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Archive for October, 2011

Broadcasting in Zimbabwe

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Monday, October 31st, 2011 by Upenyu Makoni-Muchemwa

Gay rights, political violence and freeing the airwaves

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Friday, October 28th, 2011 by Bev Clark

Here are some excerpts from the Prime Minister’s Question Time in Parliament:

Gay Rights
Hon. Dorcas Sibanda (MDC-T Bulawayo Central) asked the Prime Minister to clarify his position on the issue of gay rights in the light of recent media reports. The Prime Minister indicated that he was just echoing what Zimbabweans expressed during the COPAC outreach programme. He said his personal view did not matter and government position would be guided by the outcome of the constitution.

Measures to Deal with Political Violence
Hon. Marvelous Kumalo (MDC-T St. Mary’s) asked the Prime Minister if government had any policy measures in place to deal with political violence. The Prime Minister said government did not condone violence. He noted that there had been reduction in cases of violence in the country. He pointed out that it was the responsibility of the police to curb violence in the country. He said government principals had tasked the co-Ministers of Home Affairs to ensure that police carried out their duties professionally. He also appealed to national leaders to ensure that the message on peace should cascade down to lower structures of society.

Liberalization of the Airwaves
Hon. Innocent Gonese (MDC-T Mutare Central) asked the Prime Minister what government was doing to liberalize the electronic media in fulfillment of Article 19 of the Global Political Agreement (GPA). The Prime Minister said government leader had assigned the Minister of Media, Information and Publicity to reconstitute the Broadcasting Authority of Zimabwe (BAZ) board and to expedite the liberalization of the airwaves. He said that government was also concerned with hate speech and vilification of other government members by the state controlled media.

Looking back

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Friday, October 28th, 2011 by Varaidzo Tagwireyi

Louise (not her real name), fell pregnant at a crucial stage in her life. After having passed her A Levels with flying colours, she decided that when she grew up, she wanted to be a doctor, and had just been awarded a scholarship at a university in South Africa, to study medicine. She was on an all-time high and felt nothing could get her down, until her period just would not come. After a month of avoiding the issue, Louise realized the issue would not resolve itself, and that she had to tell Frank, (the then, love-of-her-life). And how would she even tell her family and friends? How could she face the shame? She also worried about her well-earned scholarship. Having this baby would ruin her life. Plus, being a mum was hard work. She had seen her older cousin struggle with her 2year old son. ‘No!’ she decided. ‘I will not have this baby!’

She bled for days after the procedure and grew frightened that it would never stop, and that she would die. Since she told no one that she had been pregnant to begin with, she attributed the heavy bleeding to her periods (which, luckily, were quite bad themselves), and stayed in bed for days, only getting up to freshen up when she got too messy. The subsequent weight-loss she blamed on anxiety about starting her medical degree, and they all believed her, which strangely enough, made her secret that much harder to bear. As she bled and weakened, Frank secretly moved on with someone else, who wasn’t sick all the time. He would later tell her that they needed a break from each other. How could he? She had done it all, in part, for him!

She eventually went to university, and although she thrived academically, emotionally and socially, Louise was a tortured soul, steering clear of any intimacy in fear that people might find out her shameful secret. Her secret always weighed heavy on her heart and mind. When time came for her to specialize, Louise decided that she would dedicate her life to helping women give life. A qualified, successful gynecologist, the now married Louise has attained all she thought the unwanted pregnancy would have prevented her from achieving. She has 2 beautiful children and one could say she is living her former self’s dream, except that something is amiss. With every child she successfully delivers, Louise feels as though she has paid a small amount towards a never-ending debt to humanity. In a twisted way, her job makes her feel better about what she did. But when a patient loses her baby, she seems the most hard-hit.

Louise now shares her secret with many young girls who have not yet made the decision she made all those years ago. She speaks with them about the psychological effects of her experience. “There is a gaping hole in my heart that cannot be filled. No matter what I do, or who I become, I just can’t move on. Looking back, I can’t help but wonder what that child might have been. I can’t honestly say that I regret having all the things I have today, that I might have had to sacrifice if I had had my baby, but when I look at my sons and feel that they are not enough. My family will never be complete.”

Who run the world? Girls!

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Friday, October 28th, 2011 by Varaidzo Tagwireyi

Who run the world? Girls!
Beyonce Knowles, Song: Run the world (Girls), Album: 4, 2011

In a world where the majority of women are still struggling with basic human rights issues, it is hard to see how this song applies to us all. Sure, it’s easy for Beyonce, with all her millions to sing about running the world, especially when it’s a possibility for her. But how can I say I run the world when my husband beats and rapes me; or when I can’t get the promotion I deserve, unless I sleep with my boss; or when I get paid less that men who do the same job that I do? How can women say ‘We run the world!’, when, according to the UN statistics division 2010 we account for about two thirds of the 774 million adult illiterates worldwide; and whilst we also make up the majority of HIV positive adults in parts of Africa and the Middle-East, and while only about 50 women (excluding monarchs) in global history, have been Heads of State and Government.

The answer is not in the positions we hold, but in how we define the term ‘running the world’. The focus should not be on control and visible power and leadership structures. Running the world is not about being in charge of it, but who ultimately does the work. I believe we run the world because it could not function without our efforts, (however mammoth or miniscule). We are the more downtrodden of the sexes, and yet we find the strength to just get on with it. Several studies show that housework, rearing of children and employment (formal and informal), included, women work twice as hard as men in a day. Imagine if for one day, all the women on the planet did no work. Who’d run the world?

Musician, Beyonce Knowles’ song, reminds us all of the true identity of women. Many a time, we lose a sense of our identity and power and let our feelings, jobs and duties in the home, shortcomings and disappointments, challenges and defeats define us as women. This song is a wake-up call, so, wake up, women of the world!

Remember, we are powerful beings, and we do run this world, whether we are acknowledged and appreciated for it or not. You may feel like what you do is little or nothing in the grand scheme of things. But what is this grand scheme, but an accumulation of small efforts, like your own? Let the men worry about who’s in charge, while we get on with business.

Now I’m not saying that we should just be content with what we have and suffer on, because after all “we (secretly) run the world”. No! I’m merely reminding women of our importance, and it is my hope that knowing that we play a major part in the world, will help us feel empowered enough to go our there, come out from behind the scenes, and take charge. The world would benefit from a more feminine touch.

Different strokes for different folks

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Friday, October 28th, 2011 by Marko Phiri

Bulawayo residents held a “peaceful march” yesterday to protest against Zesa for what we already know is lousy service. No police to beat up the marchers apparently. Here is the catch as later reported on national radio: the marchers demanded the resignation of the Parastatals minister and his energy colleague. It ain’t no coincidence that they both belong to the PM’s MDC. Now juxtapose that with previous marches by WOZA protesting about the same bloody shoddy service. One August  headline screamed “28 arrests in Woza demo over Zesa bill.”

And we all know whose resignation WOZA has always demanded!

Starring …

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Thursday, October 27th, 2011 by Bev Clark