ZAMBIA SOLIDARITY INITIATIVE SYMPOSIUM ON ZIMBABWE CRISIS
By Gershom Kabaso Jr., National Coordinator ZAMSOF – Secretariat
“Demand For socio-economic and political transformation”
Held On November 25, 2016 at NGOCC, Lusaka.
National Coordinator, Zambia Social Forum –ZAMSOF
Plot No, 4225, Chilenje, Along Chilumbulu Road
(Premises Zambia Library For Visually Impaired)
Cell: +260977467286 / +260 950 72 11 22
Zambia Social Forum ZAMSOF organized Zimbabwe Solidarity Initiative Symposium on
Zimbabwe’s crisis on socio-economic and political transformation under the banner of the
Zimbabwe Solidarity Forum ZSF.
The symposium was held on Friday November 25, 2016 at NGOCC’s Conference Room. Over 49
comrades from various thematic areas including health, Governance, independent electoral
expert, Education, Disability, Women movements, Youth, Students, Unions, media, Artists and
citizens from Zimbabwe attended the solidarity meeting.
2.0 THE PURPOSE AND EXPECTED OUTCOMES OF THE SYMPOSUIM
The purpose of the symposium was to show a strong solidarity to Zimbabwe and to raise
awareness in light of the collapsing governance, political, social delivery of essential services,
undemocratic landscapes coupled with the deteriorating fundamental freedoms and rights of
expression and assembly of the citizens.
The meeting was also aimed at enhancing a culture of building a regional people –to- people
solidarity within Southern Africa and beyond.
The key expected outcomes were to create a demand from Zambians to contribute to political
and governance transformation in Zimbabwe and popularized African People’s Declaration on
Zimbabwe Crisis that was generated from Zimbabwe Solidarity Summit held in September 14,
2016 in South Africa.
Media present at the symposium disseminated the African People’s Declaration using various
media institutions and new media platforms such as WhatsApp’s, Facebook and twitter. Which
was an achievement in this regard.
3.0 HIGHLIGTHS OF THE PRESENTATIONS & PROCESS OF THE SYMPOSUIM
The Symposium started with a word of prayer which was followed by ZAMSOF National
Coordinator’s explanation on the purpose of the symposium and expected outcomes as
Comrade Wilfred Miga, a Zimbabwean citizen, gave a solidarity touching poem entitled
“TARIRO”, which means “Hope” in one of Zimbabwe’s local languages whose message was to
instill hope that one day, the people of Zimbabwe, will have all the freedoms to express
themselves, hold meetings, demonstrations and hold free and fair elections.
Artist Martin Jah Luther and the Band gave their poetical dramatic song that emphatically
carried and projected solidarity messages depicting the oppressed youth and women voices in
Other thematic presentations from various presenters in different areas of concern also echoed
solidarity messages with calls for actions on Zimbabwe crisis and beyond by the authorities
inside and outside Zimbabwe.
Electoral Expert, Comrade MacDonald Chipenzi, shared his understanding of electoral
governance around Africa and the world. He described electoral governance especially in Africa
to be under tense threats from leaders who have insatiable appetite to stay on through the
manipulation of the respective legal frameworks and citizens’ failure to stop this manipulation.
He argued that Zimbabwe, though having one of the highest literate population in Africa, at the
rate of slightly over 91%, her population seems to have not applied its conscious arising from an
educated population to solve issues affecting them in all facets of life and the country.
Mr. Chipenzi noted that, electorally, despite the country holding regular elections and people
have been voting, complaints about the outcome of the elections birthing a president not in their
preference have always emerged.
He stressed that post-election period had been always characterized with complaints of electoral
rigging. A million dollar questions is, “if votes are stolen, where are the guards in the name of
civil society or observers and election monitors?”
Mr. Chipenzi argued further that in Africa, especially in southern African countries, which have
had the history of being ruled under one party state before and having adopted the colonial
masters’ electoral systems, most of its leaders seem to be averse to tenets of democracy and
continued to use inappropriate electoral systems and delay constitutional and electoral reforms
to perpetuate their hold to power.
He explained that Zimbabwe’s constitution remains partially implemented ahead of the 2018
General Elections. Mr. Chipenzi stressed that Zimbabwe’s political, democratic, economic and
electoral transformation and solutions lie in the hands of Zimbabwean citizens and that the
external solidarity support only and always compliments local initiatives and enthusiasm.
Comrade stated that life
of people living with HIV/AIDS had been detrimentally affected during the times of collapsed
governance systems in social delivery of essential services such as ARVs, viral load machines and
the PREP prevention campaign for people who were not yet HIV positive. On other hand, Mr.
Mwanza noted that with the crisis going on in Zimbabwe, it was hard for such medical services
to be available and accessed by the beneficiaries. He said it was an obvious case that a number of
Zimbabweans living with HIV/AIDS did not have access to ARVs and proper HIV and AIDS
treatment services in the face of economic meltdown.
The issue of persons with disabilities was also discussed and noted that they did not enjoy
disability rights in situations like what was obtaining in Zimbabwe. This is coupled with terrible
governance records in key sectors of the political, economic and democratic governance.
It was noted that poor men and women with disabilities were always the hardest hit in such
situation. Examples of areas where persons with disability have been affected include enjoyment
of their rights to do business as a cross border traders due to customs tax they are subjected to
both as traders and guides.
Comrade Keshi Chisambi appealed to people with disabilities in Zimbabwe to not succumb to
discrimination based on their social status arguing that the Bible does not allow discrimination
of any sort. Despite their state, persons with disabilities can contribute positively to national
affairs. For instance, Mr. Chisambi observed that blind people and people with disabilities in
general must be valued and not to be victims of sexual abuse nor discrimination in governance
On youths and employment, the meeting noted that it had been a traditional norm not only in
Zimbabwe but other African countries to not prioritise such issues. This was worse in countries
like Zimbabwe where young people’s freedom of expression has been curtailed and therefore
have no say or right to exercise their democratic rights in order to access employment
opportunities and effectively participate in political and governance realms of their countries.
It was observed that the trend had led to many youths leaving the country in search of
employment opportunities in other countries while others have opted to seek political asylum.
From the aforementioned situation, youths in Zimbabwe were challenged to be more proactive
in matters affecting their nation since they were still vibrant with energies and fresh ideas to
drive their country forward.
Therefore, thematic areas of concerns pledged to form consortia type of solidarity across sectors
in solidarity with their Zimbabwean counterparts. The meeting suggested the holding of
separate meetings in order to devise a roadmap on sector collaborations.
Young Reporter Steward Luunga from Media Network on Child Rights and Development
(MNCRD), expressed concerns on children involvement during decision making in the country.
He appealed that children too should be considered and involved in solidarity activities on
Zimbabwe crisis. Further to this, Luunga will lead other junior reporters to offer solidarity
support to Zimbabwean children on their crisis using social media.
4.0 FIRST POEM ENTITLED TARIRO “HOPE” BY WILFRED MIGA
“Good day to you all comrades and friends. I will start by giving you a quote from Ghandhi who
said: “ I understand democracy as something that gives the weak the same chance
as the strong”
“I know and I have hope that NO ONE CAN EMANCIPATE US BUT OURSELVES .I have
hope that one day will come and we shall have a democratic country in Zimbabwe. That time
is near. However, if we are to be free, we need to sacrifice and hope that we shall be free.
That day is coming that we shall be able to protest to air our grievances without fear. It is
true that one day we shall have freedom to associate and demonstrate for what we see as
right and we shall no longer be oppressed.
I have hope comrades that one day we shall have a government that listens to its people and
a police and defence force that protects its own people and provides that security they need. I
have hope that, that day is coming.
I have hope that Zimbabwe will raise its flag as one unit, all ethnicity and hate will be a thing
of the past.
I have hope that we shall have a youthful leader who will come from the middle class to
provide leadership to the people of Zimbabwe.
I have hope that one day we shall have our own currency, queues will be a thing of the past
and all in the Diasporas will long to go back to the Land of milk and honey. I do have a hope.
Comrades, let us begin to prepare ourselves for the hope that we have and I know that we
shall one day be there.
Comrades, Let me take this opportunity to thank our friends in the struggle who have been
with us in spirit and physically. I have hope Tariro (Hope) that we shall be free one day”.
5.0 SECOND SOLIDARITY POEM BY FRANCIS ANAMELA MATAKALA
“There are many lessons which we can learn from our past. These lessons can be a source of
hope and strength to day even in the midst of our current African struggles. Our past teaches us
that when we are united in purpose, fighting for a noble cause to eliminate all forms of
oppression and injustices we shall always overcome.
The will of the people always prevails, it does not matter how long it takes, but time always
comes. A good example is the political independence that we gained from foreign rule .Our
forefathers were united and determined to achieve self-rule.
The challenges and hardships they faced made them stronger and united. This great
determination led to the whole continent gaining political independence. Another example we
can draw lessons from is from our brothers and sisters in South Africa who fought the ugly
existence of Apartheid.
These examples should give each and every one of us courage to stand united and fight all forms
of injustices in our respective countries. As citizens of Africa separated only by our boarders we
should all stand together to liberate Africa.
Currently there are a number of decisions made by our leaders in our various African countries
that have resulted in a collapse of the economy, high inflation, massive economic crisis and
violations of human rights.
When one African country is passing through massive economic and social challenges all African
countries are affected. We are only separated by our boarders but we are one people.
We will always support and encourage our Zimbabwean brothers and sisters not to give up hope.
When fighting for our political independence our forefathers used to say “and the fight still
goes on”. We encourage our brothers and sisters in Zimbabwe to use all the legal and morally
right channels available to bring about the much needed Socio-economic and political
Transformation in Zimbabwe”.
“ We are with you all the way, together we shall transform our African
6.0 KEY OUTCOMES AND RECOMMENDATIONS:
1. Mainstreaming Zambian solidarity initiative Campaign on Zimbabwe socio-economic
and political transformation in churches, schools and Civil Society Organizations
anchored by Zambia Social Forum (ZAMSOF).
2. For effectiveness, it was agreed that CSOs target masses that can offer solidarity to
spread the news on the Zimbabwe crisis by use of Social Media Campaign e.g. # Tags,
Face book, WhatsApp’s were the posts can be seen worldwide and this can be
commenced by coming up with a # tag e.g. “Zambia Solidarity Initiative Campaign on
Zimbabwe Crisis” ZAMSOF as an administrator.
3. Media was challenged to take Zimbabwean crisis seriously and report without fear nor
4. Continue Lobbying the Zambian Government to appeal to its Zimbabwean counterpart
to respects the rights of its citizen living in Zambia use platforms like
OAU,SADC,COMESA,UN Summits to air their grievances;
5. Organize a significant satellite mass solidarity March to all Zimbabwean embassies
within Southern Africa at once.
6. Artists and poetical composing songs, poems in line with Zimbabwe Crisis on various
issues as discussed above for example Health ,disability, Youths …
7. It suggested that the solidarity campaign to be scheduled for any of the recognized
international commemoration days to come in December that includes international
human rights day, World Aids day, World Disability day, Youth days and Women so on..
thus to build a culture of people to people solidarity on Zimbabwe escalating crisis
8. Strategizing and negotiating with Zimbabwe Residents Association leaving in Zambia
actively taking part in local initiatives with respect, security and safety assured to them.
9. There is need to strengthen institutions and Communities in order to bring leaders to
justice, for suffering they have subjected their people to…
The escalating Zimbabwe socio-economic and political crises is a concern of everyone though
true radical solutions and transformation lie in hands of Zimbabweans themselves. However,
during the symposium, it was emphasized that Zambians should do all they can, with their
passions, energy and imagination, to help their friends in Zimbabwe as tomorrow is
unpredictable. ZAMSOF collectively, will be making some follow ups on government promises
and all civil societies were challenged to act and voice OUT on the Zimbabwean crisis. Aluta
Gershom Kabaso Jr., National Coordinator ZAMSOF – Secretariat
ZNFB Building (ZANABURA Offices) PLOT NO 4225, Chilumbulu Road
Chilenje, Lusaka, Zambia Cell: +260 977 46 72 86 Cell: +260 950 72 11 22
Email: email@example.com Skype: gershom.kabaso3
Facebook: Gershom Kabaso