“No transition without citizens:”

CSOs gathering at the just ended International Conference running under the theme: Reconstruction and Reform queried what is perceived as an attempt to suspend the constitution in dealing with the political transition in Zimbabwe. CSOs agreed that the state legitimacy question can only be addressed by a credible free and fair election and following the dictates of the constitution in the event of the incapacitation of the president.

Civil society also placed the citizen at the centre of the political transition to drive the process and ensure that Zimbabwe is governed by accountable leaders and institutions.  “There is no transition that occurs without the active involvement and participation of the affected citizens,” said Briggs Bomba, the Project Coordinator for the Zimbabwe Alliance.

In his presentation at the recently held International Conference at Harare International Conference Centre last week, Bomba said the emergence of citizens’ restlessness defined the scenario for change. “No optimised interventions by outside forces can influence change of any form,” said Bomba, adding that the citizens were the ones to instigate any form of transition. “Subjective conditions must be right. There must be that readiness to engage in a struggle from the citizens.” Bomba called on civil society organisations to remain the voice of justice, articulating the voices of the oppressed. “There is urgent need to craft a comprehensive and transformative vision for the Zimbabwe we want understanding where we are coming from,” he added. Bomba said because citizens were in a state where they were submerged in their daily challenges, there was need for CSOs to break this barrier and invest in educating and building an informed citizens who were not only conscious of their rights but could defend them in the event that they were violated.

“Building a democracy that lasted goes beyond the upcoming elections,” said Bomba. Sally Dura, the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition Board Chairperson emphasised the need for CSOs to listen to the dissenting voice and ensure inclusivity of every stakeholder in their programming. “CSOs must not wait for project cycles to start working. Our work should be continuous,” said Dura. Glanis Changachirere, the Director of the Institute for Young Women Development added that the inclusion of especially young women in the transformation and reconstruction agenda was key. “Young people should be at the forefront of our activities where their input should be prioritised,” she said, imploring role models within society to mentor and encourage young women to spearhead the developmental agenda.

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  1. Patrick Guramatunhu

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