The Human Rights Forum welcomes and is fully committed to any process that is founded on principles of democracy. Such a process cannot be achieved without the full participation of the Zimbabwean people. The Forum reiterates its concerns over the SADC mediation process and its outcome, Constitutional Amendment Number 18.
A people-driven constitutional process, work towards transitional justice, the holding of free and fair elections under international supervision, and the implementation of the recommendations from international human rights bodies are some of the steps needed to restore Zimbabwe to a state of good governance. The Forum is however concerned that the SADC initiated mediation process does not conform to these principles and the minimum pre requisites of participation, transparency and accountability. The mediation process is neither transparent nor participatory, the parties have been sworn to secrecy, and there is no accountability to the citizens of Zimbabwe. The pillars of democracy can not rest on the shoulders of four men whatever their credentials maybe.
The Forum acknowledges that there are steps in Constitutional Amendment Number 18 towards a “semblance” of democracy. The Forum however cannot support such an amendment as it does not result in a people driven constitution. Such a sectorial approach to constitutional reform does not level the ground to facilitate for democratic processes in Zimbabwe. Further given the social, economic and political climate currently prevalent, it is doubtful that democratic elections can be held in Zimbabwe.
The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum calls on all stakeholders involved in the mediation process to return to a participatory, transparent and accountable process that enjoins the hope and aspirations of all Zimbabweans.
Harare 25 September 2007