Inclusive and holistic approach needed to address national crisis

The National Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (NANGO) is concerned that our country continues to experience protracted national crisis. This crisis is characterized by continued intolerance, polarization, corruption, disregard for the rule of law, contravention of the constitution and marginalisation of vulnerable groups and communities, among other factors.

NANGO notes with great concern the government’s approach to address the grievances of the general citizenry and the vilification of dissenting voices that are calling for the promotion of lawfulness, tranquillity, peace, equity and fairness, inclusive and sustainable development, respect for human rights and constitutionalism. We urge the government to lend an ear to alternative voices all which hope and yearn for a better and prosperous Zimbabwe where everyone’s dreams and aspirations are possible. The refuting of alternative voices and views demonstrated by the responses to the call by various concerned stakeholders and citizens does not project a nation that is accommodative and democratic, this undermines efforts to move towards sustainable peace and development.

The citizens and communities look forward to a nation that provides them a platform to contribute in a meaningful way to ending the current economic, social, governance and environmental challenges we are facing. Thus, government hostilities towards citizens, reflected in its response characterised by hate speech, derogatory language and labelling of groups and tribes, is a cause of concern.

NANGO, like many other institutions was hopeful that the visit from the South African envoy was going to yield the much needed mediation between the government and its people. We are taken aback, that the envoy left without consulting non-state actors and other concerned stakeholders. However, we remain hopeful that the envoy will return with a refined, people centred and inclusive strategy.

We believe that the national crisis needs an all-inclusive and holistic approach in addressing the myriad of challenges that bedevil the country more so, when poverty and hunger are on the rise and the COVID-19 pandemic is amplifying public finance management, social service delivery and governance issues.

We note that the deteriorating economic environment characterized by projected negative growth rate of 5% coupled with galloping inflation rate amid reduced incomes has further deepened poverty and inequality indicators for the majority. Low incomes for the formally employed in both public and private sector have left most households with inadequate disposable income to purchase basic commodities. The informal sector, which employs the majority of people, has been heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown measures.

NANGO notes with concern the level of autonomy of the Judiciary, following the recent events that have been a reflection of how the Zimbabwean justice system has failed to induce confidence on its independence. Citizens and communities feel that the Judiciary Institutions have been used as an arm to further repress and deny citizens their constitutionally guaranteed rights. Countrywide, over the past few weeks citizens have been arrested over trumped up charges ranging from criminal nuisance, participating in a public gathering with intention to cause public violence and obstructing or endangering the free movement of persons or traffic. Over half a dozen are still withheld without bail, in stark defiance of the provisions in the constitution.

We emphasize the need for all stakeholders to work together towards the dream of the Zimbabwe We Want, to this end we urge

  • The Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission to urgently carry out its mandate and investigate all cases of human rights violations.
  • The National Peace and Reconciliation Commission to take up its constitutional mandate and reign in state and non -state actors who continue to fan violence, conflict, disharmony and tribalism.
  • The Zimbabwe Republic Police to execute its mandate of maintaining peace and security and also ensure that perpetrators are brought to book.
  • The Ministry of Home Affairs to reign in on police officers and ensure they desist from using brute force on citizens.
  • The Zimbabwe National Army, which has been accused of using disproportionate force on civilians, to work towards its mission of defending the sovereignty, territorial integrity and national interests of Zimbabwe and contributing to international peace and stability.
  • The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development to urgently disburse the ZWL$18 billion Economic Recovery and Stimulus Package pledged by the government in May 2020. The funds should be disbursed in a transparent manner to avoid leakages due to corruption and rent seeking.
  • The Parliament of Zimbabwe and the office of the Auditor General to carry out their oversight role over the Executive as it responds to the deteriorating socio-economic environment.
  • The Government to create pathways of inclusion, participation and involvement of multiple stakeholders in solving the Zimbabwean crisis.
  • The government to provide adequate social safety nets for all vulnerable groups affected by COVID-19 pandemic and other disasters such as droughts, Cyclone Idai and floods. The safety nets should be expanded to more vulnerable populations in urban areas and workers who in the past were considered to be resilient.
  • The government to promote transparency and accountability as a way of combating corruption and promoting efficient use of public resources.

NANGO is the officially recognised coordinating body of NGOs operating in Zimbabwe. NANGO, the largest umbrella non-governmental organization in Zimbabwe established in 1962, is a non-party political, non-profit making organisation and non-denominational official coordinating body of NGOs in Zimbabwe. It is mandated by its membership to coordinate the activities of NGOs, represent the NGO sector and strengthen the voice of NGOs in Zimbabwe.

Source: National Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (NANGO)