Citizens’ Manifesto Reiterates Calls for Comprehensive Socio-economic and Political Reforms

As the Citizens’ Manifesto, we reiterate our demands for urgent and lasting solutions to relieve the dire socio-economic and political situation in the country.

We renew our commitment to hold leaders accountable and to build a united citizens voice and solidarity towards a better Zimbabwe for all.

We declare the year 2020 the beginning of the ‘Decade of the People’ and we call upon all stakeholders to place the #Citizens and #Country first and above everything else.

Through the 2nd National Citizens’ Convention (NCC) held in Harare on 24-25 September 2019, we made a clarion call on the urgency of the need to create and sustain a democratic, prosperous socially just and equitable Zimbabwe. We deliberated on how to unlock the national impasse and stagnation in Zimbabwe. The fundamental questions which must be addressed to move the country forward revolve around the necessity of transforming Zimbabwe’s politics and governance by placing citizens at the centre of focus, creating an inclusive economy and creating a new social contract. The more we fail to give lasting solutions to these questions the more they haunt us as a nation.

Citizens’ Manifesto thus notes with grave concern the growing threats to the consolidation of our democracy as a Nation. In particular, Citizens’ Manifesto’s attention has been drawn to the proposed Constitutional amendments, which were gazette by the government. We are wholly against the intended weakening of our constitution, more so before its full implementation, and the disregard of sacred principles of democracy. The constitution as the supreme law of the land must reflect the aspirations of the people and express our desire for a mature democracy and that values people the same, vests power in the citizenry and places checks and balances on power. The proposed amendments undermine the standards of good governance particularly in giving more executive powers to the President instead of empowering the citizens with more rights to seek accountability. Furthermore, we denounce the intentions of trying to manipulate the judiciary system and limit its independence by giving the Office of the President supreme powers of appointing judges without public hearings. Thus, we are strongly against the proposed amendments.

The economic state of the country is disheartening. Since the inception of the current government the economy has been weakening and people’s livelihoods have been eroded by austerity measures. Citizens’ Manifesto is worried that there is little effort being put in resolving this urgent and critical issue that affects the citizens of this country. Unemployment, which has taken away hope from people, is escalating and workers across the board are incapacitated.

The loss of value of the currency coupled with the skyrocketing prices has made life unbearable for the ordinary people. We would like to make it known to the powers that be that the issue of people’s survival needs the most urgent attention.

Accordingly, we are calling for the following:

The government must desist from all attempts to mutilate the constitution. Any constitutional changes must be subject to people’s consultation. Instead of amending the constitution, the government must fully implement the constitution adopted in 2013 and align all laws. Among other things, we make a call for total devolution and enforcing the autonomy of key State institutions such as the judiciary, security services and independent Commissions.

The government must respect and uphold fundamental human rights as enshrined in our constitution and international instruments, and curb all forms of harassment of citizens, including abductions and torture; And open the space for genuine inclusive and participatory governance.

Collectively as a country, we must recognize that people have suffered for way too long and the situation is not getting better. To resolve the country’s problems, therefore there must be an inclusive and comprehensive National Dialogue, which involves all key players including political parties, civil society, labour, churches and business.

Source: Citizens’ Manifesto