Kubatana.net ~ an online community of Zimbabwean activists

Archive for the 'Economy' Category

Don’t demonstrate against the wrong thing if you don’t want to get arrested

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Friday, November 15th, 2013 by Amanda Atwood

Yesterday, demonstrators gathered outside the US Embassy to protest sanctions. They got a bit of attention on Twitter, and an article in The Herald, but it doesn’t sound like anyone was arrested. Never mind that actually, according to the US Embassy in Harare, the US “does not maintain sanctions against the people of Zimbabwe or the country of Zimbabwe.”

Meanwhile, last weekend students at Eveline Girls High School in Bulawayo held a peaceful demonstration to protest the lack of electricity at their boarding hostels.  Eight students were taken to Bulawayo Central Police Station and detained for around four hours.

Moral of the story? Demonstrate against non-existent sanctions and you won’t get arrested. But demonstrate against all-too-real failures at the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) and you will.

Employment creation, economic empowerment, and destruction of tuck shops

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Tuesday, November 12th, 2013 by Amanda Atwood

Government’s announcement that it would be taking down “illegal structures” around the country, and the demolition of tuck shops in Ruwa last week, was met with criticism from many actors, including Kubatana’s subscribers. This week, the Ministry of Local Government and the City of Harare have begun to distance themselves from these plans.

With good reason – This ironic “Letter to Gogo” from a Kubatana subscriber puts the issue very well:

Nhamo Primary School
Box 100% Poverty

Dear Grandmother

I am happy to tell you that bhora mugedhi has started its operations in Harare.

The little I was sending you from my tuck shop is no more. If all goes well, I will lose my job through the employment creation and empowerment scheme on the table.

I will let you know the progress in due course.

Yours in poverty,

Zimbabwe government and its money sucking

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Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013 by Fungayi Mukosera

There’s a level of totalitarianism that pinches my nerves that is clearly visible in Zimbabwe. The people are always stuffed under the heavy hand of the despot either in the guise of ‘home grown solutions’ or ‘catching up with international standards’. Whenever the government wants to suck money out of us they do it to catch up with international trends.

Good examples are the introduction of toll gates, increasing toll fees, debates about urban tolls, spot fines, increasing import taxes and levies, new police and ministers’ vehicles, etc. International standards are unceremoniously dumped whenever issues of accountability and good governance are brought up and replaced by ‘home grown remedies’, which in most cases have only looked well crafted on paper but void in implementation.

They work these things like magicians in our eyes; most of the time we fail to connect the two dots in the line in the use of the terms from the start of the con plan to steal money from us to the point where we want the result and details of expenditure. A good but sad example is the toll fees which were forcibly introduced on our roads to catch up with regional and international trends and without fail, every motorist is paying but the amount of potholes on our highways by far do not reflect the tremendous amounts of money that is being collected in toll fees everyday.

Interestingly the government is still working ‘flat out’ to craft ‘home grown solutions’ that will insure that the system is water tight and any corruption be brought to book. Others who have tried to question the accountability of the government and police over toll fees and spot fines have been labeled western puppets whose agenda is to serve their western masters and to push for a regime change in our country. Anyone who asks questions about the diamond revenues (including the former Finance Minister, Biti), Zupco unfair operations, civil service inflated wage bills and unfair distributions of farming, energy, water and security resources etc, has been placed in this neocolonialists puppet bracket.

Access the Zimbabwe Youth Development Fund

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Wednesday, October 16th, 2013 by Amanda Atwood

“The Youth Development Fund is a revolving facility and as such the youth are expected to pay back the loans so that others can use same,” Zimbabwe’s Minister of Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment said on Twitter.

“How and where is this revolving fund being distributed? Is this not a campaign gimmick? Who has benefited?” Tinashe Nyaruwanga asked the Minister.

The Minister replied that the Youth Fund is administered by CABS Stanbic Allied IDBZ and CBZ and will soon publish the total amounts.

Asked how one accesses the Fund, the Minister said “please contact Mr Sigobodhla on 04-707741 with your business proposal.”




World Postal Day

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Wednesday, October 9th, 2013 by Elizabeth Nyamuda

9 October marks the anniversary of the Universal Postal Union established in 1874. Today many years down the line the use of post has dwindled due to the advancement of technology. I remember when I was growing up I would check the ‘letterbox’ each time I walked past the gate. Sometimes I would go to gate solely to check the letterbox. Now I click buttons to check my Gmail mailbox.

Walking into a local post office in Harare you will discover that they have now ventured into offering other services like Ecocash, selling motor insurance and selling CDs. They have taken the stance of being ‘bambazonke’ in their quest for business survival. Who can blame them in Zimbabwe where many businesses have expanded their services to survive? Word on the street has it Chicken Inn will be selling sadza soon.

Despite the challenges being faced by post offices in Zimbabwe, it is important to recognise their efforts in delivering mail. Over the years Kubatana has been sending postal products to its membership. Most recently Kubatana sent out postcards through the postal service and one enthusiastic subscriber had this to say when they asked to get some postcards: “I cant wait to get the postcards so I can send a love letter to my mum and sweetheart. Technology has killed letter writing and the anxiety of waiting for the postman to deliver that special letter…”

Despite Internet uptake being high in Zimbabwe there still exists that group of people who do not have access to the Internet. By sending postal products to its membership Kubatana has been able to reach some of its remotest members in Sadza, Mbalabala, Mudzi, Watsomba, Mbire, Chibuwe to mention a few who do not have access to the Internet.

Thus joining the world as it commemorates World Postal Day is of paramount importance to Kubatana. Thank you Mr Postman for that anticipation of waiting for a letter in the letterbox by delivering our products using your services!

It’s time to shame the Zimbabwe Republic Police

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Tuesday, October 1st, 2013 by Fungayi Mukosera

Police corruption is the base definition of corruption in our country because it has a direct impact on the day-to-day lives and freedoms of our folks. Failure of the GNU and current parliament to recognise this is a sign to me that our politics has lost touch with its citizens and in the larger context they’re in conscious denial of the things that impact on our daily livelihoods. The Harare City Council is now advocating to add salt to our already nerve twitching wounds by advocating for street spot fines under the guise of keeping abreast with the international trends. The town clerk Tendai Mahachi is even making lame efforts to try and convince us that the South African standard is the International standard and that this is not about theft of our monies, as fast money for their men on the street and his starved coffers, but to bring sanity in the city. They have been promising for more than 5 years now that they are going to build commuter ranks outside the CBD but surprisingly the fault is never theirs but rather the commuters and the people.

In a rampant police corrupted country where even the commissioner of police is always on the defence that his forces are the cleanest and incorruptible, I think there has to be specific ways in which the people take things into their own hands and restore their own dignity. If we fail to defend our hard earned monies, these good for nothing lazies will continue with their malicious looting.
Commuters and all motorists have got to start investing in voice recorders and dashboard cameras to bring to book and shame this disease that is eating us everyday. This sounds ambitious and potentially expensive but for a minimum of R400, one can make sure that every road block is as it is supposed to be and when making complaints about illicit police dealing, the evidence through recording the incident will be enough. Shaming these corruptors by exposing them via social media is also a very effective way to curb this scourge.

In a case where all arms the state has failed to protect us, we should step in as our own protectors. There was a time when we could trust the state to secure our dignity through the police and the judiciary; the era is fast petering away from us and the only way left is to take a stand as a people and claim our dignity.