Kubatana.net ~ an online community of Zimbabwean activists

Archive for November, 2008


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Monday, November 24th, 2008 by Bev Reeler

What outrage?
as you watch your much loved children starving
as your family is beaten and killed

What outrage?
as there is no seed for this years planting in Zimbabwe
as the schools are closed because the teachers are not being paid
or there is no phone
or electricity
or water

Along side this barrage of abuse
this abandonment of lives
this huge dying
there is a place on the other side of outrage
where we search for ways to keep our lives and our spirits intact

the welcome first rains feel like the unshed tears
held back for so long

Last week, Tendai wept in the circle
telling of her abduction and gang rape by 15 men
kept for 2 weeks
now with STD and HIV her life has changed forever

we sat whilst she cried

but at the closing circle she sang
and drummed and danced
and sang and sang . . .

On the other side of outrage
where we begin to consider what really matters
and look at other ways of survival
there are ripples of love and forgiveness and sharing
that emerge uncalled for

what space is this?
where the resilience of spirit
can still be sung?

speaking in many tongues
beyond outrage about who owns our words
we sing of a spirit that is still ours

A death warrant to all Zimbabweans

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Monday, November 24th, 2008 by Fungisai Sithole

A death warrant has been issued with immediate effect to all Zimbabweans following the closure of major government hospitals and clinics countrywide.

The Parirenyatwa and Harare Hospitals are just a few of many hospitals that have been closed for public treatment and consultations. The hospitals have been closed because of the unavailability of drugs, health personnel, water and electricity. Hospitals are now just dilapidated buildings whose state is symbolic of the crisis bedeviling the health sector. The hospitals are death waiting rooms where only those on the verge of dying are admitted hence the hospital authorities claim that only emergency cases are attended to. Recently, my friend lost a brother in law, a cholera case, who could not be attended to as he was deemed “not to be an emergency case.” As long as one goes to the hospital with a semblance of life, that person is deemed fit and therefore does not qualify to be an emergency case. One can only get admitted when through the naked eye he or she is clearly on their death bed and all they do at the hospital is to speed up your death as they have totally nothing to resuscitate life – from equipment to staff.

What the hospital authorities and the government of Zimbabwe need to know is that Zimbabweans are all emergency cases. No one can really be sane and healthy living in such miserable and unsafe conditions. The environment just makes one sick. People have no access to water, electricity, food, education and even their own cash in the banks. People now sleep in bank queues all for 500 000 dollars which is enough to buy a bunch of green vegetables. One wonders how Zimbabweans really survive and how such people can be normal and healthy when they are subjected to such injustices and disregard by the government that claims to be for them.

Pick up trucks

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Friday, November 21st, 2008 by Susan Pietrzyk

In the US of A where I hail from, seeing a pick up truck on the road generates several stereotypical thoughts about the people in the truck.  Likely they’re from a small town, perhaps farmers.  Or they might be contractors or construction workers, and sometimes they’re put in the category of beer drinking rednecks.  If a woman is driving and she’s not the truck owner’s wife, then there’s a good chance she’s a lesbian.  People are quick to put the stereotypes aside when moving residences because in that situation anyone with a pick up truck is your new best friend.

In Zimbabwe, or rather I should say in the urban hub Harare, pick up trucks are more common than any urban hub in the US.  Of late, I’ve been looking carefully at the people in pick up trucks in Harare.  And in nearly all cases, the sights pain me.  The intersection of Sam Nujoma and Herbert Chitepo is full of pick up trucks with people spilling out of the back side.  The passengers have sad faces. Likely the professionally dressed men and women are thinking:  What happened?  I used to drive my own car to/from work.  Now everyday I stand with 1000s of other people at this intersection and hope a kind pick up truck driver will stop right at the spot I’m standing so that I can beat the crowd and jump in.  If the driver stops 10 meters either side of where I’m standing I will miss my chance; therefore, I will curse that truck and pray to God the next driver receives my telepathic message to stop in my spot.

Most NGOs, UN agencies, etc. have the grand daddy of all pick up trucks.  The vehicles are big, bold and a truck, jeep, 4X4 statement of patronage and wealth all rolled into one.  I can’t see the faces of the passengers because the windows are usually tinted.  These trucks never stop for passengers.  And they always have the 4X4 features fully operating because Harare is full of bush and dirt roads.  I guess that’s why the drivers travel with machetes to clear a path if need be.  Yes.  It makes sense to spend the extra money on the additional fuel needed to operate these gas guzzlers.  Logical so that it’s easier to navigate the rugged terrain of Harare’s roads and robots during the daily routine of being driven from one meeting to another.

There are plenty of pick up trucks packed to the gills with people of all ages singing and cheering.  These are the shiny new silver trucks.  Inscribed on both doors in big black letters is ZANU PF.  Other words appear, but no need to read because the six letters are enough to understand. The drivers swerve a lot, make sharp turns, and ignore the robots as they gallivant around town spreading their message of 100% empowerment.  They zip around so quickly it’s hard to get a good look at the people making all the noise.  Often the rhetoricians are standing in the back of the cab.  Sometimes, given the reckless driving, the cheerleaders verge on falling out.  I suspect a good many of these brainwashed souls would like to fall out.

But where would they fall?

Our silent screams

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Friday, November 21st, 2008 by Natasha Msonza

Day full of drama at the shopping centre today after a group of soldiers were beaten and chased away from Intermarket bank by the military police earlier on. The selfish sods get their salaries all at once in hard cash back at their barracks, and they still want to jump the queues.

Then there was an accident on Enterprise road outside our office. An elderly woman was bumped by a blue Mercedes Benz whilst trying to cross the ever busy road. The loud screech of braking tyres and a thud drew people from their offices. The police were there in a blitz because Morris Depot is just round the corner. You’d think that with so many sophisticated looking people plus the Merc owner and the police gathered around, something would be done for the poor woman expeditiously. Although she showed no visible signs of hurt, she was clearly in shock and kept rubbing the side of her belly. She must have been hurt internally and from what I understand most accident victims die from the shock than the wounds.

The two policeman on the scene promptly got to work, one taking down a statement from the Merc owner, the other vacillating between alerting and diverting traffic and making some markings around the Merc. He had no chalk and ended up using pieces of red brick to do the job. Clearly no easy task.

Meanwhile the elderly woman sat quietly, only her eyes betrayed the pain she felt. If I didn’t know better I’d say she felt more uncomfortable from all the attention than from the pain she felt. More onlookers gathered around her, someone asked the others if she was all right, what happened and was the Merc driver speeding? Why did the foolish woman not cross the road at the traffic lights? She ought to thank her lucky stars a Merc hit her. There was an unspoken consensus that the woman was to blame. Accusatory eyes pierced at her all round.

There was also a mysterious lack of a sense of emergency; nobody bothered to ask why the woman wasn’t being rushed to hospital and when I did, I got the kind of astonished, irritated stares only a loud fart would elicit. There was lots of silence, eyes shifted momentarily to the Merc owner, and then everyone refocused their attention on the poor woman. Time was being wasted on trivialities; the one policeman continued with his show of taking a long statement while the Merc owner fidgeted with his cell phone. Dark sweat rings grew under his armpits. The people made him nervous so did the police. This was an emergency and all he needed to do was get the woman into his car and drive to the nearest hospital. But no, protocol and bureaucracy required that statements be taken, marks be established around the vehicle and papers be signed before any help could be afforded the ailing woman. Whoever said there is no rush in Africa has never been more precise.

This is exactly how it feels to be Zimbabwean of late. Africans stood by and waited for the ‘authorities’ to deliberate over the impasse in Zimbabwe. A lot of statements were issued while the rest of the world gawked as Zimbabwe burned. Did they perceive Zimbabwe was all right because she remained quiet? They assumed everything would be sorted in talks because the revered SADC was there. Whenever Khama or the late Mwanawasa – bless his soul – pointed out the emergency of the situation, they were hushed by silent stares. It was almost as if they were disturbing the silence in a movie theatre populated by voyeurs.

Shall it not baffle our children when they reflect on history, that SADC was there, so were the UN and the AU but Zimbabwe died while they all watched?

Ready and waiting

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Tuesday, November 11th, 2008 by Bev Clark

Jumped into my car today and went off to do two chores in town. Pretty much all the traffic lights weren’t working. There’s litter everywhere. The Sunshine City is decidedly grimey. I saw a large pod of riot police sauntering down Julius Nyerere Way and my heart skipped a beat. Maybe WOZA were around the corner. You can’t keep good women down. A couple of street kids were scooping water from a pipe on Samora Machel Avenue. I’ve never seen the city center so full of people. The banks are being besieged by people trying to get their hands on THEIR cash. Tsvangirai and the Movement for Democratic Change don’t need to bus anyone into Harare for the mother of all protests. They’re there already. It’s leadership that’s missing.

Big UP you gels!

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Tuesday, November 11th, 2008 by Bev Clark

As many of you know, Kubatana uses a variety of communication tactics to reach out to inform and inspire Zimbabweans. We have a great web site (a self pom pom if ever there was one), weekly email newsletters, SMS alerts and notifications, postcards, Freedom Fone, and printed materials like (gasp) the occasional newspaper.

We also have a little black board outside our office door and the Kubatana team, and sometimes complete strangers, pick up the chalk and express themselves with a cheeky slogan.

Recently we asked Zimbabweans to text us their solidarity messages for the two Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) leaders, Jenni Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu, who were detained by the Mugabe regime. Get your head around being detained for demanding an end to hunger – I’m still trying.

Below I share some of the messages that came rolling on in.

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We salute u gels big up.

Hope the women of iron are fit and strong. Thank u for yo bravery and courage.

We appriciate your courageous campaign, we pray that you do not tire until we are free. We are in this together.

Woza new zimbabwe new president and new generation for young people with fresh minds.

Makorokoto madzimai kunyange zvichirwadza kurema kana kuoma!Rambai makashinga!We are ralling behind you in every endevours, tinokudai makadaro.

Zim is for us all. It’s not for 1 man or a clique. Aluta continua. The end’s nigh.

woza`..yu have bn dnied justc by mugabe, justic delayed is justc denied dont loose hpe keep on fighting 2show mugab that we ar fed up wit him ..u ar heroes 4real u are freedom fighters for the day fighting against a gurilla liberator who turned oppressor..zanu must go .

Welcme bek brave woman of zimbabwe!we r with u in yo suffering!victory iz certain and nt vry far.we luv u!

Al things cme 2 an end and I hope that the election of obama wil force a rethink in zanu pf because their world continues 2 shrink day by day.

You are admired beyond words . So brave.

WOZA proud of u.grateful 4 yo rls.were on knees 4 u daily.can’t lv wthout pple lyk u. kp standing 4 yo ground.