Ideas Festival involves community

The fourth edition of the Ideas Festival ended this week with community sector forum discussions among the major highlights of this year’s event.

Pastor Useni admiring one of the stands at the just-ended Ideas Festival.
Pastor Useni admiring one of the stands at the just-ended Ideas Festival.

Thabani Nyoni, the Executive Director of Bulawayo Agenda, said this year‘s event gave ordinary residents the rare opportunity to give their input to national discourses, as well as interact with civil society and civil organisations.

“The local communities were the spotlight at this year’s Ideas Festival. This time around the local community had a chance to be part of the change which is likely to be brought about by these forums. Most of the forums were held in the high density suburbs,” said Nyoni.

The women symposium was held at Entumbane hall and was attended by women from Bulawayo Agenda’s chapters and representatives from other women’s organisations around Bulawayo. Speaking at the forum, Anglistone Sibanda, a gender activist, said total empowerment of women could only be achieved if the new constitution guaranteed devolution of power.

“If the new constitution delivers devolution of power, it will be easy for women to have political and administrative power. This will also mean women will be in control of the management of resources in their localities, a right they have always been denied by the current constitution,” said Sibanda.

The local Governance Forum was held at Stanley Hall in Makokoba where participants called for a constitutional framework that spells out how local governments should work.

“Local governance in Zimbabwe has always operated at the whim of central government. It would not be surprising if as a result, we wake up one morning to hear that central government has said that there shall be no councillors,” said Effie Ncube, the chairperson of the Matabeleland Constitutional Reform Agenda.

A public lecture on transitional justice was also held during the festival. Speaker, John Ngaii Gikonyo, a Kenyan national who sits on the International Commission of Jurists, said the issue of security sector reform was part of transitional justice.

“Security sector reform, which I am told is currently an emotive issue in Zimbabwe, is indeed an integral mechanism of transitional justice. This is done to ensure that you build fresh trust in the security apparatus of a country,” he said.

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