COMMUNIQUE OF THE BULAWAYO FEYA FEYA CONFERENCE
27 JUNE 2013
WE as Civic Society Organisations, gathered in Bulawayo, on this 5th Anniversary of the Disputed June 27 2008 Presidential Election Run Off,
DESIROUS of promoting a conducive, peaceful, free andfair election in Zimbabwe,
NOTING that democracy is about participation, specifically, qualitative and quantitative participation,
COMMITTEDto advocating for peaceful elections and mitigating the impact of violence, intimidation and its attendant consequences,
RESOLVING to increase citizen’s participation in electoral processes,
WILLING to pool our resources and leverage on our symbiotic collaborations to campaign for a conducive operating and political environment ahead of elections,
BEING COGNIZANT that previous elections in Zimbabwe have been largely characterized by a clear arrest of free political activity, and the promotion, through actions, of elections as dangerous processes rather than the ultimate act of civic responsibility,
IDENTIFYING that central to the intoxication of the political environment has been political violence, partisan and unprofessional execution of duty by senior members of security services, a polarised and partisan media, a judiciary adjudged to be partial, an elections management body whose independence is doubted, and the presence of laws that hinder free association, assembly and access to information,
EMBOLDENED by the Extra-Ordinary Summit of the SADC Heads of State and Government, who through the Maputo Communiqué resolution 8.6, ‘urged the three parties to the GPA to undertake immediate measures to create a conducive environment for the holding of peaceful, credible, free and fair elections’.
STRENGTHENED, by the progress towards democratization that Zimbabwe has made, amidst tremendous difficulties during the life of the Inclusive Government,
CONVINCED, that while Zimbabwe’s transition to democracy maybe prolonged, it is inevitable,
Fully Subscribing to the Constitution of Zimbabwe and the rights and responsibilities that it confers upon us (as of May 22, 2013); and to the SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections, the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance, and Zimbabwe CSO Minimum Demands for Free and Fair elections.
Have, on this day of 27 June 2013, launched the Feya Feya Campaign for Free and Fair Elections in Zimbabwe, as a civic led and owned, broad based initiative aimed at promoting peaceful, free, fair and credible elections in Zimbabwe.
We have also agreed on the following 11 points of principle that we will promote and advocate in order to ensure that the forthcoming elections are conducted under fair rules and the spirit of fair play to produce an acceptable and uncontested outcome:
1. That ZEC conducts itself in a professional, non-partisan and autonomous manner in all electoral processes.
2. That ZEC and the government ensures that there is fair and equal access to public media by all competing political and civilian voices, while ensuring that media practitioners and journalists are allowed to operate freely as enshrined in Section 61 of our Constitution.
3. That ZEC through its designated committees, and other concerned authorities, must give unfettered access to local, regional and international observers without undue restrictions such as criminalization of domestic observers, or cherry picking of regional and international ones.
4. That ZEC, especially, timeously and transparently conducts the transmission and tallying of votes in the elections, and announces election results as stipulated in the amended Electoral Act and in our Constitution, within 5 days of the polls.
5. That free formation of voter preferences takes place without cohesion, manipulation or intimidation and the insulation of this choice through effective secrecy of the ballot.
6. That people’s voting choices must be counted and weighed equally in a transparent manner in which the will of the people is respected and irreversible.
7. That members of the security sector conduct themselves professionally and apolitically as stipulated in Section 208 of our Constitution, in order to encourage free and full participation by citizens in particular women, youths, people living with disabilities and other vulnerable groups.
8. That The Police and prosecuting authorities allow civil society organizations and citizens groups to carry out their lawful activities without harassment, raids, restrictions and unwarranted arrests spurred more by political calculations than the dictates of the rule of law.
9. That Electoral Stakeholders, including but not limited to, Political Parties, ZEC, Government Institutions, the Media and the Judiciary, facilitate in words and deeds the creation of a conducive environment for the holding of free and fair elections, in accordance withSADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections
10. That all contesting political parties and electoral stakeholders, should ensure that all eligible and willing citizens of the Republic of Zimbabwe, are allowed the opportunity to enjoy full and equal participation in the elections without undue restrictions, bottlenecks or discrimination.
11. That international actors and solidarity partners must desist from promoting a lower standard, which is outside the agreements of our regional blocs as expressed through the SADC Principles and GuidelinesGoverning Democratic Electionsand The African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance.
We unreservedly endorse these 11 points of principle as the guiding ethos of the Feya Feya campaign and as the yardstick against which we will measure the forthcoming elections.
We wholly accept the above positions wittingly and consciously; driven by a deep-rooted love and desire for peace, progress and prosperity.
We subscribe to the above positions fully aware that the Zimbabwean question has largely been political.
We are fully persuaded and convinced that dealing with it begins with a political solution, intricately intertwined with the conduct of a peaceful, free, fair and credible election.
We therefore commit to the above stated campaign whileremaining alive to the fact that elections are not synonymous with democratization; nonetheless we are convinced that a good election is a critical foundation for further building and strengthening our democracy.
We hold our conviction to be true that a feya feya election is the great Zimbabwean hope, which will help us overcome the legacy of a sham electionforced on us through successive elections since the year 2000 and fortified by the Presidential run-Off Election of June 27 2008.