Kubatana.net ~ an online community of Zimbabwean activists

Archive for August, 2010

Complaining works! Get your ZIFF programme here

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Thursday, August 26th, 2010 by Amanda Atwood

Yesterday, I debated whether or not to blog my phone call with the Zimbabwe International Film Festival (ZIFF). On the one hand, it felt rude and insensitive and reactive. On the other hand, I was reminded of one of Bev’s favourite Michelangelo quotation, which often inspires our work: Criticise through creating. That is, the notion that it is through speaking up, not keeping quiet, that we inspire change or improvement.

Having just received the programme via email, with a request to put it up on the Kubatana website, I’m pleased I spoke up. It might have been more frustrated than constructive, but at least we know have the programme to share.

Download the Zimbabwe International Film Festival (ZIFF) 2010 programme here and make sure you take in some quality international films throughout the coming week.

Borrowdale settlement razed

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Thursday, August 26th, 2010 by Amanda Atwood

Photo Credit: Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights

Last week, a friend and I went on a run that took us half way around the Borrowdale Race Course. The route reminded me about Natasha’s blog about the community living around the track, and their opinion of horse-piping.

The community was still there as we went past. As Natasha wrote, the contrast between the grass and cardboard shacks this community lives in  – exposed in the vlei in desperate conditions – and the enormous mansions of Gun Hill and Borrowdale which surround them is sobering and disturbing. But still, this was home for the people who lived there. Or it was until police raided the settlement and burnt it in a midnight raid yesterday, according to this statement from Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights:

Police blatantly violate the right to shelter in raid and burning of Borrowdale settlement

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), is greatly shocked at the unbecoming conduct of identified members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) who at about 00:30 hours on 25 August 2010 raided and destroyed an informal settlement at Borrowdale Race Course in Harare.

At least thirty police officers, easily identifiable due to their police uniforms believed to be stationed at Harare Central Police Station and the nearby Highlands Police Station proceeded to order the settlers to remove their possessions from the shacks and go and built homes in their rural areas. After 10 minutes elapsed, the ZRP members, some of whom were armed, and also accompanied by police dogs, ordered all the settlers to embark into the police vehicle and proceeded to torch at least a hundred shacks. This was done despite the fact that some of the settlers had not managed to remove their possessions. The settlers were then detained in the cold weather until the early hours of the morning when they were taken to Harare Central Police Station.

Most of the settlers whose shacks were torched down are victims of Operation Murambatsvina and some of them are employees of the Borrowdale Race Course. They moved to the settlement after being rendered homeless when their houses were destroyed under the widely condemned clean-up campaign while some of them started to reside at this settlement in 2000. From time to time the police were said to have raided the said settlement, arrested the settlers on the pretext of hunting down thieves and eventually releasing them without any charges being leveled against them.

ZLHR lawyers attended to Harare Central Police Station to assist the detained settlers who were not easily locatable due to the fact that the police have not made any entries in their detention book. ZLHR lawyers, managed to locate the 55 settlers who include 5 minor children at 13:30 hours. Lawyers have since been denied access to the settlers by the Criminal Investigation Department section represented by one Superintendent Muchengwa who advised lawyers that the clients will be allowed legal representation once they have been formally charged.

ZLHR condemns the unlawful and unprocedural actions taken by the police. Evicting and burning down the settlers’ houses without adequate notice and without providing alternative accommodation and the arbitrary deprivation of property that ensued following the illegal torching of the shacks is a violation of their right to shelter and to family life, which are guaranteed under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, to which Zimbabwe is a voluntary State Party.

It is also disheartening that the police chose to carry out such a vindictive action against the settlers during this cold spell when they don’t have any powers to evict people. Only the messenger of court or Deputy Sheriff can carry out evictions on the strength of a valid court order which does not exist in the case at hand. Further, it is also sad to note that these arbitrary illegal actions were carried out after the Mayor of Harare had written a letter to residents assuring them that all informal settlers will not be evicted unless alternative accommodation is secured.

No lessons have been learned from the failures and illegalities of Operation Murambatsvina, and the state – through the City Council and the Ministries concerned are urged to bring to an end such illegalities and attend to issues of lack of adequate housing in a lawful and orderly manner.

ZLHR, urges the police to carry out investigations into this illegal conduct that is tantamount to arson as defined in the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act and bring those accountable for these inhumane acts to justice.

ZLHR, further wishes to remind the police to be mindful of the right of all accused persons to legal representation of their choice, and the right to be informed of any criminal charges upon arrest.

ZLHR calls upon all state actors to desist from violating the economic and social rights of innocent citizens but to work towards the progressive realization of these rights as in accordance with Zimbabwe’s human rights obligations.

My voice, my right

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Wednesday, August 25th, 2010 by Amanda Atwood

We’ve received this post from poet and broadcaster Soneni Gwizi about the rights of disabled women:

Zimbabwe is caught up in the transition of writing a new constitution that “will” or should cater for all, particularly now in this inclusive government we are in. I am disturbed with the lack of effort from stakeholders particularly the government. They are not seriously including persons with disabilities at  decisions levels.

It is very sad that the visual and hearing impaired ( blind and deaf ) persons are sidelined due to communication barriers, they use a different communication medium due to the nature ot their disability, the braille and sign language which is not used in public meetings. I am aware that there is a lot of talk and suggestions that they must include all persons but let the truth be told, there is very little action taken on that statement.

Let us consider persons with disability with respect, dignity and allow their own voices to heard so that they can also live and be accepted in our communities.

They may not chant slogans and throw teargas at your buildings ( which they are capable of ) but they have a Right Too!

My voice, my right

They say lets unite and write a constitution with one voice
A voice that declares my rights
Unity means agreement, harmony, and union
It must represent the voices, needs interest and the rights of women, men,
and children of all types of back ground.
Is my right and voice being heard?
Are my needs considered?
For my needs and rights are different from yours society!
Do you not know?
I have struggles and challenges beyound mother nature!
Do you not understand that a constitution is one of the highest laws of a Country?
For years and years i have been trying to tell you Zimbawe,
That my rights and your are different,
You have always made me small in your eyes!
You have silenced my voice,
In your agender i appear like a cloud!
Here today and gone tomorrow.
Why do you ignore my voice and my rights?
Why do you undermine my intelligence, my gender, my disability, my right
I am just a disabled woman you voice!
Hey i am not just a woman,
I am intelligent, brilliant citizen of this nation.
My voice has to be heard and chronicled in the laws of this nation.
The journey has been too long my sister, my brother,
Hold my hand and lets walk together,
After all we are fighting and voicing for one thing which is,
The right of a woman!

Where is the toll road money really going?

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Wednesday, August 25th, 2010 by Michael Laban

Just come back from two trips to Eastern Highlands. Tolls both times, both ways. Now, I’ve seen a newspaper that says, “$15 million has been collected. Toll booths built. Roads paved.”

The only pavement I have seen laid is the rumble strips at the approach to these toll booths.

No potholes have been filled, edges maintained. I haven’t seen a new sign, or even new road markings painted.

Strikes me the whole scheme is job creation. New employees, or old employees now able to sit outside. And new places for the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) to sit and do nothing (which they do so well).

And I see ‘new’ things (who sold them those?). E.g. caravans, road cones, porta loos, solar panels.

Can someone show me, (not tell me), the point of this exercise? Not verbage – aims, objectives, uses, plans – but actual things? What has been done aside from collecting $15 million?

Programmed to fail

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Wednesday, August 25th, 2010 by Amanda Atwood

“For how many years have I been doing this with ZIFF?” I just sighed across the office. I’ve just put the phone down with the Zimbabwe International Film Festival. The festival opens on Saturday. They’ve announced the opening film, so at least I know when that one is: The Dreamer from Indonesia, at Avondale 7 Arts, on the 28th of  August 2010 from 6.30pm.

We got an email today from Alliance Francaise which will be hosting some of the films. So I know when those are.

But ZIFF’s programmes haven’t been printed yet, their website has been suspended and they won’t be circulating the programme electronically.

This is ZIFF’s 13th festival, and it’s the third year in a row I’ve battled to get a programme out of them before the event starts. What’s a girl got to do to get a little culture?

Magic wallet for double change

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Wednesday, August 25th, 2010 by Bev Clark

A couple of months ago Amanda Atwood blogged about a faith healing leaflet she found pushed under her door. Apparently the astrologer, herbalist and healer Dr Nkhaima can, amongst other things, help you if your privates are either too big, or too small.

Herbalists of fine talents abound!

A classified advert in the most recent Mail & Guardian publicises the work of Dr Allen, who can solve all your problems. His list includes:

- Bring back lost lover (R200)
- Magic stick to bring your money (R550)
- Magic wallet for double change (R200)

Apparently unfinished jobs are welcome . . .