Kubatana.net ~ an online community of Zimbabwean activists

Archive for February, 2010

Land rights for women

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Monday, February 22nd, 2010 by Moreblessing Mbire

Rural women in Zimbabwe contribute immensely to the economic development of the country through agrarian development both at subsistence and commercial levels.  Women make up the largest proportion of farm laborers and their role in utilizing land through crop production, livestock care for the sustenance of families can not be undervalued.

The recently held National Constitutional Conference on Women’s Access and Control of Land and other Natural resources was a crucial event as the majority of rural women in Zimbabwe (86%) depend on land for their livelihoods. Women from different parts of the country converged in Harare to review the current status and challenges faced by women in land ownership, access and control in Zimbabwe. The Conference agreed that Section 23 of the current Constitution needs to be repealed as it permits discriminatory customary laws that limit women’s ownership, access to and control of land.  It was also agreed that The Rural Land Act and the Agricultural Land Settlement Act must be amended to provide clear, non-discriminatory criteria for the allocation of resettlement land.

It is disappointing to note that women continue to have limited access to and control over land, a key productive resource for women’s empowerment. Despite their contribution to food security for the nation, women own fewer productive assets than their male counterparts.  As noted by the Ministry of Lands and Rural Resettlement during the conference, the majority of women with access to land do so through marriage. In communal areas, women do not own land in their own right but through their husbands. As a result of this limited ownership of land, women derive fewer benefits from proceeds of their labor and have no decision-making power in the household. In most instances, cheques for farm produce sales that are in the name of male landholders have been spent without the spouse’s involvement.

Patriarchy plays a huge role in undermining women’s rights to land and other natural resources. Men dominate land redistribution structures like land commission and committees and tend to allocate land to fellow men during land distribution exercises. There is need to revisit the key procedures in land allocation to ensure non discrimination of women.

If Zimbabwe is to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), in particular, Goal 1, to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, women’s rights to land should be prioritized. As an agro based economy, there is need to ensure equity between women and men in the allocation of productive resources. Government’s commitment should go beyond simply putting policies but monitoring how women’s ownership and control of land and other natural resources is taking place on the ground.

Witchcraft and the Zimbabwean constitution

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Monday, February 22nd, 2010 by Dydimus Zengenene

The law is silent about witchcraft yet people believe that it exists and is affecting them on a daily basis. In Zimbabwe for example, more than ninety percent of the people believe that their lives are in one way or the other being tampered with through witchcraft. However once one claims to have been bewitched by someone the present law punishes the victim and does not bother to establish fact from the allegations. This points to a view that there is no such thing as witchcraft. Surprisingly people are losing their wealth, beasts, goats and cash through community cleansing activities, like trough the Tsikamutandas, other traditional healers and prophets.

Now that the country is running towards a democratically made constitution, what will people say with regard to witchcraft? Will the law still be made to remain silent about this issue? If not, who will be empowered to physically preside over such offenses created in the spiritual realms and be assured to live there after?

The problem is how to prove the allegations of witchcraft beyond reasonable doubt. Whereas a postmortem can prove a case of murder, no technology can prove witchcraft activities. Even if three n’angas are consulted, they never agree among themselves. Some think that the n’angas are to blame for all the cases around witchcraft as they are the suppliers of the magical tricks. Should the law ban the n’angas then? To what extent have the n’angas contributed to moulding the present day Zimbabwean culture?

Some feel that it is high time the constitution of the country does something about witchcraft because of all the stories around like people seen with goblins, naked and performing unfamiliar rituals and some killing each other on allegations of bewitching one other.  Some feel that witchcraft is of the spiritual world, and no earthly law can stop or regulate it unless spiritual means are employed. This gives rise to the question of how the so called n’angas and prophets who see beyond the naked eye are important in the present day society.  What about the role of the church?

Will all people join the debate?

Happy Birthday Mr President

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Monday, February 22nd, 2010 by Amanda Atwood

As Robert Mugabe celebrated his 86th birthday yesterday, we sent our SMS subscribers this text message:

Kubatana! What gift do you think Mugabe should give Zimbabwe on his birthday? SMS back or email info@kubatana.net Replies will be put on www.kubatana.net

We received over 200 replies, with the vast majority of responses saying that the best gift Mugabe could give the country is his resignation.  We share the responses here:

  • Voluntary resignation.
  • No gift at all except talking about GPA and economic hardships.
  • Freedom to choose on these issues: Gono, Tomana, Bennett and children’s right to education.
  • Mugabe should simply abdicate, resign and relinquish from power as a gift to Zimbabwe. Yes political power is sweeter than just power. Taneta naye isu.
  • Announcing a principled successor
  • Statement of resignation.
  • A RESIGNATION would be the most invaluable gift the man can ever give Zimbabweans.
  • The announcement of his retirement from politics with effect from 28 February 2010.
  • A resignation.
  • Mugabe should simply resign because at 86 he has even lost memory. That’s the best present he could give Zimbabwean people.
  • Retirement. The best gift Sekuru can give Zimbabwe is retirement.
  • I don’t think Mugabe has anything to give Zimbabwe on his birthday other than stepping down to pave the way for new and capable blood.
  • His death will be a proper one.
  • Give other players in the political front a chance.
  • Mugabe must just resign from politics.
  • He must step down, that’s a very special gift to Zimbabweans.
  • His retirement.
  • Pay civil servants what they deserve.
  • Maybe he may resign because he is now too old to rule the country.
  • Resign.
  • He should hand back sovereignty and rule of law.
  • The best gift Mugabe should give Zimbaweans is by showing them his back for the sake of progress.
  • He should resign.
  • To save his face, Mugabe must pronounce his resignation to the people of Zimbabwe as a gift of his birthday!
  • Retirement and respect children’s rights to quality education, health, etc.
  • New set of balls.
  • He should step down for the good of the nation.
  • Resignation letter.
  • Poverty, hunger and more suffering. Or a knobkerrie to finish off Zimbabwe. This is only what Mugabe can give to Zimbabweans on his birthday.
  • He needs to give us an encouraging message about AIDS.
  • Announce his retirement from politics so the country can move forward. They have played their part already.
  • Unite and be proud of our own country.
  • Exit.
  • Stepping down from the presidency
  • An apology for his violent rule
  • He must quit politics.
  • He wont give anything
  • The only gift mugabe can give is retirement.
  • Retire
  • Mugabe shld giv the pple of Zim their sovereignty that was taken away on the ballot.
  • Freedom and true empowerment
  • his retirement
  • Democracy, independence and respect.
  • His resignation
  • He should give independence as a gift to zim.
  • He should retire from politics for zvimba gwereza
  • Owning up that he has destroyed Zimbabwe through his leadership! He must resign! That would be a great gift to the nation!
  • He shld resign and retire. thts a gift 4 the whole country
  • What d w expect  other an’ misery@perhps poverty again
  • Money for Drought relief and freedom.
  • There’s no gift bigger than resigning to the able boded.
  • To give power to Hon MORGEN RICHARD STVANGIRAI as a gift.
  • Retirement
  • The gift of retirement!
  • His resignation!
  • resignation
  • He must give us a chance to write a free constitution without his party’s interference.
  • Retirement
  • Retirement
  • Should tell us when he is going to retire we are sick and tired of waiting for this great day on earth
  • He should graciously step down.
  • Only to retire
  • He must give back the presidential powers to the president of Zimbabwe Hon. SAVE MORGEN TSVANGIRAI as a gift us people of Zim.
  • To retire
  • The only gift that we can openly accept is resigning
  • I thing he is going to give maize seed.
  • He should give zimbabwe his resignation
  • Cde Mugabe  must  give  enough  salaries  and  allowances  to  all  state  workers   thanking  God   for  long  life  he  lived
  • Retirement will b the best gift! There is nothing sick lyk overstaying ur welcome.
  • He shud retìre
  • A resignation surprise
  • Freedom
  • To retire and concentrate on farms Dairy farming (Gushungo dairy)
  • His resignation could be a fitting gift for a start
  • Announce retirement date
  • He should resign from politics.
  • A realistic understanding of the plight of the majority
  • Bob shld tender his resignation to Zim as a present.
  • He must just understand his people and also end the ongoing talks by surrendering his powers
  • To increase civil servants salarys up to 500us per mth as a minmum
  • Retirement
  • He should give a gift of step down
  • his resignation
  • He must give power 2 Tsvangirai and è rest of zimbabweans.we need è same thing as wat mandela did 2 SA.thanx 4 gvng me é opportunity.
  • An artwork of a Zim like cake wth dilapidated infrastructure,  emaciated people,  decapitated & tortured limbless masses; wth Mugabe wishing many more years.
  • Mugabe must retire and hang himself as a gift 2 zim on his birthday.
  • The BEST gift Mugabe should give ZIM is to surrender this country to the peoples choice ‘chingwa chevana.’ Enough is enough.
  • Mugabe should give back democracy as a present to the pple of Zimbabwe.
  • He must give the nation a retirement package ez early ez sunday morning.
  • Retirement & take the advisory position to the Presidium.
  • Resignation from power & politics or an apology on the oppression from his brutal rule.
  • Conclusion of all outstanding GPA Issues
  • Love every Zimbabwean and not members of party only
  • Best present mugabe can give zimbabwe is his resignation
  • Retirement
  • His resignation would be a good start for a present
  • The best gift for Mugabe to give Zimbabweans and be respected is to quit his position and let Zimbos decide the next leader Mkanya
  • Retire because of old age.
  • To resign and go to gushungo estates
  • Mugabe holds hunger n deaths in his handz.He shld take opportunity to thank morgan who rescued him frm being killed by his own thugs. Power hungry mgabe shld now go n rest to his rural zvimba home.
  • His resignation!
  • Peace, rule of law and a resignation letter
  • Exit package
  • Apologise 4 misgovernance start 2 democratise n step down
  • Mr Mugabe should give Morgan Tsvangirai the presidential sit of our beloved country
  • Give the people of Zimbabwe the Zimbabwe & the civil service what they are worth decent working & living condition & a salary stop looting our resources
  • balooning civil service w gabage most important retire 2dy.
  • Give zim to president tsvangirai  and free benet .
  • He must resign & give chance 2 others.what wil surprise he is going 2 crictise, speaking nonsence abt targeted sanctions& blame MDC_T. 4 Resign totenda dzamwa dzaswera nebenzi .happy birthday 2 him may god gives him many more years akazorora AMEN
  • Political retirement for Zimbabweans to be able to progress
  • The greatest gift he can give is telling pple when is he retiring
  • he shld give the country back to zimbabweans
  • step down and free zimbabwe
  • He should quit and rest because he is old.
  • Mugabe should resign 2 save Zim.
  • The best gift Mugabe has to give is a resignation message to the people of Zim
  • his slow painful and humiliating death
  • State house. We nèd 2 put our president there
  • To give  civil servants money and resign
  • Nothing but only his bone mealp
  • gift of peace, unity, anti-corruption & freedom of expression to fellow zimbabweans.
  • He should anounce his emideate resignation not only from presidency but from politics
  • Gve more money to civil servants
  • His appearance at the ICC.
  • Leave office and concentrate on prayer for  NATIONAL RESTORATION  if he  HEARTILY  loves  us.
  • Right to choose without intimidation
  • Nothing (gift) he can give Zimbabwe
  • His life bcz we dn’t wnt 2celebrate it again
  • Nothing touchable but his good 4 nothing lies
  • Zim-dollar, loadshedding,  gala & high rates on electricty, water bills. Also return P.O.S.A.
  • Mugabe must step down, never to be seen again near ZIMS political circles thats wat we want
  • Mugabe should allow handover takeover with Morgan.
  • He should honour the agreements of the G P A
  • The best gift is to resign or give us a nearby date for his resignation.
  • The only gift which he has and wil always promise zimbabwe is non other than abject poverty.
  • Let Mugabe give Zim the vital gift
  • Personally, id like to wish our president a happy birthday and the best gift he could give our beloved Zimbabwe is Freedom!
  • His retirement before the next election.
  • His retirement wld be the best
  • A BREAK.
  • His resignation!!!.
  • The best gift would be him announcing his retirement wth immediate effect!
  • Resign as Zimbabwe’s President.
  • Limiting our years.Coz we are starving & he is enjoyin @ é expense of us.
  • Resignation
  • He should resign from politics.
  • Life. Our people need to be people. We need to be able to be proud again. But we need life to enable us to live. We need to have hope.
  • Retiring from politics and gvt.
  • The most precious gift that Mugabe shld to Zimbabwe on his birthday is to step down.
  • He should fulfill the GPA
  • He must resign
  • He should retire from being the country’s president Great king Elie
  • Commitment to fulfil the GPA in full so as to bring true democracy in Zimb. If should announce his retirement from active politics.
  • Resignation
  • He greatest gift he can give Zimbabwe is of stepping down as President of this country
  • stepping down as president
  • mugabe must resign i think its a very good present
  • Genuine love
  • Stepping down is the only gift mugabe should give zimbabwe on his birthday
  • Our rights
  • Mr Mugabe should resign on his birthday as our gift as ZIMBABWEANS.
  • Democracy and respect is all we want.No one is bigger than Zim, Mugabe included
  • He should leave office chete as a gift to the country.
  • the grtest gift he can 2 zim is 2 surender his office key 2 MDC-T.
  • Nothing.
  • Retirement and permanent exile abroad and maybe buy himself a grave in malasia or china
  • He give the speech only.
  • A resignation
  • The biggest gift is resignation from presidency. Zim will celebrate with him
  • Announce his immediate retirement
  • Mugabe should resign on his birthday, and let M.D.C.T.rule.
  • $100 to each citizen
  • Retirement letter
  • New busses
  • Retirement. Please pass on the baton. This is a relay.
  • To give isu mapenjeniya mari
  • To step down and watch from the terraces.
  • To resign.
  • Fulfillment.
  • Resigning!
  • Freedom
  • Fulfill all GPA outstanding issues.
  • To retire
  • Give back all he has looted and stashed away including farms etc – that includes his cronies as well and PLEASE GO!
  • The gift of his retirement.
  • I think a casket would do as a 86th birthday present. In African society buying someone a casket (bhokisi) as Shonas would call it – show great love. Last respects are very important in any society. In any case he has killed many people, and it is his time.
  • He should resign
  • Nothing new, maybe retirement
  • He must retire forthwith and go KwaZvimba to enjoy his booty from 30 years of pillaging the Zim economy. There he’ll inevitably hear the calling to join his ancestors
  • He should retire
  • Retirement letter
  • Bobo must tell people of Zim about his exit plans he can’t tell us to obey to our parents whilst he is the problem, he too has failed to listen to our plight to leave the country.
  • The best gift he can give Zimbabweans is to retire from being President and spend time at Gushungo Farm
  • Should go and rest kwaZvimba till death do us part
  • The old man should just retire and give others a chance

Zimbabwe is for Zimbabweans!

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Friday, February 19th, 2010 by Upenyu Makoni-Muchemwa

Isn’t that what the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Regulations are supposed to do? Give back the means of production the dispossessed and economically disempowered to its rightful owners? So why does this Act sound like a fraud? In a recent article Dr Alex Magaisa points out the fallacies of this Bill.

Much like the Land Redistribution Programme which after ten years of inane political rhetoric and ‘bumper’ harvests that left supermarket shelves empty, I predict this bill will fall into that pile of so-so ideas that are poorly executed. Or rather bad ideas that only benefit the politically powerful/able/active. While this Bill follows after the fashion of the Foreign Equity policies used in Asia; it falls short of the checks and balances used to encourage foreign investment while at the same time following their principle of indigenisation. This Bill is nothing more than a myopic ‘Look East’ policy. It will not change the lot of the ordinary man on the street. As it is, all three parties constituting the Government of National Unity have failed to correctly administer the resources that we do have. We even have Ministers who are not ashamed enough to at least loot those resources in secret.

Moreover, why plunder the few companies remaining that are gingerly limping towards recovery? Why not ease the current draconian legislation? and, in the event that our Legislature is feeling particularly energetic, why not create laws that encourage innovation and the creation of new businesses and industries in Zimbabwe if for no other reason than to have a bigger pool of companies to steal from…I mean regulate. I’m no economist but it seems to me that if there are more businesses to tax, there will be more revenue collected by Zimra. Then our politicians can make their money the old fashioned way, by looting Government coffers.

Government of national unity looks terminally disunited

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Friday, February 19th, 2010 by Bev Clark

From The Economist:

A the relative optimism of last year, the situation in Zimbabwe is deteriorating badly. South African-mediated talks between ZANU-PF, the party of President Robert Mugabe, and the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), led by the prime minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, which are aimed at shoring up their shaky power-sharing pact, have broken down, maybe irretrievably. This leaves the one-year-old “government of national unity” as good as dead. Schools, hospitals, courts and other state services have been brought to a halt by striking civil servants. Meanwhile, all new investment projects have been put on hold following the promulgation of “indigenisation” rules obliging companies worth more than $500,000 to cede a 51% stake to black Zimbabweans—or face up to five years in jail.

Harare, the capital, is abuzz with talk of a snap general election, possibly as early as April. Jacob Zuma, South Africa’s president, is understood to have convinced Mr Tsvangirai to abandon all his demands in his negotiations with Mr Mugabe save those essential for ensuring a fair democratic poll. With ZANU-PF blocking every MDC attempt at reform, Mr Zuma appears to agree that the unity government has become a sham. He is determined that no trouble on South Africa’s northern border should upset his country’s hosting of the football World Cup in June and July.

Some argue that the unity government has made a bit of progress over the past year. They point to the huge improvement in the economic situation, with a 4.7% expansion of GDP last year, the first growth in a decade, as well as the reopening of schools and hospitals. Although all this is true, it has more to do with the replacement of Zimbabwe’s worthless currency by the dollar, which happened before the unity government was set up, than anything the government itself has done.

Apart from the economy, the situation on the ground has barely changed at all, with Mr Mugabe holding on to the reins of real power. White-owned farms continue to be invaded. Human-rights and MDC activists are still being beaten up and arrested. MDC provincial governors have still not been allowed to take up their posts. Mr Mugabe continues to control the security forces. The affable Mr Tsvangirai has borne all the sleights and humiliations with astonishing calm. But even he appears to have run out of patience. The only way forward, he now says, is to agree on a “road map” to a fresh election.

If genuinely free, the MDC would be sure to win this hands down. Polls suggest that support for ZANU-PF, in power for the past 30 years, has shrunk to less than 20%. But there are fears that, without the planned new democratic constitution or independent electoral commission in place, there would be a return to the violence that marked the latest elections—unless the Southern African Development Community, a fairly spineless 15-member regional group, is prepared to take tough measures. Those should include, some argue, sending in troops if necessary.

Promiscuous sexual activities, homosexuals, drug addicts

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Friday, February 19th, 2010 by Bev Clark

Last night I watched an interview with Sir Ian McKellen, the celebrated British actor, on Hard Talk, one of the BBC’s most popular programmes. Ian said that he only “came out” when he was 49 because there was so much violence and bigotry surrounding the issue of homosexuality. His advice to young gay people is to come out as soon as possible because being open and honest about who you are will, more often than not, enhance your life.

I was curious about the amount of time the interviewer spent on Ian’s sexuality rather than other aspects of life, like his career, his beliefs and his general experience of the world. Gay people are so much more than their sexual orientation. Why is it that gay people are peppered with questions about their sexual orientation when heterosexuals are not? When did you ever see Meryl Streep being questioned about what made her straight or how being straight impacts on her life?

Just today I got an unsolicited email from an organisation in Zimbabwe selling a product. Their product is a “a publication containing behaviour statistics of a teenage behaviour survey conducted in 2009 in all major towns of Zimbabwe”. The survey was compiled based on ten questions. One of the questions reads as follows:

10.   Are there any promiscuous sexual activities, homosexuals, drug addicts amongst the Zimbabwean youths?

I just wrote to the authors of the report saying that I’m a lesbian and that I find it unacceptable that they lump homosexuality with promiscuous sexual activities and drug addiction. Of course I should clarify that I see nothing wrong with safe promiscuous activity and safe drug use. But the agenda behind their inclusion of homosexuality along with addiction and promiscuity, is sinister in my view. Perhaps I’m wrong but I sense a witch hunt of young gay people with a view to fixing them or punishing them.

Yes, some Zimbabwean youth are gay – I was young once! It’s about time that people realised that the expression of sexuality is not confined to heterosexuality. We have an organisation called Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (GALZ) in Zimbabwe that has a broad and diverse membership of gays and lesbians.

Our communities should be embracing diversity and making it safe for young people to express their true selves.

If you have the time and energy to question the motivation behind surveying homosexual activity please write to them at info@thebehaviourreport.com