WOZA-led meeting launches social justice campaign

By a Correspondent

HARARE – Perpetrators of injustice in post-independence Zimbabwe should face trial and their victims, using evidence already collected by civic society, be compensated, said most participants in a cons

ultation on social justice organised by Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA).

The aim of the Jan. 21-22 was to have an initial discussion on social justice, what it means and how it could be achieved, and for the some 200 delegates from eight organisations to report back to their contacts, from families to communities across the country. The final phases of the campaign envisage launching a “Social Justice Plan for Zimbabwe locally, regionally and internationally … and obtain commitment for delivery.”

“Participants were invited to dream freely about the Zimbabwe they envisaged for the future and, in many cases, these visions converged into a single aspiration,” WOZA said in a recently released report on the meeting. “It is now necessary to continue the work of these initial discussions by consulting further and wider on what Zimbabweans imagine as socially just future could entail and how we can work together to achieve it.”

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights said in a presentation that one defence for acts of civil disobedience, including peaceful demonstrations, was that the Mugabe regime had ratified international human rights agreements, including the African Charter, and this “meant that it wanted the citizens of the country to enjoy those rights.”

The lawyers said that although the present courts usually do not provide remedies on human rights, and even if they do a politically partisan police force often ignores the rulings, citizens should continue to resort to the courts “because it is another way of highlighting the injustices of the regime.”

As well as urging that Zimbabwe leaders responsible for injustice since 1980 independence should face trial, delegates felt that “those who have amassed wealth through government position should not be allowed to keep it … assets, including foreign bank accounts, should be seized and returned to the state.”

Most participants also agreed that new constitution alone would not deliver social justice. Among the other necessities are a change of government, trustworthy and disciplined leadership and a “people-centred economic policies.”

As well as WOZA, representatives from the following organisations attended the meeting: African Liberation Support Campaign, Bulawayo Agenda, Crisis Coalition, General Agricultural and Plantation Workers Union of Zimbabwe, International Socialist Organisation, Uhuru Social Centre, and Women’s Information and Access Centre.

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