We, the representatives of civil society organisations, social movements and progressive citizens, met under the auspices of the Citizens’ Manifesto convergence platform to deliberate on the current situation in the country, including the impactof the COVID-19 pandemic. The Forum received presentations from Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD), Women in Politics Support Unit (WIPSU), Zimbabwe National Students’ Union (ZINASU), Bulawayo Vendors and Traders Association (BVTA), Magamba Network and Amalgamated Rural Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ), representing respective sectors.
Presentations and discussions covered: The State of Human Rights; The State of Media and Freedom of Expression; The State of Public Service Delivery; The State of The Education Sector; Transparency and Accountability of Public funds; Labour; The Informal Sector; and the general State of the Economy.
Having deliberated on the above, we do hereby make the following demands as citizens for urgent attention;
To the Government of Zimbabwe
- The government must urgently restore democratic rights and freedoms as accorded by the constitution, including an end to abductions, torture and political detentions.
- Enforcement of Covid-19 prevention measures must be guided by a respect of human rights, be proportionate and be subject to independent periodic review.
- The government must respect Parliament’s role in providing checks and balances to the Executive for the enhancement of democratic governance.
- Government must fulfil its commitment to provide COVID-19 relief/cushioning for informal traders, especially women, so that they can sustain a decent living and rebuild their businesses
- Policies in the education sector must ensure online learning will not leave the poor behind due to data costs or connectivity challenges and education institutions must have greater autonomy to come up with measures that adequately respond to students’ unique needs
- The government must respect media freedoms, tolerate criticism and alternative voices and allow journalists to freely carry out their work.
- Policymakers need to take into account the needs of the rural population in coming up with solutions, especially in the transport sector.
- The government must ensure full accountability and transparency in the use of public funds and government programs in the agricultural sector such as compensation schemes must be inclusive of the poor.
- Workers’ rights must be respected, including the right to organise and protest for better welfare
- The current efforts being spearheaded by the South African government and the current Chairperson of the African Union (AU) President Cyril Ramaphosa to engage the Zimbabwean authorities and other stakeholders towards solving the Zimbabwean crisis must be supported by all governments and progressive citizens in the region.
- The engagements must lead to a progressive, inclusive and comprehensive national dialogue process of all stakeholders, including political parties, business, churches, labour and civil society towards reaching a Comprehensive National Settlement as espoused under the National Convergence Platform.
Amalgamated Rural Teacher’s Union (ARTUZ); Vendors Initiative for Social Change (VISET); Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD); Zimbabwe Alliance; Harare Residents Trust (HRT); Bulawayo Vendors and Traders Association (BVTA); National Association of Youth Organizations (NAYO); Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU); Media Center; Gateway Zimbabwe; Institute of Young Women in Development (IYWD); Economic Justice for Women Project; Amandla Centre; Women’s Academy of Leadership and Political Excellence (WALPE); Advocates for Earth; Magamba Network; Platform for Concerned Citizens; Berina Community Arts; ArcturusCommunity Assembly; Bindura Community Assembly; Youth Initiative for Community Development-Mutoko, ZimRights