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NERA Officially Launches, Marking a Milestone for Democratic Elections in Zimbabwe

By Staff reporter

In a momentous occasion that will go down in the history of Zimbabwe, the National Elections Reform Agenda (NERA) was formally launched on Saturday, the 23rd of March 2024.

The event brought together esteemed members of NERA, honorable guests, and citizens from all walks of life, united under the banner of hope and unity.

The launch of NERA represents the culmination of a journey that began in the hearts of every Zimbabwean yearning for change, a voice, and a vote that truly counts. The Convener of NERA, Manyara Irene Muyenziwa, delivered a rousing speech that echoed throughout the venue, igniting a sense of purpose and determination among those in attendance.

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Muyenziwa acknowledged the challenges that have plagued Zimbabwe’s electoral system and their profound impact on democracy.

The lack of independence of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), opaque appointment processes for ZEC commissioners, and the alignment of security forces with political parties were among the obstacles highlighted.

These challenges not only undermine the credibility of the electoral process but also erode the trust of citizens in the democratic system.

Emphasising the importance of electoral reforms, Muyenziwa stressed that a fair and credible electoral process is the cornerstone of a thriving democracy. NERA aims to advocate for reforms that uphold democratic principles, foster a culture of democratic governance, and promote citizen participation in the electoral process.

To further solidify its mission, NERA aligns its advocacy efforts with key international instruments that set standards for democratic elections.

Muyenziwa delved into the significance of these charters and protocols, including the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR), the Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa to the Charter, the African Charter on Democracy, Elections, and Governance, the SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections, and the SADC Parliamentary Forum Norms and Standards for Elections in the SADC Region.

By adhering to these standards, Zimbabwe can enhance its legitimacy, credibility, and stability as a democratic nation, while also gaining the support and cooperation of other African countries and international partners who value and promote democracy.

However, Muyenziwa acknowledged that Zimbabwe has faced numerous challenges and shortcomings in fulfilling its obligations under these instruments. Issues such as flawed elections, violence, and intimidation have marred the country’s electoral and democratic processes. The launch of NERA signifies a turning point, a beacon of hope in the face of adversity, as Zimbabwe embarks on a new era of electoral integrity and democratic governance.

As the applause filled the air and the excitement reverberated through the crowd, it was clear that the launch of NERA was not just an event but a defining moment in Zimbabwe’s journey towards a brighter future. With the official launch, NERA has set the stage for a new era of democratic elections in Zimbabwe, where the will of the people will be accurately reflected and their voices will be heard.

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