AS Zimbabweans across the globe celebrate the downfall of President Robert Mugabe, who resigned on Tuesday, civic society organisations (CSOs) have called for the removal of draconian laws and opening of lines of direct foreign investment to revive the economy.
BY SILAS NKALA
On Tuesday night, several CSOs gathered at the Bulawayo City Hall car park to celebrate the post-Mugabe era, where they listed a number of demands to the incoming administration led by former Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition spokesperson Dumisani Nkomo said although they were celebrating the departure of Mugabe, there were numerous demands that were made to him, but were not fulfilled.
“Before the new leader has even settled in that position, it is important that he finds a package of issues which we want addressed,” he said. “We as citizens said we want devolution in the Constitution and Mugabe’s administration had been ignoring to implement it, so we are saying the incoming leader must be sensitive to the people’s demands.”
Nkomo said the CSOs were concerned that since the nation would hold elections next year, the biometric voter registration period should be extended to allow civic groups to educate citizens about the process.
“We also demand that the new administration should reform the electoral laws and when police officers come out to enforce laws we demand that there should be no tolerance for corruption. He [President] must make sure he weeds out corrupt elements from State institutions,” he said.
“We also make it clear that media laws must be reformed especially concerning the State broadcaster Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation. It must stop being biased. Laws such as the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act must be repealed.”
Nkomo added: “The government must also restore investor confidence by removing some laws which scare away investors such as indigenisation. We still have the Public Order and Security Act and these laws make citizens to appear as if they are enemies of the State and must be done away with.”
Nkomo said the new leader should be seized with Gukurahundi, which Mugabe has been ignoring for long, if he has to gain credibility and support from Matabeleland and Midlands provinces. He said the policy of national healing, reconciliation and integration should be taken a gear up to resolve the impasse between the government and the people.
Streetwise Informal Traders’ Association director Percy Mcijo said they welcomed the resignation of Mugabe, but had reservations on what the new leader would do concerning the informal sector.
“We welcome the new era without Mugabe and we bid farewell to the old one. We are saying the new era should take cognisance of the old era’s mistakes and never repeat them at all,” he said.
“As the informal sector, we demand recognition and the enabling policy legislative framework to be enacted by the new administration which must support job creation.”
Mcijo said the government should consider the high rate of unemployment and assist the informal sector to create more jobs.
“We urge government to uphold the provisions of the Constitution which promote job creation. The government must come up with enabling environment to boost the economic performance in the country,” he said.
This was echoed by Streets Informal Traders official Edward Manning, who demanded that the government should meet their expectations and enable the informal sector to be the backbone of the economy.
“We do not want to see politicians coming to use the informal sector as a campaign tool and dump it when they are voted into office,” he said.
Manning also said as CSOs they demand that Zimbabwe Electoral Commission chairperson Rita Makarau resign immediately as they want someone non-partisan to be in that office.
“We want a retired judge to take over and run that office so that we have credible elections next year,” he said.