Civil society committed to democratic transition.
Subject: Democratization (Social aspects)
Civil society (Political activity)
Political reform (Social aspects)
Pub Date: 08/01/2008
Publication: Name: Sister Namibia Publisher: Sister Namibia Audience: Academic; General Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Social sciences; Women's issues/gender studies Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2008 Sister Namibia ISSN: 1026-9126
Issue: Date: August, 2008 Source Volume: 20 Source Issue: 3
Topic: Event Code: 290 Public affairs
Geographic: Geographic Scope: Zimbabwe Geographic Code: 6ZIMB Zimbabwe
Accession Number: 188293330
Full Text: "We, civil society organisations acting on behalf of the people of Zimbabwe, today reassert our commitment to the struggle for a transition to democracy. In doing so, we stand firmly by the principles of democratic constitutionalism that are embodied in the People's Charter and which represent the birthright of every Zimbabwean.

Given the present environment of fear and oppression, we declare that democratic reform must be preceded by the cessation of violence, restoration of law and order, and facilitation of humanitarian relief. If such conditions are met, we are prepared to support the installation of a transitional government created after consultation with all stakeholders.


We believe that a transitional government would provide an appropriate vehicle for ushering democratic reform. The transitional authority would have a specific. limited mandate to oversee the drafting of a new, democratic and people-driven constitution and the installation of a legitimate government. We wholeheartedly reject the suggestion of a power-sharing agreement that fails to immediately address the inadequacy of the current constitutional regime.

The transitional government must be established in line with the following:

Leadership by a neutral body

The transitional government should be headed by an individual who is not a member of ZANU-PF or MDC.

Broad representation

Individuals from a broad sector of Zimbabwean society should be incorporated into the transitional government. This should include representatives from labour organisations, women's and children's rights groups, churches, and various other interest groups.

Specific, limited mandate

The transitional government should be tasked with facilitating the drafting and adoption of a new constitution and then holding elections under the new constitutional framework. It should only govern the country until such time as the government elected under the new constitution is installed. The negotiating parties should provide a very clear timeframe for this process, with no more than 18 months of rule by the transitional government.

People-driven constitutional development

The process of drafting a new constitution must include broad-based consultation with the public. Interest groups such as women, labour, churches, and media should be given special opportunities to provide input. The draft constitution should not be enacted until it has been ratified by the public in a national referendum.

Restoration of good governance

State institutions such as the judiciary, police, security services, and state welfare agencies should be depoliticised and reformed. Steps should be taken to fight corruption and promote accountability for public officials. Restrictions on press freedom should be lifted and access to state media outlets should be opened.

Transitional justice initiatives

The transitional government should design and implement a system to bring to justice the perpetrators of gross human rights violations. This framework for transitional justice should be embedded in the new constitution.

In the event of the above conditions not being met, civil society commits itself to continue in actions that increase pressure on whosoever will be holding state power to embrace people-centered democratic process."

Zimbabwe Civil Society

15 July 2008

Gale Copyright: Copyright 2008 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.