Kubatana.net ~ an online community of Zimbabwean activists

Archive for October, 2008

Zimbabweans get up

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Tuesday, October 28th, 2008 by Amanda Atwood

As the SADC troika jetted into Harare yesterday to try (unsuccessfully) to make some headway in the stalled talks, a variety of different Zimbabwean civil society organisations gathered to protest the delays and demand a resolution of the country’s political crisis.

Read about some of these actions here:

Zimbabweans are speaking out. It’s time SADC also took a stand on these stalemated negotiations.

Justice is meant to be blind, not heartless

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Monday, October 27th, 2008 by Amanda Atwood

Tonight Jenni Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu will be spending their 12th night in jail since leading a 16 October WOZA protest to demand that government address Zimbabwe’s nation wide food shortages.

The two were denied bail by Magistrate Charity Maphosa at the Bulawayo Magistrate’s Court. I phoned the Court this afternoon, and spoke with Magistrate Maphosa. I was hoping to hear some quiver in her voice that revealed even a pinprick of remorse for the fact that, thanks to her decision, these two women are still in cells. But she was unflappable. She refused to explain her judgement — and referred me to the Clerk of the Court to read her decision in full. When I pressed her further, she suggested that I speak with “the people behind these things,” as she was “just doing her job. She hung up on me before I could ask who, or what, exactly, she meant.

Phone Magistrate Charity Maphosa on +263 9 71051 and see if you have any better success getting her to explain herself. If you do, let us know!

Time warp

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Monday, October 27th, 2008 by Susan Pietrzyk

I was catching up on some reading the other day, looking at a Guardian newspaper from August. At first I thought, what’s the point? This will be news I’ve already read in other places. To compensate, I started from the back with book reviews and culture-related articles since those are not so time sensitive. It didn’t take long for me to become engrossed.

As I worked toward the front of the newspaper, the old news ended up interesting. I got to an article titled Impasse for Zimbabwe. The article was full of words like negotiations, suspended, no closer to resolution, sticking points, concessions, refuses to cede, cling to power. I read the article twice. The analysis was excellent. Made me really think about the power-sharing deal signed on September 15. How it was all a big to do for nothing. That ZANU-PF never had one iota of intention to honor what they signed off on.

Wait a second. How is this journalist writing about the September 15 power-sharing deal in August? I must have read the date on the cover wrong, I thought. This must be a current Guardian I’m reading. I checked and double-checked. Stared at the cover, which said August 15-22, 2008. It must have been my peaceful, have faith nature that was tripping me up. I was really, genuinely, truly confused, felt like I was in some sort of time warp. As if the Guardian is actually a science fiction publication with writers who analyze the future before it’s the present. Maybe these futuristic journalists also drive cool bubble-shaped rocket cars. And have digital tape recording devices in their brains.

But no. Sadly, I was in a different kind of time warp. The continuous and painful repetition of denying Zimbabweans a democratically elected government. What was going down pre power-sharing deal is exactly the same as what’s going down post power-sharing deal. In fact, so entirely word-for-word the same, makes me wonder if there are journalists who just cut and paste their material.

Due date for payment

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Monday, October 27th, 2008 by Bev Clark

The postal service is pretty much kaput in Zimbabwe. Only very occasionally will I find something in my post box. Saturday was one of those days. I retrieved a City of Harare bill from the cobwebs.

The billing date: 31st August 2008
The due date for payment: 12th September 2008
Date received: 25th October 2008
Amount due: 28097538481133 (no spaces)


The bill cites services such as refuse removal – ha, ha, when last did that happen? Like a year ago.

Apparently we have a new Mayor.

Yahooooo. Anyone out there?

Too hard to count

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Monday, October 27th, 2008 by Amanda Atwood

Inflation is one of those things I just can’t keep track of any more. Steve Hanke at the Cato Institute reckoned it was around 52 trillion – but that was over 10 days ago. Last week our office got a shock when the Old Mutual Implied Rate went from around USD1 = ZWD 3 billion on Wednesday to 28 billion on Thursday 163 billion on Friday. Granted, as they say on their website, “The Old Mutual Implied Rate (OMIR) is a broad unofficial proxy for the value of the Zimbabwe Dollar to the US$ based on the relative values of shares on the London and Zimbabwe Stock Exchanges.” I don’t know anyone who’s actually doing transfers at that rate. So on Saturday, when a friend of mine asked me what the transfer rate to the US was, I could honestly say, “somewhere between 250 million and 163 billion.” But this short video – shown recently at the Zimbabwe International Film Festival – sums up inflation better than any figure I’ve seen so far.

A long silent scream

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Monday, October 27th, 2008 by Bev Clark

I met a woman recently who described the situation in Zimbabwe as “a long silent scream”. Zimbabwe is dying, and it’s dying silently. We need to derive confidence and courage from the WOZA women and their direct action in confronting the Mugabe regime on the crisis in Zimbabwe. More NGOs, more pressure groups, more people, more politicians need to get out of the queues, the boardrooms, offices and hotels: we need to take our outrage to the streets. Enough is enough.

An excerpt from The New York Poem by Sam Hamill reminds us that we can’t give up:

. . . a mute sadness settles in,
like dust, for the long, long haul. But if
I do not get up and sing,
if I do not get up and dance again,
the savages will win . . .