Kubatana.net ~ an online community of Zimbabwean activists

Archive for March, 2013

Dying to go to hospital

del.icio.us TRACK TOP
Tuesday, March 26th, 2013 by Marko Phiri

It has become a rather cruel irony that Zimbabweans now go hospital not to get medical relief but to meet their Maker.

Saturday 23 March 2013 made this patently clear.

Perhaps these are isolated cases, perhaps they are not, but the fact is that were we as litigious a society as America is, many of these hospitals would have gone bust by now, paying out millions to grieving families.

Two men were buried, one in Harare and one in Bulawayo on March 23. I don’t know if it was cruel coincidence to be hearing two identical stories about two unrelated people from the country’s two major cities. And these narratives emerged from two relatives of the deceased, relatives who themselves remain unaware of the tragedy they share as they are from two different towns in Bulawayo.

The sixty-something year old died in Harare after reportedly spending upwards of USD8,000 in hospital bills, with the relatives only to be told that the doctors had all the time been treating a wrong ailment. Obviously if that happens, you die and we always thought doctors know best.

Same story with the 40-something year old Bulawayo man: the doctors had been treating him for something totally different from what was eating him. The family was told after the poor man’s death that he had cancer of the liver – and you get to know this through the death certificate. Talk about cruelty of the highest order.

Perhaps these things are common in the rather abstract and esoteric field of medicine, but when they happen with some “frequency” it does get you thinking what kind of circumstances we are living in that families merely have to accept this and are expected to get on with their lives just like that.

You cannot sue these bungling buffoons and it reminds me of a man who had a wrong limb amputated in the US, but fortunately for him, lived to sue for millions! Surely there must be a way families can get justice for their deceased loved ones. But then I am yet to hear anyone in Zimbabwe who successfully sued for wrongful death!

If you don’t like someone’s story, write your own

del.icio.us TRACK TOP
Tuesday, March 26th, 2013 by Lenard Kamwendo

Quotable quotes from famous books by the great African writer Chinua Achebe.

“While we do our good works let us not forget that the real solution lies in a world in which charity will have become unnecessary.”

“If you don’t like someone’s story, write your own.”

“Storytellers are a threat. They threaten all champions of control, they frighten usurpers of the right-to-freedom of the human spirit — in state, in church or mosque, in party congress, in the university or wherever.”

“Nobody can teach me who I am. You can describe parts of me, but who I am – and what I need – is something I have to find out myself.”

“There is no story that is not true, [...] The world has no end, and what is good among one people is an abomination with others.”

“The world is large,” said Okonkwo. “I have even heard that in some tribes a man’s children belong to his wife and her family.”  “That cannot be,” said Machi. “You might as well say that the woman lies on top of the man when they are making the babies.”

“Procrastination is a lazy man’s apology.”

“…stories are not always innocent;…they can be used to put you in the wrong crowd, in the party of the man who has come to dispossess you.”

“A man who pays respect to the great paves the way for his own greatness.”

“A toad does not run in the daytime for nothing.”

Compiled by goodreads.com


Zimbabweans’ priorities for the new Constitution

del.icio.us TRACK TOP
Tuesday, March 26th, 2013 by Amanda Atwood

Zimbabweans' priorities for the new Constitution

Zimbabweans’ priorities for the new Constitution

Given that both Zanu PF and MDC-T were campaigning for a Yes Vote in last weekend’s Constitutional Referendum, it’s not surprising that the Referendum passed by a wide margin, and the Draft Constitution will go before Parliament soon.

But as the case of Beatrice Mtetwa recently demonstrated, it’s one thing to have a Constitution, and another thing to follow it.

With this in mind, Kubatana recently solicited Zimbabweans’  priorities for the new Constitution via text message. We received hundreds of replies, and by far the most pressing concerns were for respect for human rights (including freedom of speech, media freedoms and freedom of assembly), adherence to the rule of law, security sector reform and free and fair elections. The word cloud above is a visual representation of all subscribers’ responses.

Where possible, we mapped this feedback as well, and we found over 200 points on a map of Zimbabwe, with subscribers sharing their priorities from across the country. Link to the interactive map below, and click on individual points to read these subscribers’ feedback in their own words, by location and category.

Open map in new window


Beatrice Mtetwa granted bail

del.icio.us TRACK TOP
Monday, March 25th, 2013 by Amanda Atwood

Beatrice Mtetwa granted bail, reports Reuters, after more than a week in custody. Sanity has finally prevailed after the High Court granted Zimbabwe’s prominent human rights lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa $500 bail.

I found myself feeling enormously relieved – But also angry at my relief. Of course, it’s good news that this inspiring, powerful woman has been released, and that she hasn’t had to wait until 3 April, as determined by the Magistrate last week.

But the fact that she has been in custody for over a week is an injustice. Her “crime?” Acting as a lawyer for her clients, and asking the police to see their search warrant and requesting an inventory of items seized from her client. In the meantime, she’s suffered the harsh conditions of Harare’s prisons on remand for a week, been bundled from one police station to another, and missed untold court appointments – meaning that her clients are also delayed access to justice.

It’s a relief for her sake that she’s been granted bail. But it’s an insult to justice in Zimbabwe that she was detained in the first place, never mind held in custody for eight nights.


del.icio.us TRACK TOP
Monday, March 25th, 2013 by Marko Phiri

I listened to a rather silly but sad story about the fear of God that has been instilled on Zimbabweans since independence concerning how ordinary folks associate with soldiers and the President of the Republic.

It is common knowledge how members of the public have been treated and continue being treated by soldiers guarding State House, how elderly people have been humiliated for “daring” to walk past the President’s residence, how motorists have been brutalised for using the same street with the President’s motorcade.

Yet the fear of these soldiers does reach ridiculous levels.

A guy told the story how a kombi suddenly jammed in front of State House in Bulawayo.

The driver and the tout quickly jumped out the vehicle and started pushing the vehicle full of passengers!

When asked by passengers what the hell they were doing endangering their lives, seeing of course that the steering was unattended, the driver replied that the soldiers would beat up any motorist who “parked” in front of the revered State House!

So, because of that dread they had to leave the steering unattended push the kombi just to escape the wrath of the president’s men?

Crazy country we are living in.


del.icio.us TRACK TOP
Thursday, March 21st, 2013 by Bev Clark

Here’s some short and sensible advice from Alice Walker: No person is your friend who demands your silence, or denies your right to grow. {You could of course substitute government for person, but you knew that}