Political reforms critical for enforcement of social contract

Stakeholders who met at a Dialogue and Transition in Zimbabwe policy conference in Harare on October 27, 2016 concurred that political reforms were critical to ensuring the fulfillment of the social contract in the country.

Douglas Mahiya

Douglas Mahiya

The policy conference was hosted by Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) and the Zimbabwe Democracy Institute (ZDI)in the face of the socio-economic and political crisis prevailing in Zimbabwe.

Civic society actors, representatives from labour, war veterans, government representatives, protest movements and gender movements attended the policy conference.

War veteran, Douglas Mahiya told the policy conference that addressing the issue of the social contract in Zimbabwe should start with political reforms.

“It is going to be very difficult to address the issue of the social contract unless we look at the principles and foundations of the social contract. It is far much better to start with political reforms before we go to the issue of socio-economic reforms,” said Mahiya.

The issue of political reforms was also emphasized by Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum Director, Lloyd Kuvheya who said it was imperative for civic society organizations in Zimbabwe to advocate for security sector reforms as a way of enforcing the social contract in the country.

Kuvheya said demilitarization of independent commissions that support democracy was equally important.

“The misgiving in Zimbabwe is the security services sector. I still think that civic society must take the issue of security sector reform to SADC because recently, Lesotho was directed by SADC to implement security sector reform and we must ensure that this is done in Zimbabwe as well.

“Our advocacy needs to be human rights based and we need to ensure that everybody respects the rule of law,” said Kuvheya.

Participants at the policy conference expressed concern over politicization of development projects as well as partisan distribution of food aid saying this was a breach of the social contract which needed to be addressed.

There was consensus that there is need for deliberate efforts to promote the upholding of the social contract and make sure that the poor and vulnerable groups of society are given a voice on issues of national importance.

On another note, Mrs. Rita Nyamupinga from the Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe expressed concern that powerful politicians were looting resources for personal gain while the majority wallow in abject poverty.

This, she said, was enough justification to call for reforms that will address the dire situation in Zimbabwe.

“Our problem is that the State has been captured by individuals who are now privatizing it and we need a revolution that will pursue the aspirations that made us to revolt against the Ian Smith regime,” said Nyamupinga.

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