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delivers open letter to Mbeki at South African Embassy in Harare
of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA)
June 25, 2007
Approximately 200 members of Women and Men of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA/MOZA)
delivered an open letter to President Thabo Mbeki at the South African
Embassy in Harare this morning. The letter was pressing for a genuine
agenda to the South African mediated-talks that is more transparent,
inclusive and addresses socio-economic issues.
at the Embassy in suburban Harare today to highlight the unfairness
of talks that only involve politicians who will be not be addressing
issues of social justice - the 'Bread and Roses'
Zimbabweans need. It was also to pressure for the inclusion of voices
at the negotiating table that will raise socio-economic issues -
issues at the heart of ordinary Zimbabweans.
When the group
arrived, they affixed placards and material strips carrying their
messages to the fence. Some of the messages read - 'The
talks should be about Bread and Roses', 'all Zimbabweans
have views - lets all talk about talks' and 'politicians
don't cut deals in our name'.
Whilst the peaceful
group gathered outside the gates to the Embassy, male and female
representatives went inside to deliver WOZA's open letter,
as well as their vision for a new Zimbabwe and a plan on how to
get there through the People's
Charter and '10
Steps to a New Zimbabwe'. Embassy staff received the letter,
and having delivered their message, the group dispersed. There have
been no reports of arrests since then.
Please see below
for a copy of the open letter.
As the protest
was carried out during a time of great repression and police brutality,
only a select group of the very brave participated, acting as representatives
of their communities.
WOZA would like
to thank the staff of the South African Embassy for receiving both
the open letter and the peaceful gathering in the spirit that they
Mr M W Makalima
The South African Embassy
TALKS - WOZA/MOZA's view - ten steps to a new
WOZA has been
reading and hearing about 'the talks' and wish to express
our views about these. We ask that you kindly relay this letter
to President Thabo Mbeki.
Women and men
of WOZA have initiated a non-violent campaign with the aim of mobilising
Zimbabweans to demand social justice from their leaders. Our mandate
is to hold leaders accountable and mobilise people to demand leaders
who will deliver all aspects of social justice and a genuinely people-driven
constitution. We will not vote in an election without the latter.
As we deliver
this letter, Zimbabweans are living in a state of fear and uncertainty.
They suffer discrimination in all its forms and are unable to earn
a living. Levels of poverty are high; unemployment is at 82% and
inflation at four figures. Non-existent service delivery also makes
life difficult. Access to education, housing and other basic needs
is now only for the rich. The HIV/AIDS pandemic, which has created
thousands of orphans and child-headed households, is a social catastrophe
compounded by a failed healthcare system and little or no access
to ARVs. Further loss of valuable human resources is happening due
to people leaving the country in large numbers. People have been
unsuccessful at holding their government accountable due to a raft
of repressive laws and shrinking freedom of expression/media space.
Corruption at all levels of government and the politicisation of
all aspects of society has led to chaos and disorganization in every
We believe that
only including politicians in the SADC initiative will perpetuate
the problem rather than deliver a solution. We have an alternate
view, which we drew up after consulting widely with our membership,
and have attached it below - '10 Steps to a New Zimbabwe'.
We would like
to know what mandate South Africa has from SADC? What do Presidents
Mbeki and Kikwete wish to achieve by this mediation? We are hopeful
that they wish to bring about a new government AND assist this new
government to bring about meaningful political, economic and social
reform. We wish to suggest that for the South African government
to establish itself as a genuine mediator, it would need to secure
the cooperation of the present Zimbabwean government. They must
be persuaded to allow a transitional process to go ahead without
interference; this will obviously mean that they have to step down
from office. WOZA leaders and members commit to working hand in
hand with any political or civic leaders who will honour the wishes
of the Zimbabwean people and deliver social justice. By our peaceful
presence outside your embassy gates, we demonstrate to you that
we will continue to exert nonviolent pressure for them to step down
by exposing the injustices they have brought down on the heads of
their citizens. Please help us to birth a new Zimbabwe where Zimbabweans
can enjoy equality and live with dignity.
We also attach
our vision document, a resolution made after an eleven-month, nationwide
consultation process. During 2006, over 284 meetings, consulting
almost 10,000 rural and urban people on social justice were conducted.
The people spoke clearly about what they want in a new Zimbabwe
and their contributions are contained in the People's Charter
attached below. We ask that you read it knowing that it contains
the dreams and desires of a heartbroken nation.
supporters of Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) and Men of Zimbabwe
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