The Role of Weak Institutions in Underdevelopment – Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe is one of the developing African Nations that is struggling to advance development due to existence of weak institutions. Zimbabwean Human Rights institutions have been found to be very weak making it difficult for the country to advance development. According to Mujuru (2015), the Zimbabwean Human Rights institutions are characterized by lack of accountability and lack of respect for Human Rights. Lack of respect for human rights in Zimbabwe is a threat to development in Zimbabwe because the population that can help in provision of labor keeps suffering all the year round.
The best example that can be used to demonstrate the degree of weakness of Zimbabwean Human Rights institutions is drawn from abuses that were witnessed in the country in 2014. In February 2014, approximately 20,000 people who were displaced by floods in Masvingo Province received little protection from the government after they were evicted from their areas of residence and resettled elsewhere. The land that the government used to resettle the victims had disputed titles. In addition, these people have not received adequate compensation and they are living in extremely poor conditions (Mudzingwa, 2014). Later on in August, the anti-riot police used excessive force on flood victims who were protesting for neglect by the Zimbabwean government. In another example, people living in Harare do not have adequate access clean water and good sanitation. This makes them to experience health problems that even prevent them from going to work. Furthermore, police officers deny these Harare residents basic rights such as freedom of expression and assembly. These police officers use old law are not in compliance with the new Zimbabwean Constitution (Mudzingwa, 2014).
Unfortunately, the Zimbabwean leadership has not taken the right actions to relieve the severe problems caused by the country’s Human Rights institutions. The country’s leadership thought that it will be able to address human rights issues by formulating new laws that can help fill the gap. However, since a new constitution was enacted by the government, no improvements have been observed on the human rights environment. It is the responsibility of Human Rights institutions in Zimbabwe to convince the county’s leadership to take the necessary steps to address human rights issues. The fact that the country’s leadership has not taken the right actions proves the weakness of national Human Rights institutions (Mujuru, 2015).
Several international lending institutions have seen the need to provide funding to help Zimbabwe to address human rights issues that it is currently facing. In 2013, the British government took a step to support the policy of building a democratic and prosperous country for the people of Zimbabwe. The British Embassy located in the Zimbabwean capital, Harare, worked in collaboration with the European Union, Non-governmental Organizations, and other developmental agencies to improve the human rights situation in the country. Additionally, the British government contributed 2.2 million pounds in support to the conflict prevention projects in Zimbabwe. Furthermore, the UK government invested heavily in the improvement of education, sanitation, and health situations in Zimbabwe (David, Tafadzwa and Collen, 2012). Surprisingly, the human rights situation in the country has not improved despite the effort that has been placed by international lending institutions and donors. The country’s citizens continue to suffer in the hands of an irresponsible government (Mtetwa, 2011). The kind of suffering that the Zimbabwean population is currently going through has prevented them from contributing positively towards national development.
Zimbabwe’s internal institutions have done a good job to try and improve development in the country. Unfortunately, these institutions too have faced harsh harassments by police which has prevented them from bringing about any significant improvements. As Mtetwa (2011), points out, every civil society organization that attempts to question the human rights situation in Zimbabwe often has its leadership arrested by police officers. For instance, the Gay and Lesbian Zimbabwe was once harassed by police when it tried to fight for the right of gays and lesbians. Another organization that has experienced incidents of violence and police harassments is Women of Zimbabwe Arise (Mtetwa, 2011). These examples prove how much the efforts of Zimbabwe’s internal institutions to address the human rights situation in the country have not been appreciated.
According to Mujuru (2015), Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission has not been able to address the human rights situation in the country due to lack of resources. The national government is unwilling to implement the key agreed reforms to allow transformation of the Human Rights institutions. The government of Zimbabwe should work very hard to support its Human Rights institutions in order to improve its human rights environment. In order to improve their policing, Human Rights institutions in Zimbabwe should make necessary transformations to their systems and to promote accountability. Furthermore, Human Rights institutions should strive to conform to International human rights standards in the manner they are handling citizens. This way, they will raise the living standards of the people of Zimbabwe who will work hard to improve economic development (David, Tafadzwa and Collen, 2012).
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