Kubatana.net ~ an online community of Zimbabwean activists

Archive for July, 2009

No reconciliation without peace

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Tuesday, July 28th, 2009 by Amanda Atwood

There has been a lot of talk about reconciliation in Zimbabwe recently. There are mutterings of a “truth and reconciliation” process in the works, and 24-26 July were named peace days this year. But the peace days have been dismissed as a choreographed initiative, particularly after 15 members of Restoration of Human Rights Zimbabwe were arrested for wearing black in protest. Human rights abuses continue at Chiadzwa diamond fields, MDC Members of Parliament continue to be arrested under spurious accusations, and political violence persists, particularly in the rural areas. In my view, none of these factors set the stage for a genuine process of national healing or reconciliation.

As one article put it recently: Reconciliation cannot be without acknowledgement and admission of guilt

Here are a few recent text messages from our subscribers around the reconciliation process:

No reconciliation without justice!

Reconciliation should wait till after the elections

Reconciliation is a logical process following an apology and admission of guilt from one party.

Reconciliation is an interesting subject. There are 2 people involved in this issue – the victim(s) and the perpetrator(s) of human rights abuse. Reconciliation can only come when the perpetrator admits they were wrong. The victim has to be convinced that the perpetrator is genuinely admitting to shortcomings, with no conditions. Only then is it possible to reconcile.

Hunter hunted

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Tuesday, July 28th, 2009 by Zanele Manhenga

My culture, and my religion have taught me to act in a certain way. Especially when it comes to “izinto zothando, nyaya dzerudo” (matters of the heart). Don’t you ever show him you like him just play easy? But don’t we also say what he don’t know wont hurt him? I say what he don’t know will leave me the laughing stock of my peers. Others are married and me still waiting for a miracle that someday he is going to say something. Ha! I have taken it upon myself to embark on the mission I call, hunter hunted. Instead of me sitting about waiting for some guy I think is cute and listening to my mum who has her husband, saying my child it is not the woman’s place to initiate courtship, I will just do what a girl has gotta do. It’s not everyday you meet an American guy who is a potential immigration ticket or the 99cent shop. Since he has left for the U.S.A what is the worst that could happen if I hinted that he left a spark in me. Besides what my mother don’t know will save me from a lecture. Like all internet exposed persons I am just going to take advantage of the many, many, many internet services that are going to make it possible for me to put phase one of the plan into motion. So I send a friendship request from Facebook and boom within minutes request confirmed! God bless the Facebook inventors. And what do you know; he still remembers me, and yes, we get talking. The rest is history.

Ziva kwawakabva, kwaunoenda husiku

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Tuesday, July 28th, 2009 by Upenyu Makoni-Muchemwa

I didn’t learn African history in school. What I know of my own history is what has been handed down from father to son (or in this case daughter) for generations. In Shona we say Ziva kwawakabva, kwaunoenda husiku (know where you came from, for where you go is dark). Very few of us know our histories before colonialism, and have a passing knowledge of the country’s history as a whole. What we do know is a history that is tainted, it is our story as seen by foreigners. It wasn’t that long ago that to be black was to be inferior, and we believed it. We didn’t know how to prove anything different.

The world has changed, but that lesson of a lack of history has become part of the very nature of being African. Africa as a continent looks Westwards and Eastwards and never to herself for solutions to her problems. Africans are supposedly the most educated and skilled immigrant group in America and Europe, yet Africa itself is the poorest and most under developed continent on the planet. How? Because even in education we teach ourselves the inferiority of our ideas. It is no wonder then that Africa’s collective present, and future, looks dark.

Super Cop ‘Silver’

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Monday, July 27th, 2009 by Natasha Msonza


Silver's on it

Silver's on it

This morning I had another encounter with Super Cop ‘Silver’ doing what he does best – this time at Avondale shopping centre in Harare. There I was among other peaceful mortals trying to do some banking when two gunshots went off outside the bank. Funny, instead of avoiding danger, people actually scrambled outside to see what was happening.

It was super-cop Silver making an arrest of apparently hardened criminals who had been illegally dealing in minerals at Wimpy (at least that’s how the story goes). In what was clearly a tip off, the suspects were caught mid-drumsticks and unaware.

In movie style: blue lights, police dogs and all, the notorious silver car was flanked by two brand new Isuzus to cordon off the vehicle belonging to the suspects. In his black leather jacket and shades, ‘Silver’ could be seen manhandling the suspects who were clearly not armed or resisting arrest. Meanwhile, plainclothes police stood around armed to the eyebrows with guns and baton sticks. Some could be seen shoving photojournalists away from the scene and I had a brief sense of déja vu of my days as a young journalist.

No one was wounded and it turned out the two gunshots had just been warning shots. Talk about making a mountain out of a molehill. If anything, these intelligence guys ought to charged under POSA and put behind bars for a day for causing alarm and despondency. I thought; this country would be a different place if they also moved with such great energy to arrest the very hardened criminals to whom they report.

Bloody show offs.


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Friday, July 24th, 2009 by Bev Clark


The two story multi-office block in Newlands Shopping Centre in Harare where we work isn't serviced by City of Harare refuse removal any more. Instead the litter piles up and finally gets burnt. The crows pick through what's left.

The two story multi-office block in Newlands Shopping Centre in Harare where we work isn't serviced by City of Harare refuse removal any more. Instead the litter piles up and finally gets burnt. The crows pick through what's left.

How many for a dollar?

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Thursday, July 23rd, 2009 by Bev Clark

There’s an email newsletter called The Harare Informant that occasionally does the rounds. I like it because its so down to earth and covers bread and butter issues. In the latest issue of The Harare Informant, Mufaro Zhou writes about how much we need change – coins that is! Of course many of us want positive political change as well; what a pity the GNU hasn’t provided it. But when you go shopping you’ll seldom be given change; instead you’re asked to accept a credit note for 12c or you’re forced to buy a bubble gum or something like that. Mufaro had this to say . . .

How many for a dollar?
The advent of the US dollar as the major trading currency in Harare has brought with it many opportunities and terms for people in business. The most common term I can think of is, “dollar for two.” Lately we have seen the rise of “dollar for many.” These terms have also driven some corporates to adopt them in their marketing. Yor Fone is currently advertising using the term “dollar for five.” Guess this means you get to make at most five short calls or simply a single five minute call for one dollar. Either way you look at it, you still have to part with a dollar and use their service for five minutes whether you like it or not. I bet you this is the only city in the world where you have to spend at least a dollar in anything you want to procure no matter how small. One only needs to start doing a research before fully determining the long list of all the products that are being sold in at least double the quantity for a dollar. With no solution in sight of determining the single currency to be officially used in Zimbabwe we the customers will still suffer from parting with at least a dollar (8 Rands) all the time we spend money. It is therefore imperative for the country to seek authorization to officially use the US dollar for the benefit of its citizens. That way we can have access to coins (US cents) making life easier and relatively cheaper for the common man. Why not even go the Mozambique way of officially trading in 3 currencies concurrently. At least life in Bulawayo is better because of their use of the Rand. I don’t know where people get all those Rand coins from leading to commodities being priced from 1 Rand (12 cents) making life improved for residents in Bulawayo. At least with such a pricing system you are not forced to buy something in abundance simply because the smallest denomination in use forces you to. If you are to buy anything abundantly in Bulawayo it will be out of choice, if forced by the smallest denomination then at least it’s only for a Rand.