04 November 2008
The National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) and other organisations will embark on mass protest action starting next week, to push for the set-up of a transitional government to immediately address the desperate humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe.
The group said in a statement released Tuesday that it is “increasingly evident that the leaders of the political parties involved in the dialogue have lost touch with the reality and magnitude of the crisis in Zimbabwe.”
It comes after the Southern African Development Community Troika on Politics, Defence and Security failed to resolve the political impasse between ZANU PF and the MDC, despite the signing of a power sharing agreement. The NCA said such a failure shows that “the destiny of Zimbabwe cannot be left exclusively to politicians, whatever their levels of popularity.”
The humanitarian crisis is set to leave up to half the population starving within the next two months, with a UN assessment predicting that an estimated 5 million Zimbabweans will face starvation in January. The widespread food shortages are already taking its toll on the nation, with countless numbers dying from hunger related diseases. At the same time, the collapse of the country’s health system under Robert Mugabe’s regime means that thousands more are dying from preventable and curable diseases such as cholera, because of a critical lack of medical staff and supplies.
The NCA’s chairman, Dr Lovemore Madhuku, explained on Tuesday that it and other organisations will push for SADC, as well as Zimbabwe’s political figures, to adopt an urgent three point plan towards immediate action on the dire humanitarian situation.
Madhuku said that the humanitarian crisis needs to be top of the agenda, and will only be effectively dealt with following the set up of a transitional government.
“During the life-span of the transitional Government, Zimbabweans must be given full freedom to write their own constitution in an open process such as that outlined in the Zimbabwe People’s Charter,” Madhuku added.
Madhuku conceded that pressure needs to be put on Robert Mugabe and ZANU PF as an individual party, given their hold on power. But he argued that it is clear that pressurising ZANU PF to give up power is not possible. “If the political parties do no reach an agreement then we, as the NCA, will call for a neutral transitional authority,” he explained.
The NCA said it will campaign for the three point plan through civic advocacy and street protests. The first protests to push for this position will be held next Tuesday in five centers: Harare, Bulawayo, Mutare, Masvingo and Gweru. These will be followed within days by further protests in which the NCA will be working with other organisations supporting this three-point plan.