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Archive for October, 2010

Constitution outreach meeting participant hospitalised

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Sunday, October 31st, 2010 by Amanda Atwood

This weekend, the Constitutional Parliamentary Outreach Committee (COPAC) held consultative meetings in Harare and Chitungwiza, after the first attempt to hold these meetings was met with violence and intimidation. But this second attempt again resulted in violence, with one participant hospitalised. Read the Crisis in Zimbabwe statement about the weekend’s outreach meetings below:

Participant attacked, seriously wounded as police detain MDC employee

A participant at a meeting held at St John’s retreat, Joshua Manyere (32) was beaten up and seriously wounded by suspected ZANU PF supporters. He is currently receiving treatment at a local hospital.

Details obtained from an observer stationed at the venue are that during the meeting, suspected ZANU PF supporters threatened Manyere with unspecified action after his contributions were regarded as inconsistent with the views held by the ZANU PF supporters. After the meeting, it is alleged that Manyere was attacked by a group of suspected ZANU PF supporters and seriously injured during the commotion. The Coalition is still awaiting more details on the incident.

Meanwhile, Ms. Diana Nyikadzino, an employee of the Movement for Democratic Change is currently being detained at Waterfalls Police station for reasons still to be established after her apprehension at Hopley Clinic, Harare South.

Details from other meetings monitored are as below;

Tadzikamidzi School, Chitungwiza

The meeting, which was initially marred by intimidation, went ahead well after COPAC intervened although there were isolated cases of intimidation.

Zororo Center, Highfields

  • There was high security with approximately 20 police officers
  • The meeting started around 1100hrs and was attended by approximately 300 people
  • The meeting was temporarily disrupted following contributions by one participant who suggested that war veterans should not hold the nation at ransom because of their contribution to the country’s liberation. The contribution sparked outrage among some participants believed to be war veterans who threatened to take unspecified action against the participant after the meeting. The war veterans accused the participant of disrupting the meeting leading to his apprehension by the police. He was however released following complaints by other participants who told the police that the ejected participant had done nothing to warrant such treatment. Despite attempts to disturb proceedings, the meeting went ahead.

Kuwadzana, Crowborough Creche

  • The meeting was attended by close to 300 people
  • Police remained passive during disturbances by some participants who accused one respondent of attempting to disrupt the meeting. COPAC however managed to contain the situation and the meeting went ahead.

Bribes are a part of the Zimbabwe driving curriculum

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Friday, October 29th, 2010 by Zanele Manhenga

I was telling somebody that I want to have a driver’s license. It’s about time now. You will not believe what he said or maybe you will. He said in order for me to get a license I would have to go with an extra US$80 or so for me to get the license. That’s not all. He continued to tell me that after the provisional license I must be prepared to have another US$80 to pass the road test. But that is not the end of my story. I went and spoke to another gentleman and said to him; can you believe it, to get a license you need to be prepared to pay extra bribe money of about US$160. I can’t pay that. I vented to him that I am a Christian and I do not promote bribing and such lawless acts. Above all no wonder we have lots of car accidents and unnecessary deaths on the road. We have people that buy their way into the driver’s seat. You know what the second gentleman said to me. He said I should not view this extra US$160 as a bribe but as part of the Zimbabwe driving curriculum. In other words we should have it in black and white, a statement saying in terms of section 1.1 of the new drivers act, all excluding the ones related to driving inspectors, shall be required to pay an extra amount for the acquiring of a driver’s license. Failure to do this will result in you writing the driver’s license exam until you pay the required bribe. I was going to be afraid to write this piece in fear of not passing my driver’s test when I go next month. But I don’t want to be a part of this “bribe me” mentality that has infected our country. Rest assured I will read for the exam and hopefully start a new breed of people that want to do things differently.

Equal opportunity sexism

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Thursday, October 28th, 2010 by Amanda Atwood

The Women in Politics Support Unit (WiPSU) also sent us this open letter to the editor of The Standard, objecting to their recent article DPM Khupe dispels pregnancy rumours.

I agree entirely that The Standard needs to be challenged on their journalistic priorities on this article. Who decdied that an article that leads like this was newsworthy:

Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe is reported to be expecting her fourth child, though she denied the reports saying she was not in a position to have a baby. Khupe has been spotted with a hugely visible bulge, prompting speculation that she is pregnant.

But is some of this critique also stemming from a loyalty to or softness for Khupe in particular? Where are the similar critiques of the sensationalistic journalism and misogynistic stereotyping that has characterised, for example, recent rumours of an affair between Grace Mugabe and Gideon Gono?

Read the letter to the editor below:

Dear Editor in Chief

Zimbabwe is a signatory to the AU and Un instruments that speak gender equality and more recently the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development. This protocol urges member states to take measures to discourage the media from reinforcing gender oppression and stereotypes as well as degrading or exploiting women especially in areas of entertainment and advertising and undermining their role and position in society. It is our belief that media houses, especially those that claim to be independent and progressive, like the Standard, reflect these values and principles in their publications and conduct.

We at Women in Politics Support Unit are angered at the blatant undermining and sexualization of the Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Zimbabwe Honorable Thokozani Khupe that was exhibited by the Standard newspaper. The article that was given front page prominence in the Standard newspaper of 24 to 30 October 2010 was sexist and demeaning to the public stature of a whole Deputy Prime Minister.

It is with great concern that we question the role of media in reinforcing stereotypes that continue to be used to oppress women. The reproductive role of a man no matter his political prominence has never been front page news. Yet we see the pregnancy or lack thereof of the Deputy Prime Minister being topical at a time when she is doing great work for and on behalf of the women of Zimbabwe in her portfolio as Deputy Prime Minister of this country, UN Ambassador on the Global Aids Network and as a member of her political party. She has a recently entered into dialogue with urban councils to reduce the maternity fee that women were being charged. Is that not newsworthy?

This also concerns us as it is a reflection of the mindset of the reporters and editors of the Standard who view a prominent politician as a sexual being instead of according her the respect she deserves as a national representative.

This is contrary to the principles of the SADC Protocol and shows that the only “leading” the Standard is doing is in perpetrating the gender stereotypes that are used to discriminate against women, and in this case, women in public office specifically.  This was further demonstrated by your failure to meet with our staff to discuss our concerns about this article, even after an appointment had been set and confirmed. It is this lack of respect for the opinions, time and work of women that manifested itself and continues to do so in gender biased reporting and coverage.

It is our sincere hope that an apology to the Deputy prime Minister will be given the same prominence that your demeaning article was given. Failure to do so will encourage us to begin to mobilize the women of Zimbabwe and in the region against your publication.

Martha’s Tavern

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Thursday, October 28th, 2010 by Bev Clark

Poetry International is currently featuring poets from Bulawayo. The poem, Martha’s Tavern, is by Lilian Dube, described by Poetry International as ” a young poet of mixed race: her father is Ndebele and her mother is Russian. She is an upper-sixth student at Speciss College. A recipient of the Joshua Nkomo scholarship, she has also won a scholarship to do her tertiary education in the United States of America.”

Martha’s Tavern,
The braai is a colourful affair
Someone’s burning the beef
Is being beat up
By his wife
Jeered on by his cronies
Listening to the 7th remix
Of DJ so&so
Converse soles upon
The polished dance floor
Sweaty boys!

Naked in her skirt
Smelling out prey
Pretty nose . . .
Infusions of warm smoke
Tobacco . . .
. . . marijuana?
The cobbler is on his 8th
And enjoying it
Eyelids of a gecko
Wondering why
Everybody has
Two replicas in tow
& he can even feel
His beard grow –
Even Deliwe by the bar
Doesn’t look like
His brother’s daughter anymore.

Political violence in Rushinga

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Thursday, October 28th, 2010 by Amanda Atwood

As the Constitution outreach process draws to a close, and talk of 2011 elections is already beginning, we received this disturbing report from Women in Politics Support Unit (WiPSU) about political violence in Rushinga:

It is with great sorrow and concern that we have been informed that 17 women political activist were beaten in what is alleged to be politically motivated violence in Rushinga this week. 3 of these women were also allegedly raped. The 17 women were bought into Harare yesterday Tuesday 26 October 2010 for medical care as they have suffered various injuries including broken ribs and limbs. We call on political parties to discourage their members from subjecting women politicians to violence. This is a clear example of how the militarization of politics affects the participation of women as political actors.

Zimbabweans need to clean up their act

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Wednesday, October 27th, 2010 by Michael Laban

The Cool Carbon Club held a cleanup on Sunday, 10 October. Half in Ward 17 and the other, down King George from Lomagundi to Kensington shops. Each group had a city tractor and trailer to take away the collected garbage. Over one hundred people, three schools, and various people actually picked up litter, while others sorted it into recyclable piles. We got many comments from passer-bys (which was nice, but why don’t they DO something too!) so maybe there will be less litter thrown out of car windows etc.

I am always amazed at people’s attitudes: I won’t litter my car, instead I’ll throw my rubbish out the window. After all, the ENTIRE WORLD is my rubbish dump. And the ENTIRE WORLD is my servant who must collect it all up and make the surroundings look pretty again.