Kubatana.net ~ an online community of Zimbabwean activists

Archive for July, 2010


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Friday, July 30th, 2010 by Bev Clark

Poem by Shailja Patel, Kenya/USA. Performed at the AWID forum by Shailja Patel.


There are too many battles
and too many wounds
and I
I can’t take it
I don’t want to know

that Inez Garcia was sentenced
to life imprisonment
for killing the man
who held her down
while two other men raped her

I want to cover my ears and scream
to block out the voices that chant

that Piah Njoki had her eyes
gouged out by her husband
because she did not bear him
a son

I want to be free of the murder
that pounds in my brain

because six hundred women a year
in Delhi alone
are doused in paraffin and burned
burned to death for the crime
of too small a dowry

I want to pretend it won’t happen to me

did you know that a student
at Sussex university
was raped on her
first night in residence
by a man who just walked
just walked
into her room

I am not a part of this bleeding
this scream
I don’t want to challenge argue fight
construct confront negotiate
beg for change

do you hear me

I want to retreat
to a room filled with humans
shut out the night
the fear and pain
hear myself stop
screaming inside
unravel my breathing ask

in a very

dare I
claim the right
to a voice
that does not


so it wasn’t until I learned to fight
I could be sexy

the swing of my hip developed
in pace with my elbow strike
I grew out my hair
as my flesh grew harder
began to wear lipstick
bare my shoulders
as I learned to judge
how fast to strike

and where

It wasn’t until
I could walk down a street
knowing I could turn rage into action
that I could strut
down the same street

say with my stride
yes I think I look good too
yes I revel in my body
yes I love the sun on my skin
this body is mine
the better I learn to defend it
the better I flaunt it
from sheer joy


for the truth of experience
Is in the body
when I am a fighter
my body is weapon
when I am a lover
my body is food

now my body
is paintbrush
truth illusion
sing through my limbs
like the shock
of cold water

breathe me clear
breathe me free
breathe me home

Read more at www.shailja.com Shailja Patel’s book, Migritude, comes out from Kaya Press in September 2010


Constitutional outreach

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Wednesday, July 28th, 2010 by Bev Clark

The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition have been holding constitutional community meetings around Zimbabwe. Their latest meeting in Hwedza saw participants raise the following issues:

1. Right to education: citizens must be able to hold government to account in terms of delivering quality and affordable education.
2. What is a young person-? The recommended age is between15-35 years although there was a discussion on raising this age to 18-35 years.
3. There should be equal opportunities for male and female youths.
4. The terms of presidency should be limited to two.
5. Number of  parliamentarians should be limited.
6. The government should ensure that perpetrators of violence are brought to book.
7. Are there any guarantees that the people’s views will be respected?


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Wednesday, July 28th, 2010 by Bev Clark

The MDC needs to grow some balls

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Wednesday, July 28th, 2010 by Bev Clark

The Information & Publicity Department of the Union for Sustainable Democracy (USD) suggests in a recent press statement that the Mbare Chimurenga Choir must be banned. Or alternatively that the MDC should “grow some balls” and stop Zanu PF jingles from being played on Zimbabwean radio. Hmmm. But radio is state-controlled even though the Generally Pathetic Agreement (GPA) was signed a long time ago.

It also occurs to me that Zimbabweans in general need to grow some tits and balls because it appears that a good many of us continue to pay licence fees, and thus help fund Mugabe’s media.

Here’s the full statement from USD:

Mbare Chimurenga Choir song must be banned

The Union for Sustainable Democracy calls on the Unity Government to prohibit the blatantly partisan music of the Mbare Chimurenga Choir from being aired on state radio and television. Without any doubt, the song Nyatsoteerera is intentionally provocative. Playing it on ZBC stations goes against the object, spirit and purpose of the Global Political Agreement that promotes bi-partisanship over partisanship.

In our country’s current sensitive and fractious circumstances, it boggles the mind how a party to the inclusive government can arrogantly seek to promote and perpetuate disunity and do so with such breathtaking impunity disguised as giving effect to the legacy of our liberation struggle. Even worse, how could such a song ever be regarded as an ‘expression of nationhood’? It is clinical madness!

It is calculated to provoke and belittle well-meaning individuals such as Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai while scandalously and desperately trying to give life to a dead and now decomposing party. Such behaviour cannot be defended and must simply be stopped in the national interest.

There is ample evidence that ZANU PF entered the Government of National Unity only to retain a hold on power and never out of a genuine desire to work collaboratively in the national interest after decades of mismanagement.

Whereas the Unity Government has afforded Tsvangirai’s MDC some opportunities to mend things for the benefit of the country, the advent of the Unity Government has provided Mugabe’s ZANU PF with much needed time and resources to regroup and, having secured themselves in a somewhat politically acceptable position, they are now gradually dispensing with the services of the MDC and, in typical ZANU PF fashion, they are doing so with breathtaking arrogance.

The MDC must accept its share of the blame for this resurgence of ZANU PF. Since joining the Unity Government they have adopted a largely impotent stance that has made it easy for Mugabe and ZANU PF to disregard any idea of a real partnership.

It seems that many in the MDC have become compromised and have, regrettably, taken their eyes off the ball in large part because they have tasted the privileges of government office. Zimbabwe needs committed, pragmatic parliamentarians who will concern themselves more with getting the job done than with just being in politics for its own sake.

Because the Mbare Chimurenga Choir’s commercial, jingle, song – whatever label one chooses to attach to their composition – continually regurgitates the divisive and patently false mantra that President Mugabe and his two deputies, John Nkomo and Joyce Mujuru, are the ones running the country and that the MDC are nothing more than junior partners, it must forthwith and in the national interest be prohibited from airing on our public broadcaster ZTV as well as on our public radio stations.

In the meantime, the MDC needs to grow some balls.

A nudge is better than nothing

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Wednesday, July 28th, 2010 by Bev Clark

Words are sacred. If you get the right ones in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.
- British playwright Tom Stoppard

Postponement of a problem should not be confused with its resolution

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Tuesday, July 27th, 2010 by Amanda Atwood

The Zimbabwe Liberation Veterans Forum recently shared with us their passionate letter to the GPA principals.  It reads, in part:

The current approach by the inclusive government is like getting to a point only a kilometre away by setting off in the opposite direction in the belief that since the world is round, we will get there anywhere, whenever; but at what cost in terms of resources, time and human suffering?

To us, the inclusive government should have been strictly a transitional arrangement, a means to a definite end i.e. the establishment of a legitimate government based on consent. That route can only be paved by addressing the attendant challenges to a credible electoral process and the acceptance of its outcome as inviolate popular will. We contend that this approach will lead, not only to the sustainable resolution of the political impasse but to the amelioration of the economic, social and humanitarian havoc as well and bring about lasting stability that is conducive to social prosperity and development. Taking the constitutional route as at present, only serves to accentuate political tension, destabilise the body politic and polarise the country before the shock absorbers of a stable and legitimate government are in place. In any case, given the best will, the outcome of the constitution debate would be another example of exclusionary elite pacting through bipartisan compromise; a far cry from a people driven product that should guide Zimbabwe for generations to come.

To this end, we hold that the road map to free, fair, transparent and popular elections should focus on addressing the glaring impediments to credible elections as the uttermost priority. We therefore call on the parties to the GPA to shift and realign their focus to this political imperative.

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