Today, August 4, 2021 Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition celebrates 20 years of resistance, resilience and commitment towards a democratic Zimbabwe.
On this 20th anniversary, we pay tribute to pro-democratic forces who were instrumental in the formation and leadership of the coalition.
As a coalition of pro-democracy forces, we remain guided by our vision of a democratic and economically developed Zimbabwe hence our continued efforts to attain this vision. Over the past 20 years, the Coalition has lived up to this responsibility. It led the heroic struggle of the Zimbabwean people which culminated in the adoption of the country’s first democratic Constitution in 2013.
In the civic space, the Coalition fought tirelessly against dictatorship and misrule by the Mugabe administration.
We know that to fulfil our role and discharge our responsibility, we must renew and rebrand our organisation and ensure that it remains true to its founding values while at the same time responding to the daily challenges confronting the masses. We must act with urgency and purpose.
While we dare not ignore the depth of the challenges we face, our programme of action must remain with the people and our determination to see a truly democratic Zimbabwe must be unwavering.
The 20 years of our existence symbolize years of trials and tribulations characterized by state repression and closure of the democratic space. We pay tribute to living and fallen comrades for their resilience in the fight for a democratic and economically developed Zimbabwe.
The journey has not been easy.
The fight for a democratic Zimbabwe resulted in state repression characterized by abductions, arbitrary arrests, torture as well as extra-judicial killings and it is in this vein that we salute comrades who have remained true to the ideals of the struggle. However, with all these challenges the Coalition continued to leave an indelible footprint in the fight for democracy and good governance in Zimbabwe.
Lest we forget:
- After its inception, the Coalition managed to reshape the Zimbabwean question. The Coalition was able to identify the Zimbabwean question as a twin crisis of democracy and governance beyond the struggle for a people-driven constitution. It went beyond in articulating the need for constitutionalism beyond constitutionality.
- At the centre of its influence was the Coalition’s convening role which brought together pro-democracy movements from different sectors for a common cause.
- The Coalition acted as an information nerve centre for civil society and the media, a space that the Coalition continues to occupy and influence.
- In 2007, the Coalition in collaboration with the Christian Alliance convened a Prayer Rally at the Zimbabwe Grounds in Harare and the state responded with brutality leading to the arrest and torture of civil and political party leaders and the death of activist, Gift Tandare.
- The beatings, arrests and torture led to world condemnation of the government of Zimbabwe and put political pressure on SADC to facilitate talks between the ruling party and the main opposition.
- The dialogue process which was facilitated by SADC led to the formation of an inclusive government which was consummated in February 2009.
- In the coming years, the Coalition, in collaboration with other progressive forces worked tirelessly in influencing the contents of the constitution which was adopted in 2013 following a referendum. This effort consolidated the democratic gains and to a larger extent highlighted an incremental gain towards constitutionalism in Zimbabwe.
As we celebrate 20 years of existence, we also pay tribute to comrades from the SADC region for their solidarity with pro-democracy forces in Zimbabwe.
The Coalition managed to set up a regional office in South Africa in 2004. The regional office acted as a space for pro-democracy leaders to give a counter-narrative against state propaganda churned out by the state media from Harare. This led to the formation of a regional solidarity network pushing for reforms in Zimbabwe and the region at large
For the past 20 years, the Coalition has stood firm in fostering people to people solidarity as a way of enhancing democracy, peace and stability within the SADC region. During the period of its existence, the Coalition managed to engage SADC at the highest level.
The Coalition had a historic engagement with President Hage Geingob (then SADC Chairperson) in Windhoek in 2018, as well as former liberation movements from SADC on the Zimbabwean crisis and other issues affecting different SADC countries.
Over the years, the Coalition has been instrumental in engaging solidarity partners across the SADC region as part of efforts to promote democracy, peace, stability as well as free and fair elections within the region.
The Coalition has been vocal on the need for SADC to act on the insurgency in Northern Mozambique and in March 2021, we sent a delegation that met with civil society organisations and the Mozambican ruling party, Frelimo to discuss the Cabo Delgado Conflict. The meeting resolved to put pressure on SADC to act in restoring peace and stability to Mozambique.
Call to action
We stand at one of the most challenging and fraught moments since our Time to Act Conference of 2001 and thus this is the Time to Act!
We are celebrating 20 years of existence at a time Zimbabwe has been turned into a military state following the November 2017 military coup which led to the ascendancy of President Emmerson Mnangagwa to power.
Continued closure of the democratic space, the militarization of key state institutions, persecution of dissenting voices, Zimbabwe’s constitutional crisis, gross corruption and plunder of state resources and weaponization of the judiciary among other vices serve as a reminder to comrades that we should continue to unite until we realize the dream of a democratic and economically developed Zimbabwe.
On our 20th anniversary, we reiterate that a genuine all-stakeholders dialogue is imperative as a way of unlocking the multifaceted crisis facing Zimbabwe. We call upon the workers of Zimbabwe to be at the forefront of revolutionary change, to intensify the struggle for a living wage and decent working conditions.
We call on young people and students to take charge of their future which is being mortgaged by the liberation generation through the neoliberal economic policies that continue to hurt the masses of our people.
We call on women to remain at the forefront of struggles for equality and justice, to challenge patriarchy in whatever form it exists and to consistently remind their male counterparts of their shared responsibility to advance gender equality across society.
We call on civil society formations and our broader membership to continue to champion the fight for a truly democratic state that upholds constitutionalism. The fight for social justice and equality must be intensified and we must equally intensify the campaign for ethical governance and to hold those in positions of authority to account.
We implore the country’s leadership to desist from cosmetic approaches on the issue of a national dialogue and engage all the key stakeholders including civic society, the church, labour, students, women’s movements and marginalized populations in the dialogue process.
A Happy 20th Anniversary
A Time to Act!!!
Source: Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition