As Zimbabwe is in the dying moments of the land-marking elections of the 30th of July 2018, this last week Zimbabwe had the rare occasion in years, of hosting the team of ‘The Elders’. Amongst many of the activities they engaged in the last week in Zimbabwe, the team comprising of Excellencies Mary Robinson former president of the Ireland, Kofi Annan former Secretary General of the United Nations and Lakhdar Brahimi former Foreign Minister of Algeria and UN Envoy attended the Citizens Convention hosted by the Citizens Manifesto, under the theme #OurZimbabweDream this last friday the 20th of July. I was privileged to be the Host of the event on the day and a sister, Sakhile Sifelani joined me in the part with the elders session at the convention. “The Elders” is an international organisation of public figures noted as statesman, peace activists, human rights advocates, who were brought together by the Former South African President, Nelson Mandela 2007, working together for peace and human rights.
Their trip to Zimbabwe last week is inspired by the activities in our country, to see for themselves the goings on as we build to the water-shed elections, as the International observers continue to arrive. The trip by The Elders was also so that they could hear the citizens voices, observe the elections be able to influence internationally and share their own opinion of whats happening in the country. While in Zimbabwe The Elders met with The President Emmerson Mnangagwa, opposition political party leaders Nelson Chamisa amongst many groups of interest. What inspired this article is the opinions of The Elders that they shared with the media in Zimbabwe that is sparking conversations in our country right now, and some of which i’ve addressed here on my blog Nyaradzo Yangu, in local media and on my TV Show IDentities Umhlobo that comes out on ZBC TV every Friday. I will share my thoughts as inspired by this visit. Seat back, grab a cup of coffee because we are going to need more coffee!
The Biggest Political Sin that MDC Alliance and ZanuPF Created
From time immemorial, ZanuPF has engaged in politics of violence, they have used women as scapegoats to achieve results that they want. From the time of Joice Mjuru ouster, to the rising and falling of Grace Mugabe, men have used women as the fighting ground. While probably Joice Mujuru threatened the promotion of ED and he had to remove her by mounting pressure on former president Robert Mugabe and on Grace Mugabe to achieve his goal, the same was done by G40 to fight ED. Women’s strengths of brevity can be manipulated and misused by men to reach what they want and hence G40 used Grace Mugabe to fight ED who in turn seems to have won the battle by removing Mugabe himself also winning a battle against the G40. As the coup-not-coup succeeded and President Mnangagwa assumed office, he evidently disregarded the constitutional requirement of ensuring equality in leadership thus promotion of women in both the presidium and cabinet. As we build to the forth coming elections, the existing presidium does not have women in leadership, and we have no clue if at all he plans to atleast have a woman candidate as a vice president should he win this coming election.
Just two weeks ago at a church conference with the Vapositori (Apostolic Church) of Marange, president Mnangagwa allowed the misled, human rights abusers at the shrine where he was campaigning, to speak down on women. He did not correct the utterances of a Mupositori leader who said that women were not allowed to lead in this country. As a responsible leader, he had the legal obligation to correct that misnomer because the same notions allow children to be married young and to older men at these shrines, he allowed these men who do not value women to continue speaking dehumanising language in his presence and that of media without correcting them. While President Mnangagwa has been largely singing the song of peace during elections, we’ve seen through online videos that some of his supporters were either intimidating citizens through seeking to profile supporters of opposition parties in villages. We have also seen videos crop up online of some supporters being asked of their voter registration serial numbers. Just a few days ago we saw a gang of men wearing Zanupf regalia bragging about their years of violence under the ZanuPF ticket and as they laughed the matter off, one of them shot his gun in the air to the amusement of his friends.
When Zimbabweans saw this clip there was such dismay, and also a confirmation of what citizens and other political parties have always claimed over the years that the party had induced fear, violence and probably murders as we saw in that video. In one of his recent speeches at a rally a few days ago, President Mnangagwa said something to the effect that; ‘its good to see such crowd coming to our rallies without being forced as we know that in the past there has been door to door asking of people to attend rallies’ (paraphrased). Again this is confirmation that ZanuPF has in the past used violence, and is probably still doing. What remains to be seen is how the President and the party ensures that the same message that he preaches is directed at those grassroots mobilisers where the actual violence occurs.
The Nelson Chamisa’s MDC started the politics of violence and populism immediately after the passing on of their leader Morgan Tsvangirai this past February. Even before Tsvangirai was buried, Nelson Chamisa was already campaigning for the reigns of the party. In one of his speeches in the city centre while the body of Tsvangirai was in the mortuary, Chamisa claimed that he was the anointed leader by Tsvangirai to take over. The events that followed after that were sad to any sober citizen and worse for women. Sexism and chauvinism had been reigning publicly in the MDC T when Tsvangirai was alive. He was womanising, sighing children with different women, promising marriages and not fulfill, marrying and breaking up with a woman 3 months later and remarrying in the process. One female leader in the MDC T who got questioned about Tsvangirai’s womanising during the peak of this behaviour said that; He (Tsvangirai) was a bull, communicating that his womanising resembled that he was man enough, a notion synonymous with negative masculinities that often carry abuse of women, violence and their dehumanisation. Now, to listen to a whole opposition party that is supposed to have gender equality as its tenets have its female leaders stooping that low defending men misbehaviour publicly was the time MDC T lost my respect. During that time It forced me to read their Manifesto which shockingly ‘speaks about gender equality’. OMG, in that moment i realised this was just another joke! Zimbabwe was at cross roads!
In 2016 Moragn Tsvangirai appointed two vice Presidents; Nelson Chamisa and Mudzuri. The moment i heard the announcement i saw the out-sting of Khupe immediately with the pushing in of 3 male presidium members with one woman, a clear statement that the opposition didn’t regard women as equals, or able members of our society. In their rightful senses, why would anybody appoint 2 more leaders when there was already a vice, and worse with two more males?. That dear reader, was the climax of sexism within the MDC. Fast forwarding to the violence Khupe suffered at the burial of Tsvangirai at the hands of the Nelson Chamisa supporters, and the Bulawayo violence against Khupe again, it was surprising that masses were still supporting Chamisa. Nelson Chamisa went on to offer an imagined ’18 year old sister’ to Emmerson Mnangagwa ‘if he managed to win this election by a 5% margin, an issue that he said was a ‘joke’.. A JOKE MR PRESIDENT, a JOKE MR LAWYER? A JOKE of volunteering an 18 year old to a more than 75 year old? Its called sexism, objectification of women, disrespect of women’s human dignity, its called abusing women, its called you are insensitive, its called you do not know women’s rights, its called you might be worse than ED when it comes to women’s rights!
Ofcourse the patriarchal parts of Zimbabwe that supports MDC T didn’t find any of that statement problematic. First of all because more than 33% women are married below their 18th birthday to older men whats the big deal? Secondly women get objectified the whole time, get over yourselves! Thirdly women’s rights aren’t part of democracy and human’s rights, since when did women matter? Well we don’t care if they make the 52% right? For questioning Chamisa on that chauvinism and sexism online, on radio and on TV, i gained a lashing, bullying and i got allocated political parties and called names by both Chamisa supporters on social media, members of civil society who openly support MDC T and of course some females who are also targeting positions in the opposition at whatever costs.
As Chamisa consolidated power, he went on to try to force MDC that Thokozani Khupe leads through approaching the courts to drop the use of the name MDC T. Whatever technicalities that made the courts make his application unsuccessful, Chamisa supporters manifested their utter disgust and bashing of women in public during that time. They called Thokozani Khupe “Hure”, directly translate ‘A Prostitute, a Bitch, a Whore”, they sang songs in her presence as she tried to leave the courts with her fellow supporters such as Linda Masaira and other MDC T party leaders. Chamisa has never strongly told his supporters to end violence against women, if anything his actions have led the supporters to read clearly that strong women cannot lead in their party, that they are to be elbowed out of politics the way he did Khupe, that they are to be brought down by sexism and profane as his supporters did and i’m sure he was sucking that in and feeling good. Feeling good as women are brought down or belittled as we heard Chamisa himself telling his wife that she was to be a stay at home wife. In one of his campaign trails, he is on recording saying women cannot go to lead or run for public engagements. He tells the crowds that his wife cannot be running around in public matters but to stay at home put.. “Handina mukadzi anombetuka mbetuka sevakadzi vana Mnangagwa. Mukadzi anogara kumba“. (My wife cannot be seen running around in public politics or life, she’s to stay at home unlike Mnangagwa’s wife who’s busy with public life). Any woman in this country and any progressive man ought to have been bothered by such childish and undermining of women’s rights in our constitution when a whole potential president says such utterances! He undermines the constitution and incites the public to refuse their wives to participate in public life. The wife of Chamisa is seen in the video embarrassed and probably wishing the earth to swallow her with embarrassment!
A few months ago a founding member of the MDC, a prolific fighter of human and women’s rights, the most performing member of parliament who has challenged many issues in our country including the Mugabe leadership to enforce order and development, was pushed out of the Chamisa MDC. Chamisa sought to replace Jessie Majome with a young woman Joana Ruvimbo Mamombe citing that Jessie had had enough time to serve and therefore she should leave her constituency Harare West. Jessie was eventually pushed to be running in Harare West as an independent candidate. In her resignation, Jessie mentions inconsistencies and bad faith in implementation of the rules in the MDC. While Chamisa’s administration of the MDC Alliance claim that they made efforts to meet with Jessie to discuss the issues, in her dismay Jessie shares that there was lack of commitment from Chamisa to follow through the process. In the end Jessie is running as an independent candidate. While i personally advocate for young women like Joana’s inclusion in leadership and politics, gender inequalities and women exclusion in politics is always done by men to use women against each other so that the women are the ones to blamed. I can understand the interest and desire by Joana to assume office, but this should be done in the spirit of dignity, awareness of gender dynamics in politics and that at any point in life this can be done to her, and that ageism is often a card played against women. What us young women need to realise is that in the case of Jessie, if Chamisa wanted to empower Joana and was pushing for inclusion of young women and also valued Jessie’s leadership and respected the democracy that put Jessie Majome as MP for Harare West for all these years, Chamisa would have sent Joana Mamombe to another constituency that has a man because we have more men in leadership anyway, than to seek to undemocratically and dubiously remove a cadre like Jessie. It must bother all of us and Zimbabweans must ask these important questions.
Chamisa goes on to acknowledge that his party has failed in ensuring gender equality during the launch of his manifesto, but also generally has lacked the political will to address his party to refrain from dehumanising women. In recent days we’ve seen the ‘Hure'(bitchs) word being sung and uttered again by the political party supporters of the MDC Alliance under Chamisa’s lead. They have been singing the same word to Justice Priscillah Chigumba who is the Chair Person of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC). In one of the recent petitions the Chamisa MDC Alliance handed over to ZEC, Justice Chigumba acknowledges that she couldn’t be at the meeting because she heard the MDC Alliance supporters singing the ‘bitch’ word and who in their normal senses would avail themselves to such continued violence and dehumanisation crowd? Its violent enough to hear it in your office, but why would she do that to herself and to the entire womanhood? Through-out his campaign trail, Nelson Chamisa has not announced his Vice President and again who knows if a woman is even part of the process?
Most recently, the notorious Baba Jukwa started digging dirt on Priscillah Chigumba accusing her of an affair with a member of the party of the ruling party, after having failed to prove that it was a presidential candidate, an affair which is imagined in a manner to tarnish her image. This is a clear effort by whoever is behind this to desperately prove that Justice Chigumba is compromised, to make this election compromised, inciting people and absolutely keep this country in one place of backwardness. While Zimbabweans especially those in the MDC and the G40 continue to abuse people on line, one thing remains that there is the under utilisation of the law to sue people who tarnish other people’s names online. Citizens especially supporters of the opposition have been notorious in fabricating stories and tarnishing people’s names, and its high time they get sued so that they know that once destroyed, a name may be hard to restore, ensuring that offenders such as these notorious party supporter and their leaders pay for the pain the fabrications caused to the victims and their families.
The Sin to this Nation
The two major political party processes with regards to women have not shown that they are committed to total human rights in this country. What ZanuPF has done to use women, to disregard women in leadership has been amplified 100% by the MDC Alliance and the craftiness of Chamisa. Chamisa has literally elbowed women, any strong powerful and objective woman out of his political party that he deems threatening. As women we must be worried, it means in this country you can’t be an ambitious woman and find safe spaces with brothers to dream. The leadership will play dirty at you, will have supporters sing dirty and dig dirty laundry at you to intimidate you into silence and while they watch. The polarised citizenry whose males thrive on bringing women down and whose other women are so abused and dehumanised that they cause other women to look aside on threats and dehumanisation at the expense of showing loyalty to these sexist political parties is troublesome, and is not the Zimbabwe we want. The Zimbabwe we want has leaders who respect human rights and dignity which include women’s rights. The Zimbabwe that should come out of 30 July must include leaders who observe the constitutional rights of gender equality and other human rights and accountability.
MDC Alliance Missing the Mark with the Elders
While the supporters of Nelson Chamisa would call anybody who criticised him an enemy, and while Chamisa himself maximised on the ignorance, the chauvinism of his party in abusing women by not questioning him, the international community isn’t that polarised. Chamisa has lied and lied and his supporters have not questioned that. Elders in his own political party such as David Coltart whom i would have expected to get it and advise him on what to do have not lifted a finger around the abuse of women on line and in their political party by MDC Alliance members, (i’ve tagged him several times on twitter he hasn’t responded). The elbowing of Khupe, Jessie Majome and now Justice Priscillah Chigumba says volumes. Now history and the world will certainly judge this, but most importantly The Elders!
What we saw on Hard Talk in the United Kingdom where Chamisa was held to account for most of his lies, the international community will hold him to, including the sexism, chauvinism and violence against women by his own political party. I mentioned above that i’ve been abused by fellow civil society members who support the MDC for question Chamisa sexism, what is sad is that the same players who advance human rights, democracy and accountability do not see anything wrong in the abuse of women that has been going on. To them democracy and human rights exclude women’s human dignity. However the international community pays attention and have seen the gross human rights violations and gender based violence being perpetuated especially by the MDC Alliance at the watch of Chamisa. The physical violence against Thokozani Khupe, the emotional violence against Justice Chigumba and Honorable Jessie Fungayi Majome, and other Human Rights Defenders like myself are in the eyes of the international community. This past week in her address in Zimbabwe at the Citizens Convention, Elder Mary Robinson former President of Ireland addressed the violence in this election against women including that perpetuated against Justice Chigumba, and they know where this violence is coming from. In her speech at the Citizens Convention on Friday, Mary Robinson applauded the constitution of Zimbabwe which she said has good gender coverage but she mourned the failure to implement to protect women from abuse.
The Mugabe-ism in the MDC Alliance
MDC supporters demonises anybody and has maximised on the politics of populism and ignored reason, objective criticism and the leadership has also failed to provide proper direction just like we saw it with President Emmerson Mnangagwa during his visit to the Vapositori shrine where he could have corrected them to say women are equal human beings, meaning he would have respected the 52% of those women in attendance at that shrine by humanising them and teaching those men that women are human beings. Any citizen who questions Chamisa is automatically tagged Zanupf supporter and Chamisa is in support of that. As he consolidates his power, it becomes clear that any person who raises criticism in his party will be thrown out, and hence democracy is compromised as seen also in the outline of all women who have been pushed out of this party as outlined above. Kofi Annan also pointed out the inciting by the political parties and its evident that it was directed at the MDC Alliance and Chamisa particularly. The politics of populism that Chamisa has ridden on for all this while has now exposed him to the international community. While Kofi Annan encouraged citizens and political parties to approach the courts for any issues regarding this election, he warned against careless utterances and demands that are unrealistic that can put the country at a halt at the expense of interests of the few. Responsible leadership is required to end utterances by the likes of Chamisa that assume that should he loose then the election is not free and fair. This also is the same behaviour as the one he demonstrated when he approached the United States with Tendai Biti last year in December when the public felt they were calling for sanctions to stay unless what THEY want is delivered. That kind of behaviour can be said to be inciting, misinformation, irresponsible and selfish. What we have seen with the sanctions is that it is the critical masses that suffer, the brain drain and the under development of Zimbabwe does not need that right now. The message of The Elders therefore cautions against unwarranted call for nullification of results of July 30 or such trajetories hence their advise on being realistic on demands.
Not my President!
As i end this long opinion piece, Zimbabwean political parties need to reflect seriously on their treatment of women and how they are influencing their follower-ship and leadership. They need to realise that they owe their masses success. While they blindly lead their masses in bad behaviour and allow the illegalities to go on, the citizens will only realise later that their own leaders let them down when they didn’t provide for proper solid framework built and established on true Responsible, human rights respect and tenets of democracy. The opposition parties such as MDC Alliance who are supposed to provide the alternative, must have won the hearts of The Elders if they had chosen to do things the right way thus respecting women’s rights, increasing accountability and allowing women to lead in their rightful places and also committing to speaking out against violence. Engaging ZEC should have been done legally in the spirit of oneness, with respect for human dignity and with respect for Justice Chigumba’s office, rather than bullying and dehumanising her yet ZEC is an institution not an individual. When The Elders like Mary Robinson and Kofi Annan come here to our country and address our own citizens on violence instead of us speaking with one voice pushing for ZEC to do its job, where we are not abusers of each other but speaking and respecting each other with one voice, then we would have strengthened our chances of delivering on the Zimbabwe we want on 30 July. As an alternative solution to our country, the opposition led by Nelson Chamisa should have learnt from Barack Obama, a history maker who was elevated by women.
Women are a critical mass! Loosing women’s movement and causing us to frown upon him is loosing a critical mass that can help him attract the local and international community. Therefore in this election as a woman, i do not see anything good that Chamisa can do for me, as much as i have problems with ED’s commitment to equality in appointment of women. Nelson Chamisa, whether he wakes up on 1 August a president or not, he has caused me to fail to respect him by his lies and his disrespect for women. At the same time i respect the Zimbabweans feelings that they want change, any change thats different from Zanupf in whose hands they feel they have lost more than 20years of development. While its obviously difficult to judge Mnangagwa’s ability to change this country with only 6 months as a leader, the traits of sexism by the visibly male presidium and old cabinet is a total put off. Women in Zanupf should be allowed to stand their own such as Monica Mutsvangwa who inspite of being married to Christopher deserve their own recognition. ED seems to have the maturity and the stability that Zimbabwe needs as it re-engages the international community to take this country forward, but is he really ready to let go of the corruption and his corrupt officials, who since the Mugabe regime have felt untouchable and not bound to be answerable to Zimbabweans such as Obert Mpofu? Is he ready to appoint a female vice president even from Matabeleland in his premium should he win? Are these male presidents ready to appoint a 50/50 cabinet? Don’t tell me there are not enough women because there are!! This country has been failed by men therefore deserve women leaders. Finally, is ED ready to be transparent in his engagement with the investors and putting the best interests of Zimbabwe first in the so called “Zimbabwe is open for business”?
Well this dear reader, is meant to tickle your mind, make you angry, but come to your reason and challenge your own comfort zone! How is our Coffee jar doing? Till next time..
“Sun-Downers” are periodic (hopefully every Sunday) personal thoughts on my blog with me Nyaradzo Nyari Mashayamombe, Human Rights Activist, Founder and Executive Director of Tag a Life International (TaLI), a Girls and Young women’s rights Organisation, Executive Producer and Host of IDentities Umhlobo, a TV Show currently on ZBC TV that talks about Social, Economic and Political Issues, Recording singer/song writer, Entrepreneur, and lover of All things good in life! Follow me on twitter @nyarimash, Instagram @nyarimash.
Dear President Mnangagwa,
I feel the need to open this letter by saying; Women are humans, they share the same rights as men, they deserve same human dignity as their male counterparts, thus equal rights according to our constitution. As a leader you have a moral obligation to direct every citizen to that truth. As we heard towards the 30th of July elections, women’s human dignity must be respected, their lives must be respected above all else, their vote must be respected as equal to that of men, atleast thats the calibre of the leadership that we are looking for in our next president.
The behaviour that we saw on video by a ‘male leader’ from the Marange Shrine where you were over the weekend where he dehumanises women, where he claims that the former president failed because of a woman, that women must never be allowed to lead is deplorable and i can’t believe this was said in your presence and you did not set the constitutional record straight to those misled males who are abusing women at that shrine!. In his words in your presence that male apostolic leader said among other things; “….Chandinokukumbirai chidoko doko ndisati ndagara hangu pasi, chengetedzai zivo inobva pamukuru iyeye, nezvaanoda iye, mukachengeta izvozvo muchatonga nekusingaperi. Mukuru umwe uya wakabvapo, wakakundikana wakarasa mazwi aakaudzwa. Church inoiyi haitenderi kuti murume atongwe nemukadzai, saka makawona simba rekudenga rakapidigura zvinhu kudai, nyangwe mukanakirwa nekutonga musazoregedza simba richienda kumudzimai. Mukaera madaro kutonga kwenyu kuchava kwenhando…”. (I request a small thing before i take my seat, keep the oracle from God, if you do you will rule forever. The former president failed because he failed to keep the instruction. This church doesn’t allow women to rule or to lead, thats why that president lost his power, no matter how you enjoy power never allow a woman to rule over you or get your power from you. If you do that your rulership will be in vein).
Your duty Mr President is to not put your interests ahead of the constitution and the law of our land. Not above the people that you serve. I can understand that at this crunch time politicians can do almost anything to get the vote. For that let me remind you this; Women hold 52% of this country’s vote, and to fail to protect that is telling about how much women are taken for granted and are not respected in this country. Another big voter number to respect is that of youths and men who cannot stand the statements by that abusive Mupositori, a good number of Zimbabwean men believe in equality, thats to add above the 52% that you must respect. How do you seat in the counsel of Vapostori who outrightly violate the constitution in your presence, and you do not correct them? How do we have a president who seats in the counsel of offenders of the law and let them loose like that? Evidently that Vapostori shrine is misled and is abusing women’s rights in their church as they outrightly did and you left that place without addressing that issue why? They are the same people who are refusing children to go to school, who are marrying their daughters young and a president who is promising us a new Zimbabwe allows such utterances to go uncorrected?
The statement of that man is problematic on many levels. Firstly it violets women’s rights, and you allowed that Mr President. Grace Mugabe was instrumental in the fiasco that threatened your survival in the former regime. It must be remembered however that she was being used by a group of greedy men the G40, and in his utterances that Mupositori showed ignorance of the facts and as usual, the blame is given to a woman. Now your own wife Mr President, must not suffer for the lies of chauvinistic males who think it was Grace’s fault. Women in this country cannot keep on being blamed for the sins of men who always use them for their selfish gains. So no, First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa must be allowed to be her own self, whoever comes beyond July 30 as the First Lady must not be compared to Grace Mugabe, but rather should execute her duties being herself.
Secondly the utterances by the Mupositori threatens our democracy in this country, by prophecying over a life presidency that we suffered under President Mugabe, and all Zimbabweans must be bothered by such utterances in favor of a sitting president against our constitutional tenets. Zimbabweans, all Zimbabweans, are the ones who choose Presidents, this problem of presidents who have a liking to be prophesied over including by these dubious abusers of religion is what made us suffer for 37 years. It exposes us to fake prophets who can do anything to push unbiblical doctrine to put their churches on the map, when we all know that in the bible women led, they served their nations! The likes of Deborah, the likes of Esther, the likes of Miriam to mention a few. Thirdly, women have suffered under the guise of religion and in this country this has heightened, and we cannot keep quiet about such disrespect, you owe this country an apology Mr President!
Why is it very important for ZanuPF to always associate with these Vapositori towards elections, and then give them pass and leave especially this notorious shrine to abuse women and children for a whole five years? Why do these misinformed men get to think that they can tell a whole country that women are any lesser humans than men? Why do our leaders expose us to such abuse at the hands of wayward misinformed men, would the love for power be more important than the investment done in this country for women empowerment? If you Mr President have transformed this country and have done right by Zimbabweans over the short space of time you’ve been president why do you feel the need to stoop so low exposing the whole population to this level of ignorance and mediocrity? We are all as humanised and dignified as our leaders and the opposite is true!. When a president exposes himself to such desperation and allows anything to happen at the expense of votes, those they lead also become exposed, and exposed to these Vapositories we were. Over and above the spirit of Ubuntu (human justice and dignity) this country is of women and men, girls and boys who are educated. They can tell good from bad, that they know what they are worth, the kind of words and treatment they should be exposed to, and such kind from the Vapostori is unacceptable in our country and we cannot have a leaders of that level expose us to such level of dehumanisation. We deserve better Mr President, you owe us an apology as women.
Since the beginning of this election campaign, political parties have treated women with the most disrespect and it feels like we are more than 30 years behind with women empowerment. The opposition parties have exposed fellow women leaders to untold abuse, have chased some including founders from positions of leadership simply because this country is too patriarchal and cannot stand assertive women. Since beginning of this year, we’ve had women abused from family level, to public spaces. Elizabeth Tsvangirai was abused by the family of her late husband Morgan Tsvangirai. Thokozani Khupe the rightful leader of the MDC T was elbowed by an imposed leader Nelson Chamisa. Jessie Majome was pushed out of the party she was part of its founding under selfish circumstances. Justice Priscillah Chigumba who is being abused left right and centre by the opposition, dehumanising and derogatory words by the MDC Alliance supporters and any woman who is assertive and is firm in doing their work is called a H***(B****). I personally have been labeled to belong to political parties and foreign governments by fellow male civil society pro-opposition activists because i questioned the abuse of women in the MDC. Basically the current environment and its leadership are doing nothing to protect women’s rights, they are riding on the popularism politics and non is respecting women’s rights.
To have a mature president who goes and seats under a shrine and allow common men to reverse all the gains of empowerment this country has ever achieved, to wipe away the dreams of little girls and young women telling them that they can’t lead is a shame that any president must not associate with. This must be the end of this level of stooping low. This cannot be accepted. Women’s vote must be respected. Women across political parties must demand respect from these men.
On 18 November i went to march, i joined tens of thousands who marched to remove the rule of former President Mugabe who had exposed us women and children to untold suffering and dehumanisation, its not the cheap prophecies that removed a Mugabe junta, it was women and men in this country that said enough was enough! The least we expect from leaders is to be treated as equal human beings deserving of their constitutional protection and realising that women have a right to lead too. It is their job to do so, and not to expose us.
Moving forward we reiterate you owe us an apology to set the record straight Mr President about the rights of women to equality in this country. I personally suggest that all political leaders must be barred from associating with religious groups, or such groups that are compromised whose record are telling of human rights abuses. While this apostolic sect feels good by being able to sale their abusive and oppressive doctrine, these same shrines have been used before to oppress others including you Mr President, so no, in #MyZimbabweDream i do not want religion to oppress me as a woman or a girl. #MyZimbabweDream is one in which religious groups just like all institutions are held to account and are asked to respect human rights and the constitution. #OurZimbabweDream expects leaders to have some moral standards and tell and inform citizens of the law and truth, and holds all subject to law including Mapositori, and leaders must not compromise themselves. Finally for #MyZimbabweDream i want women and men to have the same rights to be ministers of the gospel, leaders in various institutions, just as we have women vying for presidency in this election. I want leaders who promote women and girls rights just like they promote all human rights! I want leaders who do not compromise themselves but stand upright for human rights. You owe us an apology Mr President!
Nyaradzo ‘Nyari’ Mashayamombe is a Citizen of Zimbabwe, a Leader, Human Rights Activist, Executive Producer of IDentities TV Show and Singer Song Writer. Follow on twitter and Instagram; @Nyarimash_IDs
When going through a challenge, the one thing we are not well taught to do is to take our own fair share of #responsibility. It’s easy to always look at who didn’t do what, or why someone did this. It’s easy to detouch from the challenge and blame others, but lately in my trying times I’ve seen that #power and control comes when one takes their own full responsibility. I’ve seen that when I try to slide into blaming others, I loose #power, but I gain #hopeand #control of my life when I choose not to blame, but to learn from unfavorable outcomes.
I’ve also been reflecting and grappling with the concept that; there is nothing called #failure in each situation, only lessons learnt. In my few #regrets in life, I’ve had to really review some things where in the conventional ways of reflecting I would say I failed in this. The stubborn me wants to declare that chapter failure, but the wise me says there must be something to learn, therefore i learn! See logic is that declaring failure to something means i can say someone was to blame, and i can hold a grudge against that person and ‘feel good’ while going through life, but not realising i’m only making a de-service to myself, that in carrying grudges i’m putting energy to waste. That when i let it go and learn from something, it means there are high chances that i won’t repeat the same mistakes or misjudgements.
I go through #life with #conversations with #myself. I’m my #bestfriend, my #biggest #critique and we are improving on #selflove 😀. I’m thankful for the many days aheard that gives us another chance to do #life #differently and to #face more #challenges #hopefully with a #smile. What are you facing? You are #notalone!
I guess it makes for a great #episode 😊😉😇😎on #identitiesumhlobo. Drop a comment, lets share our stories!
Not easily impressed! Zim politicians dont impress me a bit especially ED and Chamisa. Chamisa on hard talk promises loads of empty promises especially his understanding of democracy and human rights is shocking. I won’t touch on the “Alice in Wonderland” promises. In his understanding democracy and human rights ‘human dignity and equality’ excludes women. I would have expected the hard talk Host to ask him about his recent pledging his 18 year old sister and how that fits into “observing human rights, good governance respecting our own citizens” in that order, other than it being a populistic utterance and one inspired by irresponsible leadership.
The reason i do not see him as a leader i can respect especially him as a young person is the fact that he doesn’t understand women’s rights, equality as fundamentals of democracy in all that he talks about. So the card that he’s young whatever must be thrown out of the window because being young should come with understanding basic principles such as realising that womens right are key components of democracy and that they are human rights. So to me that interview was just empty and the hullabaloo that he’s composed what not is not what we are looking for to get our country moving forward, we want substance. He couldn’t live up to his lies either about the Trump promises.
The hard talk kind of questioning is what we must all adapt as Zimbabweans on all these political leaders from these political parties. We are looking for a leader who can deliver of the tenets of democracy and human rights and human rights include women’s rights which exclude objectification of women. They include observing equality even on his entourage to the UK and respecting founding women members of the MDC which he shows zero respect regard for and has excluded from day one. In my books he’s young and opportunist and just power hungry as well as playing politics of polarism whom most blind followers have become violent tyrannies who attack anybody who scrutinises him especially online.
I agree with him on holding the government accountable especially the leadership of ED on these Chinese and his mantra “Zimbabwe is Open for Business” deals that someone should question and interrogate them to see any corruption and if they are the best for our interests or they are also just another desperate for relevance selling our country deals by ED. Zanupf itself has show zero tolerance for equality especially as an established political party thats supposed to move our constitution forward. In these recent primary elections its shocking the number of women who got in, especially when we would have expected all political parties during the CV selections to have ensured equal representation between women and men. There has been zero actioning of corruption including officials and the likes of Obert Mpofu are allowed to lead the whole ministry thats supposed to be anti corruption when they themselves have refused to answer to corruption accusations. ED has shown zero regard for equality as well as we have a whole male presidium. The one issue Chamisa must have mentioned in his scrutiny of ED is that the purpoted new dispensation has a whole old faces that’s been accused of corruption in the past and have been part of the failed government ministries. Why is this when Zimbabwe is full of educated young people as well as mature experienced technocrats to occupy leadership in government that include women?
So not for me, political parties in Zimbabwe and their leaders should try harder and Zimbabweans deserve better. As citizens we must be vigilant in this 2018 election and holding these leaders accountable and not fight each other. We must show diversity and difference in idea but respectfully. We all want the best for our country and we must not fight and reduce each other to nothing or else we are just being projects of the Mugabe regime. We can argue but respectfully, we can differ but respectfully. Lets remember this is about our country and we all want the same thing, our common denominator is the best Zimbabwe and now lets put all these leaders to task. Do not sale your birth right over a bowl of soup. Your loyalty must be to your country not an individual political leader. You can vote them in but you must have them account to you. Do not loose your power. Lets not create demy gods like Mugabes that we won’t be able to deal with in the future if we love them ahead of our country. Lets be bound by tenets of democracy and human rights, good governance and accountability for the betterment of our country. I respect all my borthers and sisters who support MDC or Zanupf but i’m more loyal to my country and the best for it therefore i will question and bring to hard task and talk Khupe, Chamisa, ED and anybody who thinks they can lead this country. This is for my benefit and that of the children of this country. I openly share these sentiments because i have citizenry rights and responsibilities to do so. Fellow leaders lets retain to truth and service, lets not be carried away. Remain virgilant!
For these and other issues in our country, join me on #IDentitise tv show at 5.30pm on ZBC today and any other Friday. It also shows on DSTV 280 same time.
Your comrade in the Struggle, Nyaradzo Mashayamombe.
Nyaradzo ‘Nyari’ Mashayamombe during a courtesy call with the Minister of Primary & Secondary Education Prof Paul Mavima.
Reading the former Prim Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s New Year statement has made me thinking on a lot of things, has enabled me to reflect on my own journey as an activist and the journey i’m walking even now, he has articulated many issues that i feel about the current leadership and yet i’ve managed to reflect on him as a leader too and i’ve decided to put pen to paper lest i’l never do it.
I have great respect for the man as a leader for what he’s achieved, the pain he went through and a true living ‘Heroe ‘ amongst us and ones who remains such For that i give him his calculated respect. Calculated because as a democratic leader he’s also let me down big time. See, many men masquerade as democrats yet they ignore one of the greatest tenets of democracy being; equality between women and men. Anybody who argues this is a good measure of stupidity and immaturity. Yes i said it!
Tsvangirai is one man who’s greatly abused women, objectified them and has gone to the extent of showing how he not only despise women in his own personal life through the way he treated Loocadia his second wife, but also the many women that he impregnated and dumped. The worst is his appointment of 2 more male vice presidents where through clear chauvinism he has chosen to ignore the democratically elected female vice president to elevate her to the 1st VP with possibility of promoting her to President, but he’s appointed his runner boys the likes of Nelson Chamisa who is visibly vying to be the next president should Tsvangirai resign. Its clear that Khuphe is a woman therefore not being pushed as the next president. If she was a man, would we be seeing Chamisa running around the way he’s doing? That is where i lost all the respect for Tsvangirai, his disregard and treatment of women as second class citizens as well as his lack of substance in issues that i won’t get into right now!
Mr Tsvangirai touched me though, when he spoke about the visit President Mnangagwa and the VP had this past week as a courtesy call to his, which he appreciated and received in the spirit of ‘well-meaning’ and goes on to explain that he wishes this symbolises the feeling that opposition isn’t treated like an enemy but a necessity for democracy, and that every Zimbabwean who rises up to say something about our country is well viewed as well meaning.
Thank you for just putting that to paper, thank you for verbalising that. Over the past days i’ve pondered a lot about this. When Zimbabweans engage they shouldn’t be treated like enemies for wanting more for their country. The Zimbabwe we want moving forward is what us as citizens will build. The environment and circumstances are ripe and allowing. We’ve come from a dispensation where everything was controlled, where you couldn’t say exactly what was on your mind about our country without fearing for your life. I’ve said a couple of things during the past regime regarding human rights where i’ve felt unsafe to the extend that i feared for my life. I even reached the extent during that regime where i didn’t answer an unsolicited knock on my door because of that fear of endangerment. Relatives and friends even warned me of some of the things i raised publicly as they feared for my life. I see around me this behaviour is crippling back into our midst, people who can’t say whats on their mind or people who come telling you how you ought to be careful for your life and this pains me because it shouldn’t be like that, we dreamed of a free society. I’ve even experienced respectable authorities treating me like i’m an enemy when i address national issues like basic education in the new campaign that we launched.
When i personally took to the streets on the 18th of November, i had in mind an open society, i had in mind a dream of a democracy where any member from the civil society would engage for the development of our country freely, without fearing for life, without feeling alienated for having a different opinion. I had a dream of a constructive country where leadership would engage every Zimbabwean to build this country and to take it forward, realising that no one person can do it by themselves. I had a vision for a Zimbabwe where we would all mature to the fact that most people are not enemies, civil society groups are not enemies, the opposition parties are not enemies but all necessary for taking our country forward. I even got interviewed on the 18th of November 2017 on the national television ZBC News Online and i braved to speak out why i was marching, i said ‘i’m matching for children to go to school! Through my work with Tag a Life International (TaLI) i’d long witnessed children who can’t access education because they do not have that money to go and enrol for the first time and therefore were shut out of schools. I noted that the existing policies protected those children who are already in school, so i spoke out that day, and many saw me on tv and were shocked why i wasn’t scared to speak, we hadn’t crossed over, but i had faith! I even sang #KutongaKwaro so much cause it was a song to the destiny we wanted, a free constructive and objective Zimbabwe, where we all contributed to the building and restoration of our country’s legacy.
Indeed reflecting on what happened to activists in Bulawayo this last week bothered all of us to the democratic and free Zimbabwe we dreamed of. They are part of the people who took to the streets to remove a government that had bothered all of us on the 18th of November, which for them maybe that dream was to have open dialogue, rather than rule of fist which we all loathed. Issues in our nation need to be addressed, however our biggest dream is to live in a country where dialogue is accepted, tolerated, not viewed with suspicion but as a means of development, that is what education does! It allows opinions and learns from others. The #Zimbabwe we want is not to the service and interests of a few individuals in power, it is for every child of this great nation, to have a common vision made real by the respect of our constitution and the rule of law.
When we launched the #EveryChildInSchool #ECIS campaign on December 14 last year, we received massive backlash from the new Minister through this Herald article. This is a man that i’d just met a few days prior and who’d seemed so promising (in the quick chat about this campaign that we’d had when i went to leave a letter to ask for an appointing and as we managed to steal a moment to take this photo). I was so excited for a future meeting because i thought we would work together, to advocate and push the government so that we would have #EveryChildInSchool. We’d been all excited that the former minister Dokora who had treated Civil Society like enemies and made the ministry staff and people feel like a God and Satan relationship was gone. We thought things had changed and that we were engaging a colleague, a partner. I’d be naive to think that he would take us just as objective Zimbabweans with something to say, because of our experiences in serving our communities. The second response that we received wasn’t the case, we felt like we’d become his enemies due to the quality of his response to this great campaign which he now has warmed up to.
The reason i bring this is so that as Zimbabweans we can have open dialogue about the standard of public services that we deserve. The kind of culture that we will accept from our civil servants if this dispensation is true to its self proclamation. Its us who allow it, we can choose to be timid and be walked all over, or choose to be respected and treated right by those that we employ. We have a chance to reshape the Zimbabwe that we want in this volatile environment where even our leaders seem to be unsure, we can help them settle in by defining the standard of service that we want, which can be founded on respect and trust for every Zimbabwean, according to our constitution. We cannot keep quiet and fall into the former regime traits, we need to speak out when our freedom and citizenry is threatened. We should expect professionalism and respect from our public officers, it is alright and well deserved and for the development of our country. Civil Society organisations are watch dogs representing our communities in making sure public officers such as ministers deliver on what they promised, on our national policies and laws, and we keep them accountable as well as partner with them. The days of civil servants treating us like trash should be GONE, IN should be a culture of treating every Zimbabwean with an opinion, an idea with respect, even if they decide to not implement.
Accountability and governance entails public officers to listen, learn, take notes, show that they have listened and assure the stakeholders and public that indeed they will action, and sometimes invite and engage the originators of the ideas, non dismissive, or abusive of office through yelling or shouting at stakeholders, that is the civilisation Zimbabwe deserves and the kind of service our new dispensation should usher. Public office is about serving people. We should not be afraid to say the truth, we should rise up and engage our ministers, public officers (all government staff) and tell them the truth about what our expectations are (and this is also true according to the New President’s declaration and proclaimed standards that he called on government officers that it was no longer going to be business as usual, and we bought into that resonating dream! If we disagree, it should be respectfully and the next moment we laugh and seat on the same table together not taking things personal. GONE should be the days when ministers needed to know everything and wouldnt engage people, IN are the days when all Zimbabweans, educated and non educated seat at the table and have dialogue about the future they want, they see, learn from each other and participate with each other. They should accept constructive criticism and not be defensive. Public officers especially ministers must realise they are there to serve people, and not to harass or look down upon people.
National resources like radios, televisions, newspapers should benefit every Zimbabwean not set aside for a few select. When airwaves are not open, it is the beginning of authoritarianism, departure of transparency and accountability. National resources should benefit everyone without discrimination.
I want a Zimbabwe where i can constructively contribute. I’m blessed with brains, i’m educated because my government educated me, therefore i MUST use those brains to educate and develop my country, and no-one should hinder that development. No one person knows everything and owns a ministry or office. #IknowItAllAttitudesMustFall in our government’s departments and ministries. #MinistersMustWorkWithEveryone #NotoTokenism#TreatingFellowZimbabweansasEnemiesMustFall#AccountabilityMustIncreaseInPublicOfficers#CivilServantsMustHaveHumility#MInistryOfPrimaryandSecondaryEducationMustReform#AttitudesMustChange
Child Parliamentarian Hon Natasha at the Launch of the ECIS Campaign 14 Dec 2017
Dear media friends. Thanks to those who’ve responded to our campaign for #EveryChildInSchool. We appreciate the fact that this is all of us as Zimbabweans & the globe affording our children a chance at education including those that are from poor families. We’ve learnt in the past few weeks that People actually have a voice in #Zimbabwe and we are asking you to spread the word and lets talk about this issue to Minister Mavima of Primary and Secondary education asking him to open all public primary schools to allow marginalised children to go to school.
The policies that exists only protect to an extent those children who are in school, despite the fact that over a million Zimbabwean children are not going to school. We also know that there are many issues around our education system which some of the issues the minister already responded to. Issues like revising the curriculum have already been addressed, lets voice our concerns for the poor children. Lets speak on their behalf those children whose life revolve around only heading cattle, doing house hold chores, potential child marriages, rape, child labor among other issues because they are not privileged enough to afford the $5 or $20 or $30 required from their parents to enrol them from school.
Our message is clear, Minister release a circular so that by January 9th even those children who have been out of school let them enter schools, instruct your headmasters to not ask them for money upfront for enrolment because they don’t have it their parents don’t have jobs! Don’t ask them for uniforms as condition for enrolment because their parents cannot afford it, rather work with parents when children have entered school. Ultimately Mr President, Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwaallocate more resources to education, borrow resources to enrol every child as provided by the constitution chapter 75, every investor in new Zimbabwe should build a school and a clinic if engaging in mininging or farming within their first 5 years of operation. We also recommend that you introduce a 1.5% tax to every Zimbabwean to fund education, after all we can read and write because when we grew up it was illegal for a child not to go to school, we changed pens and books which were provided by the schools because the government was highly invested in education. For the proposed tax, all the money must go towards school enrolment, school infrastructure development and learner welfare. The already existing resources and more proposed allocations should take care of the personnel and other issues. For the proposed Education tax and other resources, we demand for full closure and accountability from the government and all the companies who are investing in Zimbabwe regarding their contribution to education. This is a human right! Every Child Must be in School Mr President.
Panellists at the Launch of the Campaign JCT, ZNCWC, TaLI and Child Parliamentarian.
To fellow Zimbabweans, lets make this viral, hold your leaders accountable, talk about it at your churches, supporting this cause by Zimbabwean civil society is supporting our own development and its really a share away from making a change. share and copy this into your own Facebook or what app groups. If you are an organisation please join the movement by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will take you through next steps of this campaign. We want representation of the movemnt and citizens across the coutnry to make this issue at every Zimbabwean’s mouth.
Again to members of the media, thank you already for your support, and lets keep writing about this campaign, lets talk about it, lets blog about it. Please tag a friend in the media, or even inbox me people you think can assist us in keeping the noise going. This should be just as successful as we decided we were done with the previous minister of the same ministry and we took it to social media and every where to express our dis-interest in his reappointment. It was the voice of the people which was said to be the voice of God. Let our voices be heard. Please blog and share it online as well. I’m trying to reach out to all media houses, all community news papers and community radios across the country. We have enough people to give interviews so tag others. Does anyone know a colleague at Bulawayo24 News? please tag them i can neither inbox them or share anything on their page. Lastly i’m asking even international colleagues to cover this as we make noise.
To the members of parliament, lets deliver on this by January 9 when schools open, meaning next week in parliament this issue should be at the top of our agenda.
Thank you all for loving Zimbabwe.
Facebook page; Every Child In School
Tweeter; @ECISZW #ECIS
On behalf of Tag a Life International (TaLI) and the #EveryChildInSChool platform.
Some of the members of Media the Public at the #ECISZW launch #ECIS