Woza press statement on talks

Press Statement
On behalf of Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA)

“Talking about TALKS – WOZA/MOZA’s view – ten steps to a new Zimbabwe

WOZA has been reading and hearing about ‘the talks’ and wish to express our views about these.

Firstly, we would like to know exactly what South African President Thabo Mbeki, Tanzanian President Kikwete and our SADC brothers and sisters want to achieve by their mediation. Is their role to bring about a new government without any political, economic and social reform? Or is their objective something more meaningful? To establish themselves as genuine mediators, they should secure the cooperation of the present government in allowing the transitional process to go ahead without interference and press them to step down from office to allow for an effective transition. We shall continue to pressure them to do this, thereby paving the way for a Zimbabwe where all Zimbabweans can enjoy equality and live with dignity.

What is our role as ordinary Zimbabweans, carrying the heaviest burdens and finding it impossible to survive?

Our role can be described in this way. We know where the fireplace is and that there is a pot boiling. We have not been consulted about what is to be cooked and who is to eat the meal when it is ready. While waiting to be called to the table to share the meal, we are busy collecting firewood and bringing it to the fireside so that those currently doing the cooking see it and put it in the fire. If the fire starts to go out, it will be our firewood that is used to light it again so that the pot can keep boiling. When the meal is cooked we will demand a place at the table to share in the meal cooked with our firewood. If the meal is badly cooked, we will refuse to eat and ask them for a better recipe. And just a reminder that mothers make the most memorable meals!

We can go further to say that those mediating the talks, and the politicians involved, should be thinking of the following ingredients if the meal is to be delicious and enjoyed by all
Zimbabweans:

1. Violence, in all its forms, should be stopped to allow for a transitional process that can begin the healing process.
2. An all-stakeholders' conference should be convened with the following participants: all political parties, non-governmental organisation, churches, labour, business, youth and women all meeting on an equal basis. Their agenda is to devise a transitional process consisting of putting in place an interim authority and outlining a process of constitution making. The interim authority should undertake the following:
3. Assume legislative power; repeal oppressive legislation against freedom of expression and assembly such as the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) and Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA). We also call for an end to the selective application of other laws.
4. Conduct an audit of civil servants, the judiciary and law enforcement agents as to their professional and non-partisan conduct. Offenders should be sent to re-training/community service or for prosecution. The youth militia should be disbanded and the defence forces should be confined to barracks for retraining.
5. Begin the process of re-engaging the international community with a view to rehabilitating the economy aimed at job creation.
6. Carry out a land audit to lay the basis for a permanent and equitable solution to land reform, while promoting immediate resumption of food production.
7. Initiate a constitution-making process, including a plan for transitional justice, consulting all Zimbabweans both at home and abroad.
8. Take the resulting constitutional and transitional justice proposals to a referendum supervised by Southern African Development Community (SADC).
9. Prepare for elections, including reconstituting the Registrar General’s department, preparing new electoral laws, appointing an independent electoral commission and delimitation commission to prepare an electoral roll and prepare for the election. We will be saying good riddance to Tobaiwa Mudede and his crooked systems.
10. Ensure elections are conducted according to the SADC protocols and under international and regional supervision with international and local observers. The interim authority will then hand over to the winners of the election.

25 May 2007