Zimbabwe joins citizens of the world in commemorating Valentine’s Day, a day to give each other a red rose that represents LOVE. Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) members, the majority of them are women and some brave men are still drawing attention to the need for LOVE in Zimbabwe.
The love WOZA members wants is LOVE that brings dignity.
Dignity will help us rebuild our lives and our country.
Dignity also comes from Zimbabweans being able to exercise and enjoy all their rights including the right to earn a living.
This year our theme is – Demanding Dignity – Demanding Women’s Empowerment!
These are the roses we want from our Government!
Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) members have been conducting Valentine’s Day marches since 2003 demanding LOVE from their Government and asking Zimbabweans to chose LOVE over hate. After 13 years of Valentine’s Day marches, we still need and want the same things.
While we recognise progress it is only words and no deeds to match these high and mighty words.
1. The election promise was one million jobs but lip service was not followed up by the promised jobs. Members continued to try to survive by informal trading.
2. Members thought the ZimAsset would bring jobs, but the document once again lifted our expectations only to crash them down. The very people who wrote the document are ignoring it and enriching themselves.
3. The Constitution has a good complement of the issues we wanted, including the right to earn a living and the right to protest but we are tired of hearing that they are still aligning the laws. Stop making excuses and let us enjoy our Constitution.
4. Even the latest monetary policy is full of promises for empowerment, will these promises be delivered?
WOZA has been busy conducting civic education programmes for members to ready themselves for socio-economic empowerment – we are marching now to say we are ready to receive rapid empowerment.
We have read the Constitution of the Republic of Zimbabwe ‘Chapter 2-National objectives’, sections 13 on National development , 14 on Empowerment and employment and section 15 on Food security and Chapter 4 section 51 – right to human dignity’. We understand that the word ‘Republic’ means –
A political system in which the supreme power lies in a body of citizens who can elect people to represent them.
We – the supreme citizens – elected representatives who immediately forgot about us. They squabble amongst themselves occasionally sending nonsensical directives like introducing prepaid water meters and removal of vendors from the streets. Chombo where is the directive to create jobs? Instead you order the City council to chase vendors off the streets. Mr Chombo enough is enough with your nonsense please reread the national objectives and put Zimbabweans – women – first.
Whilst members wait for the promised jobs, they survive on informal trade which is their source of livelihood and disregarding this survival strategy will increase poverty. Members stated that through vending they are able to feed their families, educate their children, clothe them and pay rent for a decent standard of living. The solutions are clear and known – but lack implementation – the root cause of prolific informal trading is lack of employment. Directives issued that only address the effects – informal traders everywhere – will not fix the problem.
As the supreme citizens, we demand our elected leaders convene an urgent country wide consultation to map a collective way forward on how to create one million jobs and revamp the economy putting women and youth at the centre of the economic empowerment action plan.