Chitungwiza residents and a network of civil society organizations came together at a National SADC People’s Summit consultative meeting on 30 July, 2016 to share views and develop the national position towards the 2016 SADC People’s Summit to be held in Manzini, Swaziland. The meeting which was held under the theme “A People Driven Zimbabwe Committed to Promoting Social and Economic Justice” came up with numerous resolutions from different thematic areas among them the youth; labour; HIV and AIDS; social service delivery; governance, human rights and constitutionalism.
The SADC People’s Summit is coming at a time when Zimbabwe is in turmoil and unrest as a result of citizen grievances that cut across social, economic and political sectors. Zimbabwean citizens feel betrayed by the government which they elected and feel that it is critical to come up with a position that states the views of the people particularly those at grassroots level.
The ZIMCODD national board chairperson Liberty Bhebhe expressed concern over the constantly deteriorating state of the economy, alarming levels of unemployment, standard of living and dilapidating social service delivery system and most importantly the rampant corruption that is ravaging our economy.
“We have 92 per cent unemployment and the 8 per cent that is employed is not certain of getting their salaries”, he said.
Bhebhe said people should air out their grievances without fear because it will greatly contribute in changing the status quo.
Pastor Chiwendere from the Pastors Fraternal Ministries lamented how religion has made Zimbabweans think that the world we live in is a temporary place and there is no need to stand up and act for the benefit of their own welfare.
“The Church has let us down by remainining quiet while the majority of Zimbabweans suffer with the fear of being labbelled as rebellious to the will of God. The Church must act as the conscience of the people. We should turn the song mhururu kumatenga to mhururu kuZimbabwe. How can we sing a song of Jerusalem when people are suffering?” said Chiwendere.
Organising Secretary of Zimbabwe Informal Chamber’s Association, Charity Mandishona expressed displeasure on the ill treatment of vendors by municipal police and state police and the ever increasing levels of corruption.
"There is need to educate the general populace on constitutional provisions that protect them to avoid any kind of abuse and mistreatment. Kanzuru inotitorera mari yapedza yotimhanyisa (council take away money from us and chase us away thereafter)'’, she said.
Youths also discussed and presented their issues to the stakeholders present and vowed to go to Swaziland and speak out on issues that are crosscutting in the SADC region. Some of the issues discussed and agreed upon include;
- The need for SADC member states to have a coordinated approach to the problem of unemployment and most importantly protect migrating workers.
- Take particular interest on the health of girls and young women particularly providing sanitary wear as a basic entitlement.
- Solve the problem of abuse of youths in violence and political power struggle.
- Develop a standard and compel member states to value and upgrade ICTs and internet as a basic entitlement for sustainable development.
- Creation of a vibrant SADC Youth Wing that has power of engagement with the regional leadership.
- The need for SADC to create research and invocation platform for employment creation and promotion of creativity and local talent.
- Increase youth access and involvement in the management, preservation and usage of local natural resources
- Governments to protect and promote the rule of law and youth participation in economic, social, political and elective processes
- Monitor the commitment of member states on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
- Affordable, accessible, quality education that cater for the needs of particularly for youth living with disability.