PRESS STATEMENT : Minimum Common conditions for taking Zimbabwe out of crisis Platform for Concerned Citizens (PCC)
These conditions have been developed by the Platform for Concerned Citizens (PCC) in an effort to be helpful to all civil society organisations in their efforts to resolve the current crisis. They are the joint product of conversations with a small group of concerned citizens. These conditions were collated from the many statements issues by civil society organisations and other bodies over the recent weeks. A full list of all statements consulted is provided in an Appendix that can be provided on request. This collation is an effort to find a consensus amongst churches, labour, civil society organisations and others on the way to manage the current crisis. Not every organisation made the same demands, and some were added from previous statements that were felt to be consonant with more recent ones.
There is no ownership of the demands and every organisation is free to add or subtract as they see fit. It is our hope that the process of circulating these will result in a common position for informing the members of organisations and the general citizenry of Zimbabwe, and that these demands will provide a position for leading Zimbabwe out of crisis.
- Economic and Social Rights:
There is need for a new Social Contract in which all economic, social and political rights and responsibilities are subject to inclusive national dialogue, and built on a national consensus. The economy must be built on a pro-poor, sustainable basis with the full consent of the citizens.
- Restoration of the Rule of Law and absolute adherence to the Constitution:
There is plausible evidence that the Constitution was violated through a de facto state of emergency and deployment of the military. Additionally, the closing of the media space, depriving citizens of critical information, illegal detentions and the improper “fast-tracking” of prosecutions are in conflict with the Bill of Rights. There must be full restoration of the rule of law and absolute adherence to the Constitution.
- Compliance with natural justice:
There is plausible evidence that citizens’ rights are being violated, by denial of the right to an adequate trial. The former has resulted in an unprecedented protest by Zimbabwean lawyers. There must full compliance with the rights to legal representation and due process in law, and an immediate end to the “fast tracking”. prosecutions.
- Safety and Security:
There is distressing evidence of the arbitrary destruction of their properties. This is being done apparently without the consent of local authorities. This is strongly evocative of Operation Murambatsvina and is resulting in impoverished citizens’ livelihoods being further harmed, and in the context of dramatically elevated costs of living. There must an immediate cessation of attacks on citizens’ working in the informal sector
- Withdrawal of the military from the civilian space:
There is plausible evidence that the military have been unconstitutionally deployed. There are an excessive number of reports concerning their involvement in gross human rights violations. The military should be removed from the streets, and the country returned to civilian policing.
- Complete opening of the media space:
Citizens cannot make informed decisions or fully participate in socio-political life in the absence of information. Thus, the media space must be as open as possible in conformity with the Constitution, as described in Sections 58, 59, 60, 61 and 62 in the Bill of Rights.
- An inclusive National Dialogue:
Zimbabwe is a more divided country than at any time since Independence.Virtually every church grouping, civil society, and a number of international organisations have called for a national dialogue. The call for an inclusive, national dialogue has been made since November 2017. The only way in which the current crisis can be resolved is through a nationally-owned and nationally-driven comprehensive dialogue.
Ibbo Mandaza and Tony Reeler are Co-Convenors of the PCC
6th February 2019