Bongani Ndlovu, columnist
The Second Republic has enshrined civil and political rights since coming to power, increasing the representation of women, freedom of expression and children’s rights.
Speaking at a post-Cabinet briefing yesterday, Information, Advertising and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said the country is fully committed to the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
She said the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs presented Zimbabwe’s periodic report under the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which the Cabinet approved.
The Minister summed up that the report shows that Zimbabwe has made great strides in ensuring the enjoyment of civil and political rights by its citizens.
âAs a nation, the country remains fully committed to the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and ensures that the goals set under the relevant articles are achieved,â she said.
Minister Mutsvangwa said that since 2018 there has been steady progress on equal rights between men and women.
âOn the equal rights of men and women to the enjoyment of civil and political rights, the constitutional provisions provide for the reservation of quotas for women in Parliament and in committees, while a balanced representation of the sexes is also stipulated in acts of Parliament.
For example, in 2018 there were 28 female and 30 male superior court judges, while in 2020 there were 31 female and 39 male. In 2018, there were 94 women and 156 men magistrates, while in 2020, there were 133 women and 96 men, âMinister Mutsvangwa said.
She said that in terms of freedom of thought, conscience and religion which is enshrined in article 60 (1) of the Constitution, people are free to practice any religion of their choice and religious groups can operate without no form of recording while at liberty. Constitutional and legislative measures are in place to ensure the protection of the right, such as the Broadcasting Services Act, a number of private newspapers, radio and television stations which have been licensed.
She said that with regard to children’s rights, in addition to the constitutional and legislative measures in place, other measures have been implemented.
âThe administrative measures implemented include the decentralization of the offices of the Registrar General to ensure the issuance of documents, the establishment of the victim-friendly court to protect vulnerable child witnesses and the basic education assistance module ( BEAM), âMinister Mutsvangwa said.
She said Zimbabwe has allowed its people to determine for themselves the political dispensation of their choice by holding elections at regular intervals as they come due, since independence in 1980.
âWith regard to the right to participate in public affairs, to vote and to have equal access to services, an independent electoral authority (Zimbabwe Election Commission) is in place, steps are stipulated and have been taken to ensure ballot and voting security. -the counting processes, election petitions have been fully dealt with and the demarcation of constituencies undertaken in accordance with the Constitution and the electoral law, âsaid Minister Mutsvangwa.