Tuesday, 6 September 2016


HUMAN rights activist and constitutional lawyer Brian Kagoro has called on communities to develop their own citizen manifestos which capture their aspirations rather than wait for politicians to decide their fate.

Kagoro made the comments in an interview with Voice of America’s Violet Gonda last week.

“So my sense is, my advice is that let’s have a citizens manifesto. We don’t need political parties to facilitate a citizens manifesto. I’ve been saying for the last three years, I’ve been saying to everybody I meet, have them from the district to the constituency to the provincial level so that each district, and constituency and province has a citizens manifesto,” Kagoro said.

“In this constituency, in this province, in this district, this is what we, the citizens, want. And any political party that comes must negotiate with the citizens around their manifesto,” he said.

The human rights activist further argued that political discussions at the moment in Zimbabwe should go beyond the “Mugabe must go” mantra as citizens should debate alternative policies.

“I think for once, beyond being clear about why (President Robert) Mugabe must go, we need to be clear about what our future must look like. It has been an ongoing conversation, but one that needs some greater detail and certainty now. I don’t think we’ll have the luxury the day after we put in another leader to start talking about our common future,” he argued.

Kagoro also noted that failure to have clarity on positions had inadvertently created dictators among the opposition parties.

“We have already seen semblances of dictatorial tendencies within these leaders’ own political parties,” he noted.

Kagoro also expressed scepticism over the feasibility of a grand coalition involving opposition parties, arguing most of them had nothing in common.

“At the moment, the articulation of what the developmental, or rather, what the economic alternative is, seems to me to be grossly dilated, if not diluted. I have keenly tried to read the substantive relevance or similarities of each opposition economic blueprint and how it compares to the other and the obtaining situation on the ground,” he said.

“There is no consensus on economic matters; there is no consensus on the electoral either amongst the motley of opposition political parties. We have to make sure that the minimum programme of action does not represent a false alliance and false hope.”


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