Zimbabwe Declaration

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Make Our Vote Count Campaign!



We, the leaders of civil society organisations of Zimbabwe;

Deeply conscious of the mandate given to us by the citizens of Zimbabwe through various democracy initiatives including, but by no means limited to, the All Stakeholders Conferences, culminating in the 2008 People’s Convention, as well as post March 29 nationwide Consultations, to continuously and consistently work, individually and collectively, towards bringing to an end the multi-faceted crisis facing Zimbabwe today;

Recalling the longstanding and unheeded calls by Civil Society prior to the election, for greater efforts to ensure democratic conditions conducive for a free and fair election process through amongst other things a people driven constitutional reform process, repeal of repressive legislation and greater commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights;

Recognising and commending the people of Zimbabwe for peacefully participating in the harmonised elections of 29 March 2008, in spite of the adverse political, socio-economic and humanitarian conditions and despite an unsatisfactory election environment, with the express intention of contributing to the democratisation process in Zimbabwe;

Bearing in mind, that the deepening crisis, as exacerbated by the Harmonised Elections of March 29 have their roots in the country’s flawed constitutional dispensation;

Emphasizing that, the failure by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission [ZEC] to expeditiously release the election results is essentially a gross violation of citizens’ fundamental rights and freedoms that must be guaranteed in the Constitution;

Recognise with alarm and concern that the 2008 post-election period has since deteriorated, as being marred by politically motivated violence and other disturbances to people’s social and economic lives;

Noting with growing concern the rapidly deteriorating political, social, security and human rights climate which has disrupted the lives of citizens and further rendered it increasingly difficult for humanitarian and human rights organisations to dispense life-saving support services to the most vulnerable societal groups;

We hereby:

Observe with great concern, the continued abuse of executive and military powers to subvert the expressed will of the people;

Recognise the glaring extent to which Zimbabwe has sunk deeply into a crisis of legitimacy, democracy and governance;

Condemn the ZEC failure to properly carry out its constitutional mandate within a reasonable time thus causing anxiety and suffering among the people of Zimbabwe particularly through the protracted and unjustifiable delay in the finalisation of the 2008 Harmonised electoral processes

Express our firmly held belief that the continuation of this untenable situation poses a serious threat to democracy, socio-economic development and peace in Zimbabwe;

Re-iterate the long-standing position of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) that the failure by duty bearers to respect the rights of all citizens is the greatest threat to peace, democracy and development in Zimbabwe;

Note the disappointing failure of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) led mediation, to resolve the Zimbabwean crisis;

Recognise, the need for much bolder regional and continental interventions to assist the people of Zimbabwe

Acknowledge the growing global solidarity toward the people of Zimbabwe in their efforts to contend with the manifold challenges emanating from the 2008 elections;

Now therefore, resolve to:

1. Forthwith, adopt and launch the Make Our Vote Count Campaign as a national mass-based, people driven initiative, to mobilise the people of Zimbabwe to reclaim their votes through mass-based, peaceful non-violent social action and in so doing contribute to the entrenchment of democracy and good governance in Zimbabwe.

2. Demand, a people driven and democratic Constitutional reform process.

3. Call upon the people of Zimbabwe to unite in order to peacefully re-affirm and reclaim their vote through non violent social action.

4. Call upon regional and international leadership in particular the African Union and Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), to urgently step-up efforts to exert the necessary pressure on the Zimbabwean political leaders to comply with and protect the will of the people.

5. Demand that, immediate actions be taken to ensure the closure of youth militia and war veteran/military base camps that have been set up in various areas around the country, and to oversee the disarmament and disbanding of these groups.

6. Call upon, ZANU PF to immediately cease using the institutions of state security and repressive legislation to subvert and deny the expressed will of the people, particularly in denying freedoms of assembly, association and expression.

7. Demand that, service chiefs (i.e. defence forces, intelligence, police, prisons, army, air force) immediately retract inflammatory and partisan statements, threatening a possible unconstitutional take-over of the government.

We therefore launch the Make Our Vote Count Campaign here in Harare on the 17th of April 2008,

Make the vote count – Respect the People’s Vote!