
country,” said Zarifi.
He pointed Zimbabwe’s military had played a central role in the country’s affairs for decades, while civilian institutions had suffered under intense political pressure.
“Zimbabwe should grasp this opportunity to demonstrate that it can and will strengthen the rule of law and respect for human rights in order to improve the lives of all people in the country.”
The military is influential in Zimbabwean politics.
Before Mugabe’s ouster, generals are on record declaring they will never recognize a leader without liberation war credentials.
They also perpetrated a campaign of violence against opposition supporters when Mugabe lost the first round of elections to longtime rival Morgan Tsvangirai in 2008.
– CAJ News