Tag Archives: Women’s Rights

The Biggest Political Sin by Zim Political Parties, and The Elders.

Nyaradzo Nyari Mashayamombe.JPG
Nyaradzo Nyari Mashayamombe On-Set of IDentities-Umhlobo

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.

Nyaradzo Mashayamombe with Mary Robinson.jpg
Nyaradzo Nyari Mashayamombe dances with The Elder Mary Robinson to “Nyoka Msango” at the Citizens Manifesto Convention  in Harare where she was the Host

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. 

 

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Getting Personal with Gender Based Violence(GBV)

Nyari Nyaradzo MashayamombeNyaradzo Mashayamombe Speaking at Forum 2000 in The Czech Republic October 2017

Until you’ve been a victim of rape, physical violence, emotional trauma, then #metoo or #16DaysofActivism won’t mean anything to you. Until you’ve had a daughter sexually assaulted, a wife raped, a sister physically harassed or yourself felt unprotected, then you will want us to be silent. I’ve been exposed to emotional abuse as a child, I had near sexual abuse moments that play in my head that sometimes I wonder how it didn’t happen, at the hands of older relatives. I’ve suffered physical violence at the hands of those close to me as a result of the work that I do to speak out against GBV and holding especially men to contribute their own share in their families through either house work or productivity.

I’ve been asked questions like ‘are you married’ as a way of silencing me because most of women who are married are expected to keep quiet on Gender Based Violence (GBV). I’ve seen people side with perpetrators of violence in a painful way leaving you the victim questioning the worthiness of your own life. I’ve witnessed police asking women to go back home and address the GBV sending them right into the arms of the perpetrator and I’ve myself been asked by a male police officer to go and ‘deal with the issue since it regards a relative’.  This is a simple example of the failure of justice system to protect victims of abuse simply because most times the male officers have biases, that they are also subjecting their own wives to the abuse and they’d rather sympathize with perpetrators. In all this as a Human Right Defender I’ve leant a couple of lessons;

1. The abused person has to look out for themselves most times as relatives simply take side of the perpetrator! They are going to play down your suffering and protect the perpetrator. My advise is as a victim whose being abused, have your own back, take action and go against everyone seeking to silence you because in their silencing, you are loosing your own self-confidence, your own self worth, you are inviting continued perpetration and you are making abusing you ok for everyone watching! Reporting doesn’t mean divorce in the case of those married, it means you are asking your partner to put boundaries, having him/her picked by the police and having some punishment helps them understand that you are a human being who is to be respected, valued and loved and that if they don’t see that for themselves then you will take steps to help them respect you. This is also for those violating for the first time, if the person is known for perpetual abuse or the second time, certainly take drastic measures like asking for protection order or asking that the person leaves the environment or house until they get help.

2. There is tremendous hostility for people especially women who suffer violence and try to seek justice. When I had this nasty experience, I was clear that I would not allow a person to go without some accountability, and taking steps ensured that I attracted amazing hostility and backlash. In that moment I leant that someone thought my life wasn’t worth that much as I thought I was worthy through the impunity they gave to the abusive person and hostility that followed because i’d taken action. However it became clear that I was the one responsible for respecting the life God gave me and that nobody had the right to rate my life lower than God means for it through being dehumanized by physical or any form of violence. I realized it was me who controlled that whether I would allow this to go unaddressed, I chose to address it and to deal with the hostility that followed.

3. The notion that victims of abuse especially women are unable to report abuse to get help became so vivid, because if they depend on that man to survive financially, or if they are a muroora (daughter in law) in that family then the whole family will ask her not to report and if she does she invites punishment, so that means for women one has to have a plan, to have economic empowerment so they can make choices and not depend on their abusers.

4. That when a person is physically stronger to abuse you, in the moment of abuse you can feel powerless. I personally felt a sense of being exposed, that the social system that was bound by the relationship contract had been broken and the only next thing that could protect me was the law. As I thought of my next steps being the law I felt some restoration already beginning. As the police arrived I saw my perpetrator feeling subdued and afraid of the police, that gave me back my power to realise that there is something that bring us all equal, thus the law. No wonder why justice in our traditional setups from time immemorial as African people was always there within the traditional courts that made someone pay cattle or have some form of punishment as restitution. The elders knew this was important. Our present day justice system has to work for victims to be restored or for them to begin their healing process. Even as I took steps inspite of opposition, I was happy I was putting myself first and this helped me.

Nyari Mashayamombe Nyaradzo NyaraDuring a #16Days of Activism to end GBV March in Harare 9 December Continue reading Getting Personal with Gender Based Violence(GBV)

#ThisFlag: When Citizens Rise!

 

Nyaradzo Nyari Mashayamombe Citizens Rising #thisflag

#ThisFlag: Citizens Rising

It’s imperative to know that the days building up to Zimbabwe Independence Day 2016 saw many Zimbabweans online speaking out on issues troubling our country. Beginning with the missing 15 billion dollars that President Robert Mugabe brought to light, to the MDC March, which drew a lot of support and scrutiny, to now, where Zimbabweans are using #Thisflag to unify voices online. This hashtag builds on the voices of concerned citizens who have been petitioning against bad governance, unaccountable, nontransparent leaders, and ongoing corruption. To suggest that this hashtag campaign is any other ideology, is a cheap way of thinking that Zimbabweans are stupid, docile and cannot see straight through the theft, plundering and human rights abuses that have been perpetuated over the years by our leaders.

Activists from all walks of life have been speaking about holding leaders accountable for their corruption. I, too, remember venting on Facebook just after hearing about the missing money that Zimbabweans shouldn’t joke as much as they did online over serious matters like national resources, or 15 billion dollars going missing, but should be bold to hold leaders accountable.

The campaign against corruption, bad governance and accountability has predecessors who ought to be remembered even as citizens rise today, and to know that they stand on the shoulders of those who’ve gone before them. It’s important to reflect on the lives of human rights activists who died for this country since the year 2000, who were made to disappear and who starved because they spoke out boldly – calling the masses to action and fighting for #ThisFlag.  Itai Dzamara is a name close to our hearts of a young Zimbabwean man who felt fed up just like many people online who are using #thisflag today, and those that have been and will continue talking about these issues. Women were raped and killed between 2000 and 2008 fighting for a better Zimbabwe.

Further, we see the power of the part the church plays in a struggle. In the past, churches have played the role of praying for the country, while activists took to the streets, to television and newspapers about the suffering of the people and the misuse, bad governance and corruption this country has endured. Pastor Evan Mawarire rising from the citizens and as a pastor, is a role model that makes many citizens realise and claim their power and see it as OK to finally approach leadership to make things right for the country, supporting the work activists have struggled with over the years. Simply put, the people have a right and are exercising that right!

People are beginning to realise that #ThisFlag represents our country. We are part of it, it’s not for the people whom we put into power to manipulate and use against us, it’s ours. Whomever wants to side line, minimize and make this movement seem like it is about one person, or funded by whoever, needs to realise that it is ours!

#ThisFlag Nyaradzo Mashayamombe

Now, following Pastor Evan Mawarire’s Ms Ruvheneko and Mr. Tafadzwa,  it leaves a lot to be desired about how patronised people have been over the years. The record has to be set straight.  I noted the following about the interview and I would like to comment as such:

  • Zimbabweans speaking out through #ThisFlag is a constitutional right, a responsibility they have for their children and future generations. It is a shame that over the years as citizens, they’d left the speaking out only to human rights activists, opposition political parties, and foreigners. But now it is time we took our rightful place in our civil society.
  • #ThisFlag is part of already ongoing discussions and talks about governance issues and corruption in this country. It shouldn’t be mistaken for anything but an open space for all citizens whose jobs have been lost, education hindered, and human rights violated to reclaim and lift #ThisFlag and #FixOurCountry. Over the years Zimbabwe has had activists both online and in mainline media encourage youths, women and communities to speak out. As a human rights activist I’ve had the privilege of working and campaigning on the ground and online with the following friends in my circles who’ve spoken out on countless times about these issues as concerned citizens, they are not from the West or East, they are mainly from Zimbabwe and are Zimbabweans. This list includes the following people: Cleopatra Ndlovu, Nyasha Sengayi, Tendai Garwe, Shingi Mavima, Lucy Mazingi Makaza, Janah Ncube Musimwa, Mike Tashaya, Angela Machonisa, Tariro Tandi, Barbara Nyagomo, Tafadzwa Bete Sasa, Martha Tholana, Jimmy Wilford, Thomas Chizhanje, Mbuya Muroro, Fadzai Mukonoweshuro, Henry Chitsenga, Fortune Pahwaungana, Alex Magaisa, Brian Muchemwa, Chipo Bangira, Arthur Gwagwa, Doc Suli, Simbarashe Nyanhanga, Glen Dhliwayo, Carl Joshua Ncube, Chipo Bangira, Rita Nyampinga, Trevor Ncube, Netsai Mushonga, Norman Musimwa, Sylvia Sanyanga, McDonald Lewanika, Hillary Musarurwa, Nigel Mugamu, Maria Mapolisa, Beighton Chireka, Tayiwona Sanangurai, Wilhelm Olivier, Batsirai Chigama, Jestina Mukoko, Charlton Tsodzo, Hillary Musarurwa, Nelsy Ncube, Barbara Mhangami, Ropafadzo Mapimhidze, Nqo Dube, Grace Chirenje, Sally Dura and my big sister Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda, to mention but a few.  The common thread they share is the love and the care for their country.  Many of them are lifting #ThisFlag and reclaiming the pride through speaking out.

The threatening and intimidation that we heard from the panelist Tafadzwa Musarara, who was supposed to be a political analyst but turned out to be an apologist against freedom of expression, is what has kept many Zimbabweans silent. Intimidating brave citizens like Evan Mawarire from speaking not only violates the constitution, but tries to keep the country under the pedagogy of oppression. The oppressed have to realise that they are oppressed and they have to rise! The citizens are rising and the ancestors of Zimbabwe must be happy. Nehanda and Chaminuka brought us the legacy so that we can look after it well, this docility and passivity has kept their bodies rolling in their graves for a long time.

#ThisFlag is creating a path to fixing our country and the start is that we demand for a public inquiry into the missing fifteen billion dollars and the public must be kept informed about this process.  Secondly the ministers declare their wealth and every suspected act of corruption and misuse of national resources be accounted for, and perpetrators not only pay back but be prosecuted. We know mismanagement and swindling resources by an elite few has kept us on our knees. We will hold those who lead us to account for that power that we gave them through the election. Thirdly ministers should respect the electorate and remain accountable and getting a mandate from those they represent, beginning with the Ministry of Education.  Imposing changes like national pledge without public inquiry and changing traditional and religious things like Scripture Union, and refusing NGOs in schools to share legal information single-handedly (such as comprehensive reproductive health rights) is unacceptable. Zimbabwe is a constitutional country which should be run according to the constitution. #ThisFlag campaign will indeed bring our country to systematic accountability and end corruption! Zimbabweans are rising holding #thisflag to #fixourcountry!. Lets continue sharing and build on the movement!

Nyaradzo Mashayamombe is Human Rights Activist, Founder and Executive Director of Tag a Life Inter(TaLI), Development Consultant, Recording Artist and lover of life. Twitter handle: @nyarimash.

#NoXenophobia #SpeakOutXeNOphobia !!

#xeNOphobia has harnessed our bothers and sisters and time is now to act!

Each and everyone of us must be bothered at the welfare of another human being, you are reading this message now, you are a human being, you can also be passionate about Justice and Human Rights if you are not yet that. While some of South African Citizens’ issues are genuine for instance the issues of illegal immigrants and their impact on lawlessness and other issues, South Africa MUST remember that its own liberation came as a result of it getting help from other African countries, therefore it does not have to quickly forget that.

We have witnessed brutal burning of our brothers and sisters alive, this is not acceptable on every level. Our Presidents have also not prioritised this and their silence is deafening! We need to raise our voices quickly and now.  Zimbabwe, Botswana, Zambia, Malawi, South Africa, Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia whereever you are in Africa, rise against this barbarism. Lets ask our Presidents to speak and shun this evil, South Africa MUST be reminded by someone that it is our brothers and sisters who have contributed to the building of that ECONOMY, it is their sweat as well.

Many of our countries especially Zimbabwe has given South Africa millions of dollars in their exports and this is how they pay us back! When Apartheid tormented South Africa, Africa was there and so was the rest of the World, SOUTH AFRICA YOU CANT FORGET, It is fooling of you to do so!

I am suggesting a Twitter campaign, to speak against #Xenophobia and immediately ask our presidents to Act! People’s Social Media’s walls are blazing with anger especially Facebook at this injustice by some of our ignorant South African brothers and sisters who either take part in this brutality, killing and burning of our people alive, or those who just stand and watch and do nothing!   Lets translate our anger into something tangible.

Lets say #NoXenophobia #xeNOphobia. Rather than just vent with nothing to show for it, each time you write something on Facebook and twitter concerning xenophobia, please hashtag #NoXenophobia or simply #xeNOphobia to speak out against it. Lets tag our local media, news papers,  local radio stations, televisions, international media houses, celebrities and this is the the power we have, the power to speak out! Lets utilise social media for change, get posting, get hash tagging! We are the change that we want to see,  Save the life of someone through twitter or phase book, use  #NoXenophobia !!

My twitter:                          @nyarimash

Facebook is:                       https://www.facebook.com/nyari.mashayamombe?ref=hl

https://www.facebook.com/Tagalife.TaLI?fref=ts

Why i Speak Out..

I’ve had to suppress how i feel sometimes, i’ve seen things that one would think are obvious and yet to many they are not. I live in a culture which celebrates evil over good, a culture that to a large extent has rewarded those who can manipulate others, systems that do not work for the justice of the deserving you name it. At a very young age i leant to address inequality, unGodliness usually that has befallen girls and women. I’ve seen inconsistency in treatment of girls and boys, and at a younger age i learnt to question that, but a large extent i really did not know what i was doing (a story for another day).

For the first time i’ll tell you how i feel about one of the most important issue that is dear to me, to many young girls, young women and even our mothers! In my opinion the reproductive health and sexuality of women has never been about them, its really been about men.  Had it been reciprocal, that the girls’ bodies be for the men and the men’s bodies be for the girls, as is required in the bible that i believe, i would not write, i would be VERY quiet, because there would be equality, everyone would be happy!! Many girls and young women have been oriented to do it for the men, never for themselves. But young boys and men can do as they feel like, well never for the women.  Its the same man who can trash the girl he marries and yet all her life she’s been trained to play it good for ‘the men’, her future husband! I talk to a young girl who is so scared to talk or open up about this issue, i am addressing it anyways! It has taken me a lot of thinking, a long time of accepting who i really am, well i’m called to speak for the Girl Child who will never admit that this is a problem for her, because she is trying to play it good according to what society expects of her! Society expects us girls to play in nice and safe, never to complain or voice what seems not right.

I’ve come to appreciate and live with who i am, i am who God has called me to be, to be the voice to the voiceless especially the girls and women and anyone vulnerable in my community, to be the comfort to those in need, and hense ‘nyaradzo-yangu’, (my comfort to you)!. I come from a religious background which expects me to be a ‘good girl’, and the definition of being a good girl from my religion often means ‘Do not speak out or question inequalities or oppression and violation of girls and women’, violation under the premise of bad doctrine, that teaches the girls to be sooo good such that, when a marriage fails its said to be her fault. Therefore she will try as much as possible to be the ‘good girl’, against all odds. At that point the man can cheat, bash her, violet her, and the tetes(aunts), the pastors and mothers sometimes will tell her to hold on! You’ll be told to be submissive to the husband who often does not know what love is, or laying down his life for his wife, meanwhile, this is believed to come from the bible that ‘woman ought to submit’, and thats what it is!! Well to the woman who’s held on and prevailed, i thank God for you, but am speaking of the millions who’ve suffered domestic violence, poverty at the hands of oppressive men, some who’ve died as a result of domestic violence, some who’ve suffered torture and abuse, those are the ones am speaking out for!

Well i deliberately made this my very first article on my blog because this issue is too close to my heart, and i believe that is exactly one of the issues that will set the world free, that will honor God and promote truthfulness, because as it is, the world is failing at marriage because it is teaching a short changing doctrine. When i grew up i had issues with marriage, until i had the most liberating preaching of one of an elderly pastors who had visited my church then. I silently grew up a girl who watched a lot of things happen around girls and women. I realised how women were soo oppressed that marriage was never an attraction to me, i viewed it as a sick prison which women enter and then either die silently or loose themselves. It was all under the thought of this what most of the church today have termed ‘submission’. I heard this more than i heard about love, about men laying their lives for their wives as the bible commands, for me the greater than SUBMISSION!!.. Well this pastor taught me the scripture as it says. Eph 5: 22-25 says; “Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing[a] her by the washing with water through the word”(the greatest submission which the church should teach to the men if true salvation is to fall upon the families)..,

He taught about what submission is for a woman and love is for a man, and that that is a circle, the two go hand in hand, you do not demand one and leave out the other. When a wife submits a husband should love, that on its own is not difficult in my opinion. The hardship comes when a wife is expected to submit and them man does not love, which is maybe a large percentage of these marriages, and one wonders why there is such violence and hatred, there is toomuch demand from women to perform and little from men, and society has gotten away with that. But is that the standard that should be, a big NOO!

So let me break it down right here right now. For me i am not keeping quiet at the expense of pretense and watch women’s lives be ruined. As a young woman it is God’s order if i want to get married, to do so, but not to any jack, not to any jerry, but to a man who fears God, in the truthfulness of fearing God. Who embraces truth, who does his part. I will not marry a man who is selfish, who expects me to submit and does not love me or lay his life for me. i am better off as a Jewel in God’s eyes if i kept myself forever rather than fall into the hands of an unworthy man who does not respect me as a beautiful creation of God, as one who’s made in the image of God and one who is equally a human being like him. I will marry a man who acknowledges justice and equality of human beings, a man who treasures me as the creation of God, and man who will adore me and love me to bits, that man will not demand submission because it will come naturaly. Let me continue this a little later, i just wanted you to hear my heart out.. I shall speak out, i shall not stoop law, Not in this life, never!!