Thursday, February 26, 2009

Civic Society Communique on monitoring of Interparty Political Agreement

We, representatives of civil society organizations, meeting in Harare on the 25th February 2009:

Acknowledging the signing of the Interparty Political Agreement (IPA) on the 15th September 2008 and the effective commencement of its implementation by the participating political parties on the 30th January 2009,

Noting the continued humanitarian, social, and economic crises which the country continues to face and needs to address urgently,

Deeply concerned at the continued assault on the fundamental rights and freedoms of the people of Zimbabwe, in particular human rights defenders and legitimate political activists,

In solidarity with our colleagues and others who remain unjustly incarcerated at various prisons, remand facilities and hospitals around Zimbabwe,

Guided by our earlier commitment and collective views as espoused in the Peoples’ Charter developed through national consultative processes,
Mindful of the need for any legitimate government to pursue its mandate through inclusive, transparent, people-driven and participatory processes in order to ensure a swift return to democracy, good governance and the Rule of Law,

Further mindful of civil society’s critical role and responsibility in scrutinizing politicians and political processes, and holding them to account, in order to maintain its watchdog role and moral authority,
Noting that in the event of the political deadlock necessitating dissolution of the agreement, fresh elections should be conducted under an internationally and regionally acceptable framework and supervisory missions,

Observing that the ordinary voices and views of the people of Zimbabwe have not been heard or acknowledged in the IPA and that ownership, monitoring and enforcement of the IPA is currently the exclusive reserve of political parties, state authorities and regional and international political organs who are not accountable to the people of Zimbabwe,

Now hereby resolve to:
1. Immediately establish an independent Civil Society Monitoring Mechanism which will, through shared and agreed benchmarks, focus on monitoring and assessing the adherence to and implementation of the Interparty Political Agreement (IPA) by those bound to its provisions through the work of five (5) main Thematic Clusters, namely:
a. Economy and Development (incorporating Economic Recovery, Land, Humanitarian and Food Assistance)
b. Constitutional Reform Process
c. Political Transition and Justice (incorporating Equality, National Healing, Cohesion and Unity, Traditional Leaders, and National Youth Programme)
d. Institutional Transformation (incorporating Rule of Law, State Institutions, Legislative Agenda, the Media and National Institutions)
e. Respect for Human Rights and Operating Environment (incorporating Rule of Law, Freedom of Expression and Communication, Free Political Activity, Freedom of Assembly and Association, and Security of Persons and Prevention of Violence)

2. Ensure that progress on critical issues which have been overlooked or remain unaddressed within the ambit of the IPA is also monitored; more particularly in relation to:-
a. Reform and accountability of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe in terms of its mandate under the law
b. Economic Crimes and Impunity
c. Reform of the Education Sector
d. Reform of the Health Sector
e. Security Sector Reform
f. Judicial Reform
g. Electoral Reform
h. Local Government Reform

Produce Monthly Monitoring Reports which will be published, publicized, widely disseminated, simplified and translated, in order to allow the people of Zimbabwe to understand and discuss political processes, actions and decisions taken on their behalf and which have an impact on their lives, in order that they can demand accountability in an informed manner where they are of the opinion that their political representatives are failing to comply with the provisions they agreed to under the IPA.

4. Engage the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee (JOMIC) and all or any other responsible authorities and guarantors of the IPA on the basis of the findings and recommendations of the Monthly Monitoring Reports.

So contribute to a new culture of transparency, scrutiny and accountability of all public processes taken on behalf of the people of Zimbabwe by the political parties who purport to govern on their behalf.
Representatives of the civil society further clarify that this process, far from being an attempt to undermine political processes and agreements, is one which it has a responsibility to undertake as part of its independent watchdog role, and one which it will not hesitate to carry out to the best of its ability in line with the affirmations set out herein.

Thus done at Harare, Zimbabwe, this 25th day of February 2009.

Bulawayo Agenda (BA)
Christian Alliance (CA)
Counseling Services Unit (CSU)
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CZC)
General Agriculture and Plantation Workers Union( GAPWUZ)
Legal Resources Foundation (LRF)
Media Institute of Southern Africa – Zimbabwe Chapter (MISA-Zimbabwe)
Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe (MMPZ)
National Association of Non-Governmental Organizations (NANGO)
Progressive Teachers Association of Zimbabwe (PTUZ)
Research and Advocacy Unit (RAU)

Save Zimbabwe Campaign (SZC)
Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe (VMCZ)
Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR)
Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (Zimcodd)
Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN)
Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights)
Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum (ZHRF)
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)
Zimbabwe National Students Union (Zinasu)
Zimbabwe Young Women’s Network for Peace Building (ZYWNP)

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