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Talk is killing us

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Here’s another contribution from Sophie Zvapera, a Kubatana subscriber . . . it seems like women are tired of men talking, talking, too much.

Today I thought I should give you some of the quotations from Zimbabwean women who had gathered for a women’s weekly church fellowship meeting (Ruwadzano):

“These men (Mugabe, Tsvangirai & Mutambara) have totally killed us and our families

Do you think these men care at all? But these men think we care who is controlling Home Affairs or not? Not at the moment! It doesn’t provide food on my table!

Do these men have a conscience at all? Next time I won’t vote because the vote has no value at all in Zimbabwe

Do these men Mugabe, Tsvangirai & Muatmbara have wives? What are their wives saying about all this?

Men are the same they don’t care about our suffering all they want is power, power & power”

These exchanges went on for a while as we waited for the start of the meeting during which time I started thinking of all the women and children who are unsung, unrecorded and unknown heroines of the struggle for democracy in Zimbabwe.

There are many women whose names have never been mentioned anywhere who are suffering the brunt of the failure of leadership at all levels. These women are responsible for looking for food where there is none, caring for the sick where there is no hospital, no medication; they are the ones that are experiencing both social and psychological burn out because of the situation that is presenting in Zimbabwe. They see their children, husbands, relatives and friends dying because of cholera, HIV/AIDS, starvation and still have to attend the funerals and do all the traditional rites. The question that kept on coming to my mind as these women talked is do these political leaders care at all? I recognized that the feeling amongst these women as they expressed it here was that political leaders do not care about all the suffering that is going on except to gain political mileage at the expense of the suffering masses.

Someone might say this is an unkind analysis but I am sure I am not the only one who gets this feeling when you talk to small groups of women going about their daily chores. All they want now is a solution that brings respite to the people of Zimbabwe. In my discussions with women that I meet on a daily basis in my life none of them wants fresh elections, none of them wants a coup. All they want is going back to normal where they do not wake up in the morning to the news that a woman like Jestina Mukoko or Violet Mupfuranhewe and her two year old child disappeared, for instance. If women had their way they would have stopped the suffering long back through finding a workable solution than ‘to stick it out to the wire’ as these men are doing whilst people are dying daily.

My request therefore to these leaders is for them to talk to the suffering women and find out what they think about the ongoing impasse. If they think they are going to get some ululation for a job well done then they are so far away from reality. Women want this impasse resolved immediately. They want to take care of their families and move on with their lives where there is no senseless dying from cholera, where there is enough food for their families on the table, where children can go back to school and get a decent education, where the employed earn respectable salaries and not all this political rigmarole.

How many people have to die before these three men realise it is time for all of them to compromise in one way or the other. It is political doublespeak for any of the three leaders to say they have compromised enough because from where the women stand they have not since we have not moved forward as a country.

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