Kubatana.net ~ an online community of Zimbabwean activists

Archive for July, 2008

Keep your coins Gono, we want change

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Thursday, July 31st, 2008 by Bev Clark

Wellington Chibebe, the secretary general of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has just issued a statement on Gono’s recent monetary policy announcement. Chibebe rightly calls Gono’s efforts a damp squib. He also calls on workers in Zimbabwe to exercise their “right to be heard”. I’d be quite interested to know the ways in which Chibebe expects them to do this seeing as workers legs are so busy being exercised walking to work that there’s not much energy left over for anything else.

Chris McGreal writing for The Guardian describes how Zimbabweans have become involuntary members of “walking clubs”.

“We are lucky to have jobs but the bus fare in one day is more than I earn in a week. So we walk,” Grace Sibanda says. “We walk together because it’s not safe. They wait in the bushes by the road and attack you if you are alone. They don’t want money. We don’t have any. They want my food.”

We all know that the new daily cash allowance of Z$2 trillion won’t keep up with Zimbabwe’s run-away inflation. Sure we might have a few days relief but pretty soon it will be back to square one especially when Gono continues to blame the complete decimation of our economy on “illegal sanctions”.

You can read the full text of the monetary policy statement on Kubatana. Flip an old coin and bet whether Gono’s zeroes come knocking on his window again . . . heads they do, tails they do.

Water is a right, not a privilege

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Thursday, July 31st, 2008 by Dennis Nyandoro

Most parts of Mabvuku and Tafara have had no water for the past couple of months, and with some of the new stands it’s almost a year or two now.

The residents are deeply concerned by the persistence of the water crisis in these suburbs despite the countless assurances by the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) that they will improve their service delivery. The residents of Mabvuku and Tafara are worried that the absence of running water is a health time bomb. There is always such a stench coming from the toilets and burst sewer pipes. The persistence of the water crisis simply means the constant exposure of the residents to a health disaster.

At first people used to walk a long distance to fetch clean water for cooking and drinking. Then a couple of weeks ago, I heard somebody offered to have some hand pump boreholes sunk in these two suburbs, none of them is working after only being used for almost a week.

Apart from that, it now appears almost every household in these two suburbs have dug their own wells at their own premises to save time and shorten the distance they would have traveled to look for clean water from relatives and friends living in Zimre Park and Greendale or from unprotected sources, a situation which threatens their dear lives.

The residents are worried and angry to see dry taps and burst sewer pipes everyday. I would like to remind ZINWA that it is not a privilege for residents to get clean water, but rather it is a right.

Zimbabwe’s negotiations are a joke

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Wednesday, July 30th, 2008 by Amanda Atwood


Find more PolitiComix on Zimbabwe here

Legitimising the stealing of an election

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Friday, July 25th, 2008 by Bev Clark

Put a stressful week behind you by having an omelet and a beer in a gorgeous garden cafe. That’s my approach at least. Speaking of beer, I’ve just read this little bit from a Financial Mail article (Negotiating from a kneeling position) which can’t really bear thinking about really, but I guess we should make the effort:

But these talks have already made things much worse. For their actual meaning is not about reconciliation or negotiation; it is about legitimising the stealing of an election. And that election was followed by state-sponsored violence that forced the winners of the election to negotiate – from a position of extreme weakness – with the losers. Something of the kind has already happened in Kenya. With these continental precedents, there may in the future be a temptation to allow something of the kind to happen here in SA. After all, if the supporters of Jacob Zuma can say without repudiation that they are prepared to kill – sorry, eliminate – those who stand in his way, the refusal to accept the outcome of an election should be small beer indeed.

Elections, and outcomes

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Friday, July 25th, 2008 by Bev Clark

Itai Zimunya, one of Zimbabwe’s civic freedom fighters, seems to agree with Natasha Msonza on the issue of a Government of National Unity (GNU). Indeed, it would seem that the majority of Zimbabweans might support talks between the MDC and Zanu PF, but they reject any suggestion of a GNU.

A text message sent to the Zimbabwe Independent newspaper sums it up . . . the next time we have elections in Zimbabwe, there should be a box with GNU next to it on the ballot paper, if that’s what the outcome of an election ends up being.

Here is some of Itai’s thinking:

Even though dialogue was widely seen as the best way forward to resolve the crisis in Zimbabwe, its form and nature are equally important as to influence the outcome. There is a growing error by some of our fellows that are celebrating the MoU of July 21 2008 for promising, peace, food etc. That may be right but very much a contested point. Peace and food and security are the business of governments, and that’s what Zanu PF had to do anyway. The danger of setting such a precedent will surely weaken the position of citizens in their relations with the state. It would mean that next time, someone can lose or see the iminent threat of losing an election. And they become violent and deny people food such that, these will only come or be guaranteed when they begin talks of a GNU. This model and line of thinking spells doom for Africa. It was Kibaki and now Mugabe – and the AU, in all cases, is supporting this.

A view from the trenches

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Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008 by Bev Clark

Here are some good observations from Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) taken from their recent press statement on the current negotiations between Zanu PF and the MDC.

We are an organisation owned by its 60,000 members who hold qualifications in daily survival and degrees in nonviolence despite the deeply polarised political environment in Zimbabwe since 2000. WOZA was born in the community and seeks to draw the attention of preoccupied politicians to people’s needs, namely bread and butter issues; or as WOZA likes to put it, bread and roses issues – bread representing food and roses representing the need for lasting dignity.

At the moment, the highway that is Zimbabwe has two ‘vehicles’ going in opposite directions, Zanu PF, the so-called ‘liberation war’ party and the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). These parties speed along preoccupied with their own importance, hardly ever taking the off-ramp to consult with the suffering masses.

Zimbabweans have lost faith in politicians’ ability to return life to the living. We do not think power sharing or a government of national unity (GNU) can work in Zimbabwe. We need an independent and impartial transitional authority under African leadership. African leaders should not dictate that a GNU be the only solution to our crisis.

Read the full statement here