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Position on the Zimbabwe dialogue process
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The Save Zimbabwe Campaign is a broad coalition of the majority of civil society organizations, political parties, churches and Christian organizations in Zimbabwe, which united action together to peacefully resolve the social, economic and political crisis in Zimbabwe. Through the Save Zimbabwe Campaign, Zimbabweans are now speaking in one voice and acting in concert. It is chaired and coordinated by the Christian Alliance (CA) which is an alliance of churches and Christian organizations.
Convinced that the crisis in Zimbabwe can best be solved by Zimbabweans through dialogue, the Christian Alliance called a national convention of all stakeholders for the 26th of July, 2006. This was attended by 500 delegates from political parties, the majority of civil society organizations, including labour, and churches from all over the country. The ruling party, ZANUPF was invited but did not send any delegates. At this convention delegates resolved to form a unified front, called Save Zimbabwe Campaign, and appointed CA, to chair and coordinate. Its guiding values and principles were to be those reflected in the Zimbabwe Democracy Charter as presented to the convention by Crisis Zimbabwe Coalition and thereafter adopted, as may be from time to time amended by the Save Zimbabwe General Council as constituted.
Following the appointment of the South Africa President Thabo Mbeki, by SADC nations to mediate, in a dialogues process, the SZC engaged its members in a consultative process to formulate an agreed position on the national dialogue process. Accordingly a workshop was held on the 18th of May 2007 in Harare. This was in recognition of the Fact that, according to the press, the dialogue was already underway with the mediator working on establishing parameters and expectations of parties to the dialogue and how the process would be facilitated.
At the workshop, members from the civil society sector voiced serious concern about the fact that the present dialogue process had not accorded them formal recognition and has so far excluded them. They pointed out that the civil society organizations have an obligations to ensure that the voices of their stakeholders are heard and taken into account at all times during such crucial negotiations if there is to be national consensus on the outcome. There was overwhelming agreement by the workshop participants that the civil society needs to be included as an integral partner in the negotiations.
The Save Zimbabwe Campaign acknowledges the urgency with which the process must be carried out. Therefore, through its General Council meeting of 30th of May 2007, held in Harare, it adopted this position paper which it believes reflects the Zimbabwean consensus on the current dialogue process.
The SZC Position
The aim of the Save Zimbabwe Campaign in formulating and presenting this position paper to all concerned is to ensure that the process is consultative, all inclusive and representative of the concerns of all Zimbabweans
The current context of the Zimbabwean situation is characterized by the following areas of concern which form obstacles to meaningful political expressing and dialogue. These areas need to be addressed in order to create an environment of trust and confidence.
2. The political playing field is not level especially to basic freedoms as enshrined in the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights.
2.1 There is no freedom for other political parties and all other organizations to organize meetings, rallies, etc, within the provision of the law;
2.2 The police, the CIO and the state authorities have imposed restrictions and curfews on selected parts of the country.
2.3 The notorious youth militia, war veterans, police, the CIO, and even the army are being abused for political partisan purposes.
2.4 Churches are no longer free conduct to conduct services and prayer meetings without interference from law enforcements agents.
3. Draconian laws such as POSA, AIPPA, Broadcasting Services Act and the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act are serious hindrance to free political expression.
4. Issues of national reconciliation are not addressed in a manner that guarantees the future personal security of all citizens and the commencement of the healing process in our nation
5. Proposed constitutional charges, such as Constitutional Amendment No. 18, will work against the against the dialogue process
6. The rule of law , the observation and upholding of Human Rights by state agents has seriously diminished
7. The process should be highly inclusive of all representatives of all major sectors in the Zimbabwe society. It should also be transparent in order to ensure a broad ownership of the process by all the people of Zimbabwe at all levels. It is essential that the process be at all levels inclusive of all political parties and civic society.
8. The dialogue process should take place at all levels with all the representatives of all sectors participating in order to avoid the traditional polarization.
9. The process should be consultative in its approach in order to take on board the interests of all stakeholders. Political Parties, on their own, do not necessarily adequately represent the interests of all the people at all times.
10. The process of drafting a democratic Constitution for Zimbabwe must be agreed upon and started urgently. This process should be highly inclusive of all key stakeholders in the Zimbabwe body politic.
11. There must be access by all political parties and civic organisation to the media.
12. There is an urgent need for political tolerance and an enforceable code of conduct to be observed by all political parties and related formations in order to cultivate a culture of democracy in Zimbabwe. The ultimate goal of the Save Zimbabwe Campaign is the establishment of a democratic, free, peaceful and prosperous Zimbabwe.
Adopted at Harare on this 30th day of May 2007.
Save Zimbabwe Campaign Member Bodies (in alphabetical order):
Association of Evangelicals
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