Kubatana.net ~ an online community of Zimbabwean activists

Archive for November, 2009

Zimbabwe needs some straight talkers

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Monday, November 30th, 2009 by Bev Clark

In Zimbabwe we have too few straight talkers and far too many appeasers. I went to a rhino benefit on Friday night. It was a really well supported fabulous event. But at no time did any of the presenters  or organisers directly address the reasons for rhino poaching in Zimbabwe, and who is behind it. Poachers are armed and they find international markets for the rhino horn. The rhino don’t just drop down dead – they are killed. Like the ones slaughtered at Imire Ranch in November 2007.

It’s time we stopped beating around the bush and come out, name names and shame the people enriching themselves at the expense of our country.

One of Zimbabwe’s straight talkers is Tsitsi Dangarembga. We featured her recently on Kubatana.net and I read an interesting article on The Zimbo Jam in which Tsitsi spoke out about the unacceptable levels of violence against women in this country. Check out what she had to say here.

No freedom to criticise the GNU in Zimbabwe

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Monday, November 30th, 2009 by Mgcini Nyoni

Poetic Journey is the story of Zimbabwe told through poetry and mbira music. A young man refuses to celebrate the GNU because he can’t afford electricity, water and a host of other necessities. He realises that whilst he lives in poverty; the leadership is living in the lap of luxury.

The play was scheduled to premiere on the 25th of November and run from 26-27 November @ Amakhosi Theatre Upstairs.

The premier went very well on the 25th, with the audience interacting with the writer/director  and the cast after the show.

Trouble began after the performance on the 26th. After the show we walked into town; two members of the cast and I. We went our separate ways when we got into town. I decided to go into one of the smaller supermarkets along Leopold Takawira Avenue. As I was standing by the fridges, a guy in his late thirties approached me and asked a seemingly innocent question about the price of yoghurt in US dollars.

After buying what I wanted I walked to 6th Avenue to look for transport. The guy I had met in the supermakert was there and I immediately bacame suspicious and got into the nearest combi. He got in as well and sat next to me.

Speaking in shona,  he said, “you getting too clever”, and he left.

The next morning I received a lot phone calls from people who were saying they had been “advised” not to attend my show.

On the 27th I met the cast for our final show at Amakhosi. Two guys showed up around 6.30 pm. They pulled me asside and said my show wasn’t in the spirit of the GNU and I needed to stop the nonsense or else. They refused to identify themselves, but I recognised one as a police officer based at Queenspark.

I wanted the show to go on since it had not been officially BANNED but the cast members except one, were too scared to perform.

We had to turn people away and close the show.

Haiku with one extra Syllable

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Saturday, November 28th, 2009 by John Eppel

All stories are true
Even those that didn’t happen
Once upon a time.


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Friday, November 27th, 2009 by Bev Clark

cairo airport.
she looks like mary stuart masterson
all blonde and manic eyed.
orders red wine. asks if the prices are US$
fingers flicking together.
the waiter engages my Lover and i in small talk.
“i don’t believe you, Zimbabwe!
there are only black people there.
if there are more women like you in your country i will come.”
the margaritas are bad. the conversation is interesting
only because time needs to be killed.
i’ve found a barman in Cairo who has
worked in the Ministry of Sound,
in London.
there’s a 5 hour wait until flight MS 839 is called.
in between
there are glasses of white wine
four lamb chops, a cappuccino and a chocolate pastry
because i like his smile.

MDC and Zanu PF are time wasters

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Friday, November 27th, 2009 by Bev Clark

Increasingly what you find on the streets of villages, towns and cities in Zimbabwe is irritation with the Government of National Unity. Yes we might have stocked shops. Yes the useless Zimbabwean dollar has gone. Yes schools have re-opened albeit in a stop/start fashion.

But the real issues – the issues that will turn Zimbabwe into a democracy continue to go unaddressed by both the MDC and Zanu PF. The MDC don’t have any real power to make fundamental changes in Zimbabwe and Zanu PF have no intention of coming good.

All they can do is talk, and talk and talk. And that’s why people are getting irritated.

I was pleased to see Gerry Jackson of SW Radio Africa take our politicians to task for focusing on the non-essentials like pirate radio stations. As she says, get real guys! And stop wasting time.

But then again talking isn’t hard work and it always comes with a swanky lunch and some fine wine.

Here’s Gerry . . .

A news report on Thursday quoted Welshman Ncube saying that the talks which began on Monday focused on “western sanctions against Zimbabwe, pirate radio stations and government appointments including those of the attorney general and reserve bank governor”. While another report said ZANU PF wants ‘the MDC to rein in its supporters in western capitals running “pirate” radio stations’.

Guys – please – get a grip. We’re not controlled, owned or are even members of the MDC. They can do nothing to have us closed down. Our broadcasts on shortwave and via the internet are completely legal and we want nothing more than a free, peaceful, democratic Zimbabwe. And yes we do believe that Zimbabweans have an absolute right to the information that has been denied them for so many years.

Perhaps I can remind you of the fact that in 2000 I challenged the government’s broadcasting monopoly in the Supreme Court and won the right to set up the first independent radio station, on the basis that freedom of expression was enshrined in Zimbabwe’s constitution. But Robert Mugabe used his presidential powers to have the station shut down after just 6 days, ignoring his country’s own constitution and courts of law.

Get rid of the appalling broadcasting regulations which were introduced in response to this court ruling. Allow myriad broadcasters to apply for a license, register as many as you can. Those that are any good will survive, the bad ones will go the way of all bad media. Get some decent newspapers on the streets, allow as many community radio stations as you can cram onto a waveband.

If you want to get rid of radio stations broadcasting into Zimbabwe – free the media. Really free it. It really is that simple. Discussion over, now will you PLEASE start talking about the real issues. You have a population that’s desperate, investors ready to throw money at Zimbabwe the minute there is a guaranteed return to the rule of law, respect for property rights, an end to the political intimidation and the massive human rights abuses – and Gono and Tomana really do have to go.

Let’s say it loud

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Friday, November 27th, 2009 by Bev Clark

I was driving past Oriel Girls School in Harare today. There’s a trench being dug outside the school and along the length of Harare Drive. Girls were arriving at school under the predatory gaze of groups of male trench diggers.

This is a common sight in Harare – the tongue hanging out, insult calling Zimbabwean male that women have to avoid or suffer on a daily basis.

In her blog called Women of the world unite! Sokari Ekine comments on the variety of abuse that women endure on the streets and in their homes. Let’s hope that the men of the world will also unite to put paid to gender based violence.