The meeting was part of a series of meetings being held across the country as a build up towards a national convergence meant to deliberate on the Zimbabwean crisis and explore possible solutions to the multi-faceted crisis facing Zimbabwe.
The provincial coordinating meetings are also in line with CiZCâ€™s decentralisation exercise aimed at enhancing the participation of civic society organisations from grassroots level in national issues.
In his address at the meeting, CiZC Programmes Manager, Thulani Mswelanto emphasised the importance of a national convergence on the Zimbabwean crisis and highlighted that it was critical to get input as to the way forward from various stakeholders across the country.
â€œThe national convergence should reflect the views of each and every province and that is the reason why CiZC has embarked on this process of gathering views so that we get to know what should be on the agenda of the national convergence platform.
â€œMore importantly, we are doing this exercise so that we bring together the efforts of various civic society organisations in resolving the Zimbabwean crisis,â€ said Mswelanto.
CiZC Advocacy Committee Chairperson, Marvellous Khumalo reiterated the need for civic society organisations and social movements to push for common interests.
â€œIt is necessary for civic society organisations and social movements to unite and push the democracy agenda in Zimbabwe. This is achievable through creating a national convergence that will push for common interests. We need to consult amongst ourselves and identify the priority areas that should be addressed,â€ said Khumalo.
Issues raised at the meeting included State brutality against citizens, the economic decline in the country which has affected critical sectors such as health, politicisation of food aid and development programmes, poor service delivery, corruption and mismanagement, governmentâ€™s Â hypocrisy over Community Share Ownership Trusts as well as the governmentâ€™s recent move to impose bond notes on the justification that their (bond notes) introduction will help alleviate the current cash crisis in Zimbabwe.
Stakeholders present at the meeting also expressed concern over governmentâ€™s insincerity on the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) saying this was working against efforts towards peace and unity in the country.
It was also highlighted during the meeting that political tolerance was largely lacking in Masvingo province as a result of continued manipulation of desperate citizens by political bigwigs from the ruling party, Zanu (PF).
â€œThe issue of manipulation has negatively affected development efforts in this province because there is no longer a unity of purpose as people have been divided along partisan lines. We are also concerned over partisan distribution of food aid which has seen perceived and known opponents of the opposition being sidelined.
â€œWe also feel that as civic society organisations we need to mobilise each other and move with a common goal in addressing the crisis we face as a country. A united movement is critical as far as pushing for democracy and development is concerned,â€ said Entrance Takaidza from Masvingo United Residents and Ratepayers Association (MURRA).
Masvingo Human Rights Trust Coordinator, Masimba Gonese said human rights abuses as well as cases of corruption in Zimbabwe were a call to action for civic society organisations across the country.
â€œIt is the responsibility of civic society organisations to ensure that such malpractices are addressed. What this therefore means is that we have to speak with one voice and this is achievable if we consult and push one similar agenda as pro-democracy groups,â€ said Gonese.Post published in: Featured