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Zimbabwe Symposium Report
Peace & Democracy Project
March 27, 2004

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Executive summary
Mr. Daniel Molokela of the PDP opened the floor with a presentation of the topic "The Recent War Cabinet: Is Its Composition Qualified for Fighting Corruption and the Current Socio-Economic Problems in Zimbabwe?" Mr. Bheki Moyo the DPD Vice Chairman chaired the discussion.

Mrs. Reyhana Masters-Smith, Chairperson of Media Institute of Southern Africa (Zimbabwe) made a presentation on the topic "The Effect of Media Legislation on Activities Aimed at Producing a Democratic Transition in Zimbabwe: Any Hope for the future?" This session was chaired by Mr. Danisa Zulu, a political activist, based in South Africa.

Third to take up to the stage was Mr. Trust Mamombe, the Executive Director of the Zimbabwe Foundation for all Youths Associations. His discussion session was chaired by Nkosilati Tshuma of the PDP, and was entitled "The Intervention of the Youths and Student Organizations in Facilitating Development in These Times of Crisis: What Has Been Done and What Can Still be Done?"

The final topic of the day was co-presented by Ms Janah Ncube, Chairperson of Women's Coalition of Zimbabwe, and Ms. Jenni Williams who is the Chairperson of Women of Zimbabwe Arise. Their topic was on "The Role and Activities of Women, Their Impact, Challenges and the Way Forward in the Pursuit of a Solution to the Current Crisis in Zimbabwe." Dr. Samukeliso Dube one of the few politically active Zimbabwean women, was the chair of this session.

Plenary Sessions where held at the end of each presentation.

All the presenters, except Mr. Molokela, where flown from Zimbabwe by the PDP. At the end of the conference, a number of resolutions where proposed. The resolutions are to be circulated to all participants and all interest groups. The proceedings of the symposium are to be published in a PDP Journal and incorporated into the PDP website to be designed soon. A total of 63 participants were accredited. This included the MDC Youth Secretary General Mr. Bekithemba Mpofu who flew into RSA to listen to the presentations. At the end of the day, all hailed the function as yet another success for the PDP. PDP was encouraged to continue providing a platform to discuss crucial issues affecting the restoration of democracy in the crisis-ridden Zimbabwe.

Of major interest is the issue of the opposition MDC's threat to boycott the next parliamentary election in 2005. It was recommended a symposium on that be staged within the next two months.


1st Session: War Cabinet

  • The symposium noted the war cabinet and so-called fight against corruption were not at all sincere. It was noted there is however rampant corruption in the country and need to curtail that. The symposium however deplored the war cabinet as unfit to practically fight the corruption and it was dismissed as a political gimmick well orchestrated to divert the populace from the actual pressing national issues to give more mileage to the ruling party in the forthcoming elections next year.
  • It was resolved that those with access to this information should start disseminating it to the common men in the streets so that they have a correct picture of ZANU (PF)'s gimmicks and lack of sincerity.
  • The symposium considered the threats by the MDC to boycott the forthcoming elections. It was however resolved the issue was rather too technical and so required an urgent separate symposium to discuss that. Thus PDP was tasked with organizing such a conference as soon as possible within the next two months.

2nd Session: Media Laws

  • The symposium deplored the draconian AIPPA and the unpopular Media & Ethics Commission that serves Government's interests in the accreditation of journalists.
  • The symposium condemned the closure of the Daily News and called for it's immediate unconditional re-opening.
  • The media unions in the country were encouraged to unite under one umbrella to fight against the cause of the breakdown of the rule of law in the media sector.
  • An alternative means of disseminating information other than the publications and radio stations has to be invented to also enable the people in the rural areas to access the information.
  • The symposium condemned all reporters in the state media who have literally forfeited their right to inform by unprofessional reporting and called for professionalism to prevail.

3rd Session: The Youths & Students

  • The symposium condemned the national youth service program.
  • The symposium noted that female youths were being discouraged from participation in youth activities due to a number of factors. It was resolved that an enabling environment be set up in all sectors to encourage the female youths to also actively participate.
  • Political parties and other organizations are encouraged to start on working on an enabling environment to make the youths active participators and decision makers.

4th Session: Women

  • The symposium deplored all shameless violence towards the brave women participating in political discourse.
  • An enabling environment has to be instituted in all political parties and other organizations to make the women key players and decision makers.
  • Women organizations were encouraged to form an alliance in the fight for their rights and against the regime.
  • The positive role played by women was recognized and praised by the symposium.
  • A multi-faceted approach has to be implemented to enable all Zimbabwean women to participate in the political discourse.

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