Members of Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) will in the next week launch an escalated phase of their free primary school education campaigning.
Members resolved to launch the campaign with a peaceful march. During the march, members will call on citizens to boycott paying school fees or levies. The government of Zimbabwe continues to show no goodwill to transition the nation into a full state funded basic education system. Additionally the state continues to neglect education budgets in favour of defence budgets as if it is at war with its own citizens. WOZA believe that Government and Cabinet continue to allow political power to supercede good democratic governance, and sound economic management systems and as such the ruling political elite must be held accountable by denying revenue. How many children could have been educated by the billions looted without any action.
Just this year alone the state will have received over a 100 million united states dollars in education related revenue but despite this they continue to undervalue education and the need to provide a decent regular wage for teachers.
WOZA members have studied state obligations and international instruments which clearly show that Zimbabwe cares less and less every year for the next generation to have an opportunity to learn.
a) The right to education enjoys protection in international law. Section 26 (1) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) provides that, ‘Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory…’
b) The International Covenant on Social, Economic and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), in Article 13(2) (a) and (b), obliges states parties to make primary education compulsory and free, whereas secondary education “shall be made generally available and accessible”. Signing this covenant in 119 Zimbabwe had till 1993 to deliver this right intact for children but instead of progressively fulfilling this obligation the state is retrogressing.
c) The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) provides for the right to education in Article 28. Article 28 (1) (a) places an obligation upon States parties to make primary education compulsory and free, whereas article 28(1) (b) requires states to make secondary education available and accessible to the child.
d) Article 17 (1) of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights stipulates that every individual shall have the right to education.
e) Zimbabwe has canvassed these international law principles through domestication which means bring these international laws into local laws. The Zimbabwean Constitution provides for the right to education in Section 27 which states that ‘the State shall take all practical measures to promote free and compulsory basic education for children…’ Further in the declaration of rights, Section 75 entitles ‘every citizen and permanent resident of Zimbabwe to a basic State- funded education…’ The Education Act in Section 4 demands that ‘every child in Zimbabwe shall have the right to school education’.
WOZA members believe the time has come to withhold revenue in the form of school fees and levies until the state truthfully and earnestly engages citizens on a plan of action to transition or fulfill its obligation on state funded basic education.
WOZA members will not only stage a peaceful march but have formulated a multi pronged strategy including an array of non violent direct action activities. This will bring the demand to all level of policy makers. WOZA have also secured legal partnership to draft a new Education Act. As the campaign is ongoing members will exposes violations of the right to education and document these so as to report Zimbabwe to the United Nations.
WOZA call on all citizens to participate in this way to hold the Government accountable and force them to the negotiating table with citizens. Enough is Enough!