Friday, 7 February 2014

Statement on the Occasion of the 6th Anniversary of the Zimbabwe People’s Charter

We, the People of Zimbabwe, After deliberations amongst ourselves and with the full knowledge of the work done by civic society organizations and social movements; With an understanding that our struggle for emancipation has been drawn-out and is in need of a people-driven solution
The Committee of the Peoples Charter (CPC) on the occasion of the 6th anniversary of the Peoples Charter, adopted on February 9 2008 as a guide by Zimbabwean social movements, on a social democratic vision for the country, urges all Zimbabweans to stay the course for a people centered and democratic nation.
The historic document that is the People’s Charter, as adopted at the Peoples Convention by 3000 delegates remains a true reflection of the social democratic aspirations of the people of Zimbabwe dating back to not only the liberation struggle but has become critical discourse in our post-independence struggles for a social democratic  state.   
Twenty eight years after our country’s national independence, in the face of mounting social, economic and political decay, the students, the working class, churches and all sectors of our society saw the need for a lucid statement outlining the minimal benchmarks for reform and idealizing the future of Zimbabwe as outlined in the subsequent document, the Peoples Charter.

For the past six years, the Charter has not only been the basis but also the reference point for our demand for socio-economic justice, political equity, gender equality, youth participation, a transparent and accountable public service and democratic people driven constitution reform
The three thousand delegates (representatives of the social movements and civics, peasants, students, women, business community, youth and the broad mass democratic movement) gathered at Rainbow Towers Gardens, Harare on the 8th and 9th of February 2008. The Peoples Convention, became a platform for the entire Zimbabwean populace to record their demands so that they could be included in a common document. 

To this day, the Peoples Convention remains the most representative gathering in the history of Zimbabwe where the Peoples Charter, an idea for a cohesive, united, democratic Zimbabwe was adopted.

The Peoples Charter establishes a concrete vision for a new social democratic Zimbabwe in which the battle cry for all Zimbabweans  be they men, women and the youth is that ‘’Zimbabwe belongs to all who live and believe it.’'
                                           Zimbabwe at 34

Thirty Four years after independence, we have slid backwards in the areas of democracy, human rights, socio-economic rights, for which we hold the ZANU PF government accountable. On the socio-economic front the CPC notes with disappointment
o It must also be noted that Zimbabwe is yet to comply with Article 4 of the People’s Charter which requires that our national economy belongs to the people of Zimbabwe. The national wealth of our country and the heritage of Zimbabweans have not yet been restored to the people. The mineral wealth beneath the soil is not benefiting the people of Zimbabwe as required by the Charter. It remains unfortunate that there is a spreading culture of oligarchies that have held undemocratic sway over our economy
o the dilapidation of our country’s infrastructure,
o absence of provision of free basic healthcare
o Absence of a comprehensive education policy.Despite boasting of a 92% literacy rate, we have noted that education is now a preserve of the rich, disenfranchising millions of young Zimbabweans of their right to education, which is however not clearly spelt out in the new constitution 
o   the absence of free low cost housing,
o   lack of access to clean water,
o   electricity
o   And the provision of sanitation
Political Reform- A neglected step-child

The Peoples Charter clearly sets out democratic changes required to enable all the people of Zimbabwe to live in unity, enjoying equal rights and opportunities without distinction of political affiliation or belief. It is a document that reflects the noble objectives of the liberation struggle of the people of Zimbabwe for freedom, unity and human dignity. As we commemorate these 6 years of the existence of the Peoples document, we wish to express our concern over cases of rampant state sanctioned corruption namely by parastatals bosses who in acts of self-aggrandizement are awarding themselves hefty salaries and living opulent lifestyles at the expense of lower ranks whose salaries are unrealistically low and service delivery continues plummeting to the lowest levels.  

Section (1) (i) of the Peoples Charter clearly states that,

“All people in Zimbabwe live in a society, which is the embodiment of transparency, with an efficient public service and a belief in a legitimate, people-centered state.
Reclaiming the Future:
Those who have, for the past six years, fought under the banner of the Zimbabwe Peoples Charter must remain steadfast and resolute as the dawn of a new era nears with each passing day. The CPC thus recommends to the government, civic society and social movements and Zimbabweans at large that:
* On hefty salaries the (CPC) calls upon the government to launch an independent commission of inquiry to investigate the rampant graft and self-enrichment happening in all state institutions.
The issue of the constitution is still a far cry Zimbabweans need to intensify calls for a people driven constitution making process to rid the excesses and vagaries of the COPAC constitution which retained the basis of an executive authority in the same manner as the Lancaster House Constitution and the Kariba draft

* The Peoples Charter remains a legitimate and ideal document encapsulating the visions and aspirations of the progressive movement and millions of Zimbabweans. The ideals set out in the Peoples Charter can only be achieved if the government commits itself to transparency accountability and respect for the fundamental freedoms and liberties of the human person.

* Zimbabweans and the broader civics find themselves plunged in uncertain times and disillusioned, the CPC reiterates that the struggle for a people centered political and development paradigm is NOW and continues to fight for the ideological strengthening of like-minded social movements to align their programming to the very essence of the founding principles grounded by its connection with the masses and guided by the resolve of a social democratic  state adopted in February 2008.  

The CPC shall continue to find its legitimacy in the Pan African doctrine safeguarding against the dictatorship of global capital in its programming and outlook - the people must own its existence.

* We also demand that the government of Zimbabwe must immediately adopt the Peoples Charter as the official policy document embodying the bona-fide demands and aspirations of all sections of our Zimbabwean.
Today, we must take this tradition forward. The Charter’s far-reaching demands are as relevant today as they were six years ago when the Charter was adopted. 

It is therefore imperative for the people of Zimbabwe to stay focused on the important parts of our struggle which are yet to be achieved as they are vital  in the liberation of our people and in the transformation their lives. 

The struggle must continue until each of the 8 demands of the Peoples Charter are realized.

Issued by: Information Department

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