Zimbabwe is celebrating 44 years of independence under the theme, Zim@44: Unity and Peace towards achieving Vision 2030.

In a statement to the press, the Chairperson, Commissioners and Secretariat of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) joined the nation in commemorating the 44th Independence Anniversary for Zimbabwe.

This is a time to reflect on the development of Zimbabwe as a nation-state.

The Republic of Zimbabwe was born out of the liberation struggle, which was a fight for the enjoyment of human rights and freedoms, particularly to attain the rights to self-determination, sovereignty, and human dignity. 

The war of liberation was necessitated by the need to address inequalities and human rights violations that characterised the pre-independence society.

The colonial government established a system that was blatantly discriminatory to the indigenous black majority.

There was rampant violation of property rights, political rights, freedom of assembly and association, access to justice and labour rights to mention but a few.

It took painful sacrifices by the sons and daughters of Zimbabwe who fought side by side in a struggle that finally led to the establishment of an independent Zimbabwe on the 18th of April 1980.

Independence Day signals the emergence of an egalitarian society that has now come of age.

Indeed several milestone achievements have been registered over the years including increased access to education, decentralised development, and access to land and other livelihood opportunities.

Zimbabwe has made significant strides in the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) underpinned by the current National Development Strategy 1, 2021-2025 (NDS 1) and the country’s Vision 2030.

One of the most significant milestones for the Republic of Zimbabwe was the development and adoption of the new people-driven Constitution on the 22nd of May 2013.

The 2013 Constitution became the supreme law of the land. It established an expanded and elaborate Declaration of Rights under Chapter 4 of the Constitution, which protects the fundamental rights of everyone in Zimbabwe.

The Declaration of Rights guarantees both Civil and Political Rights as well as Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights.

Further, the Declaration of Rights elaborates and strengthens the protection of the rights of vulnerable groups including women, children, the elderly, persons with disabilities and veterans of the liberation struggle. 

The ZHRC takes the opportunity of the Independence Day Commemorations to applaud the Government of Zimbabwe on the progress to date. In order to ensure the continued and increased enjoyment of rights the Commission urges the Government of Zimbabwe to prioritise the full and effective implementation of the Constitution.

It is particularly important to ensure the full participation and enjoyment of human rights and freedoms by the special and vulnerable groups mentioned above. It is important that every Zimbabwean fully enjoys their rights and freedoms.

There is a need to ensure accelerated economic development for the benefit of all. All structures of government including central government and local authorities must adhere to principles of good governance and public administration to ensure effective and efficient service delivery as envisaged under Chapter 9 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

In addition, all public officials must ensure that all citizens enjoy the right to administrative justice as enshrined in Section 68 of the Constitution.

Administrative conduct in public offices must be lawful, prompt, efficient, reasonable, and fair.

There is need for increased efforts and action against corruption, a negative phenomenon that has resulted in the unfortunate leakage of national resources leading to the undermining of the fundamental rights of citizens and reduced progress in development.

As we mark this occasion, let us renew our commitment to human rights and dignity, honouring those who fought for the rights and liberties we enjoy today.

The ZHRC pledges to continue its mandate to uphold and build a more just and inclusive society. The Commission urges the Parliament of Zimbabwe, civic society groups and the media to continue working together in strengthening electoral laws and in inculcating a culture of human rights respect and political tolerance, as these are defining tenets of a mature democracy.

As a society, we must not tolerate impunity but hold each other accountable and responsible for actions and decisions. Together we can make Zimbabwe a prosperous and highly developed nation through the deepening of a culture of human rights.

Indeed, as the full enjoyment of human rights unites us, let us be guided by the celebration theme that calls for unity and peace towards achieving Vision 2030.

Happy Independence day Zimbabwe !!                                                                                                

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