The Zimbabwe People's Charter adopted at the Peoples’ Convention, Harare, on the 9th of February 2008
We, the People of Zimbabwe, After deliberations amongst ourselves and with the full knowledge of the work done by civic society organizations and social movements; With an understanding that our struggle for emancipation has been drawn-out and is in need of a people-driven solution; Hereby declare for all to know that: -
1. Political Environment
In the knowledge that our political environment since colonialism and after our national independence in 1980 has remained characterised by: a) A lack of respect for the rule of law;
b) Political violence, most notably that which occurred in the early to late 1980s in the provinces of Midlands and Matabeleland, and that which occurred in the years from 1997 to present day, where lives were lost as a result of government actions undertaken with impunity;
c) A lack of fundamental rights and freedoms, including freedom of expression and information, association and assembly, all characterised by the militarization of arms of the state and government.
d) The People shall have a political environment in which: All people in Zimbabwe, including children, are guaranteed without discrimination the rights to freedom of expression and information, association and assembly, and all other fundamental rights and freedoms as provided under international law to which the state has bound itself voluntarily.
e) All people in Zimbabwe live in a society characterised by tolerance of divergent views, cultures or religions, honesty, integrity and common concern for the welfare of all.
f) All people in Zimbabwe are guaranteed safety and security, and a lawful environment free from human rights violations and impunity.
g) All national institutions including the judiciary, law enforcement agencies, state security agencies, electoral, media and human rights commissions, are independent and impartial and serve all the people of Zimbabwe without fear or favour.
h)There exists a free and vibrant media, which places emphasis on freedom of expression and information and a government, which guarantees independent public media as well as a vibrant and independent private media.
i) All people in Zimbabwe live in a society, which is the embodiment of transparency, with an efficient public service and a belief in a legitimate, people-centred state.
And hereby further declare that never again shall we let lives be lost, maimed, tortured or traumatised by the dehumanising experiences of political intolerance, violence and lack of democratic government.
Fully believing that all elections in Zimbabwe remain illegitimate and without merit until undertaken under a new democratic and people-driven constitution, The People shall have all elections under a new people-driven constitutional dispensation characterised by:
a) Equal access to the media.
b) One independent, impartial, accountable and well-resourced electoral management body.
c) A process of delimitation, which is free from political control, which is accurate, fair, transparent and undertaken with full public participation.
d) A continually updated and accurate voters’ roll, which is open and accessible to all.
e) Transparent and neutral location of polling stations, agreed to through a national consultative process devoid of undue ruling or opposition party and government influence, which are accessible to all including those with special needs.
f) Voter education with the full participation of civic society that is both expansive and well-timed in order to allow citizens to exercise their democratic right to choose leaders of their choice to the full.
g) International, Regional and Local Observers and Monitors being permitted access to everyone involved in the electoral process.
h) An Electoral Court, which is independent and impartial, well-staffed and wellresourced to address all issues relating to electoral processes, conduct, conflicts and results in a timely manner.
3. Constitutional Reform
Holding in relation to constitutional reform that a new constitution of Zimbabwe must be produced by a people-driven, participatory process and must in it guarantee: -
a) That the Republic of Zimbabwe shall be a democracy, with separation of powers, a justiciable Bill of Rights that recognises civil, political, social, economic, cultural and environmental rights;
b) Devolution of government authority to provinces and to local government level;
c) A multi-party system of democratic government based on universal suffrage and regular free and fair elections and the right to recall public officials;
d) The right to citizenship for any person born in Zimbabwe. Birth certificates, national identity documents and passports shall be easily available for all citizens;
e) A credible and fair election management body and process;
f) An independent, impartial and competent judiciary;
g) The protection of labour rights and the right to informal trade;
h) The protection and promotion of the rights of people living with disabilities;
i) Independent and impartial commissions which deal with gender equality, land, elections, human rights and social justice;
j) An impartial state security apparatus;
The People shall have a constitutional reform process, which is characterised by the following: k) Comprehensive consultation with the people of Zimbabwe wherein they are guaranteed freedom of expression and information, association and assembly.
l) The collection of the views of the people and their compilation into a draft constitution that shall be undertaken by an All-Stakeholders’ Commission composed of representatives of government, parliament, political parties, civil society, labour, business and the church with a gender and minority balance.
m) A transparent process of the appointment of the All-Stakeholders’ Commission members as well as their terms of reference.
n) The holding of a national referendum on any draft constitution.
4. National Economy and Social Welfare
Holding in relation to the national economy and social welfare that because the colonial and post colonial periods resulted in massive growth in social inequality and marginalisation of women, youths, peasants, informal traders, workers, the disabled, professionals and the ordinary people in general, we hereby make it known that our national economy belongs to the people of Zimbabwe and must serve as a mechanism through which everyone shall be equally guaranteed the rights to dignity, economic and social justice which shall be guided by the following principles:
a) People-centered economic planning and budgets at national and local government levels that guarantee social and economic rights
b) The obligation on the state, provincial and local authorities to initiate public programmes to build schools, hospitals, houses, dams and roads and create jobs.
c) Equitable access to and distribution of national resources for the benefit of all people of Zimbabwe.
d) A transparent process of ownership and equitable, open and fair redistribution of land from the few to the many.
e) The right of the people of Zimbabwe to refuse repayment of any odious debt accrued by a dictatorial government.
f) Protection of our environment from exploitation and misuse, whether by individuals or companies.
g) Social and Economic justice as a fundamental principle that guides a new people driven constitution and in particular the specification of the people’s social-economic rights in the Bill of Rights.
And in particular, we hold that the national economy shall ensure: ·
h) Free and quality public health care including free drugs, treatment, care and support for those living with HIV and AIDS.
i) A living pension and social security allowances for all retirees, elderly, disabled, orphans, unemployed and ex-combatants and ex-detainees.
j) Decent work, employment and the right to earn a living. · Affordable, quality and decent public funded transport.
k) Food security and the availability of basic commodities at affordable prices, where necessary, to ensure universal access. ·
l) Free and quality public education from crèche to college and university levels. ·
m) Decent and affordable public funded housing.
n) Fair labour standards including: A tax-free minimum wage linked to inflation and the poverty datum line and pay equity for women, youth and casual workers, safe working places and adequate state and employer funded compensation for injury or death from accidents at work, protection from unfair dismissal, measures to ensure gender equity in the workplace, including equal pay for work of equal worth, full and paid maternity and paternity leave.
o) Access to trade within and without the national borders and removal of all obstacles on the right of small traders, small scale producers and vendors to trade and earn a living.
5. National Value System:
Believing that we must commit ourselves to a national value system that recognises the humanity of every single individual in our society which we shall call ubuntu, hunhu, The People shall commit to: -
a) Provide solidarity wherever needed to those that are less privileged in our society as individuals or in any other capacity. ·
b) Equally respect people of all ages.
c) Challenging intolerance by learning and respecting all languages and cultures.
d)An inclusive national process of truth, justice, reconciliation and healing.
e) Recognising all people involved in the liberation struggle.
And that this be done with an emphasis that ubuntu/hunhu is passed on from one generation to the next at national and community level.
Holding in relation to gender that all human beings are created equal, must live and be respected equally with equitable access to all resources that our society offers regardless of their gender, and that gender equality is the responsibility of women and men equally, we recognise the role that our mothers and sisters played in the liberation of our country from colonialism and their subsequent leading role in all struggles for democracy and social justice.
a) The People state that these fundamental principles must be observed and upheld at all levels of the Peoples’ Charter, both on paper and in practice, where decisions are made about the following:
i) Our national budget and economy.
ii) Our legislative and government processes in order to allow representative quota systems.
iii) Provision by the state of all health care and all sanitary requirements of women.
iv) An understanding that women bear the brunt of any decline in social welfare security, economic and political systems.
Believing that at all given times the youth, both female and male, represent the present and the future of our country and that all those in positions of leadership nationally and locally must remain true to the fact that our country shall be passed on from one generation to the next, The People state that, in order for each generation to bequeath to the next a country that remains the epitome of hope, democracy and sustainable livelihoods, the following principles for the youth must be adhered to and respected:
a) The youth shall be guaranteed the right to education at all levels until they acquire their first tertiary qualification.
b) The youth shall be guaranteed an equal voice in decision-making processes that not only affect them but the country as a whole in all spheres of politics, the national economy and social welfare.
c) The youth shall be guaranteed access to the right to health.
d) The youth shall not be subject to political abuse through training regimes that connote political violence or any semblance of propaganda that will compromise their right to determine their future as both individuals and as a collective.
e) The youth have the right to associate and assemble and express themselves freely of their own prerogative.