Monthly Archives: July 2016

Being thirty and Zimbabwean

I think the hardest part about being thirty and Zimbabwean is the realization that nobody has been seriously concerned with what my future in Zimbabwe would be; the realization that once the generation ahead of us had attained independence and realized that their political future was somewhat set, they became complacent and stopped caring enough, consumed and spent the limited resources of the country they took over and neglected to start planning for us.

How else does one explain the fact that the Zimbabwe that the previous generation inherited is the same Zimbabwe that they want to hand over to us – except that it’s now run down and broken? There has been no progress or meaningful advancement. They were guaranteed jobs and we aren’t. They could purchase homes that we can’t. They bought new cars and we can’t. They could start new businesses and thrive and we can’t. They moved around freely yet we live in a police state. They listened to better quality radio than us. They watched more interesting television than us. They wore better quality clothes than us. They had no regular power cuts and we do. They had a reliable water supply for their homes and we don’t. The streets were cleaner then than they are now. Their lives were seamless compared to our generation’s life of incessant drudgery and struggle. The quality of daily life in Zimbabwe has undoubtedly regressed. How did things degenerate so badly under people’s watch?

Now, our generation is at the precipice of taking over – there is virtually nothing to build on yet there exists a moral obligation to pick up the broken pieces to avoid the next generation similarly accusing us of not caring. This surely cannot be an obligation we run away from? We have to choose to do better and more. It’s hard to come to terms with this reality but accepting that this is the position is the only way we can begin to take the country forward. Huge commitment by our generation is required. We must rise above the mayhem rather than get buried under it. We cannot allow ourselves to come out of this mess damaged. Instead, we must take responsibility, make some hard choices and huge sacrifices. These may include opting to remain in Zimbabwe despite the temptation of greener pastures. Now is perhaps the time to come back if you had left? Whatever one’s choice here, apathy is not an option. Now is the hardest time to care about the country’s trajectory but it’s also a time when your concern and passion are most vital. The gamble is that we may not be the generation to benefit directly from our efforts but the possibility that the next generation might ought to be a satisfactory trade off. History will judge us harshly is we choose to walk away.

We are the next generation and the tone we set for this country is what will set the course for Zimbabwe’s future. ‪#‎realtalk‬ ‪#‎thisflag‬

https://www.facebook.com/ZimToday/?fref=nf

Fadzai Mahere

 

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Dearest Mr President

 

Dearest Mr President

Some Zimbabweans get sorely frustrated to a point where they opt to use expletives in respect of you. Some – in your own party, as you will no doubt be aware, plot your downfall behind your back. Some ignore what you have to say and get on with the business of living.

I operate slightly differently – I listen to what you have to say – and I think – and critically. Mr President, I cannot help thinking. I am a slave to reason. I think about everything – big or small. When something does not make sense to me, it nags me like an itch I can’t reach. I try to ignore it and try and move on with my daily life – but the itch doesn’t go away. So I have been thinking about your speech yesterday, addressed to war veterans but touching on us all. I actually tuned in. Afterwards, I tried to continue as though nothing had happened but I couldn’t. I am itching and I cannot reach. Arising from what you said, therefore, I have a few questions to ask and observations to make. I say everything with respect and don’t intend to insult or subvert you – I genuinely wish to understand.

Were you just kidding around when you enacted the Constitution together with Parliament on the 22nd of May 2013? Was it all a sham? Have you changed your mind perhaps about what you were signing into law? If you have, surely you’d have to change the Constitution before you start acting so contrary to it?

Until it is changed, surely it is binding – on you, on me, on everyone?

You said many things in your address yesterday but what struck me most was your assertion that “once [citizens] begin to get involved with our politics you are courting real trouble, we know how to deal with our enemies who have been trying all along to effect regime change.” This was addressed inter alia to‪#‎thisflaggers‬. What I understood this to mean is that we cannot, as ordinary people, question our politicians or speak out against issues we feel may need to change. It also appears implicit that we are not, in exercising our political choices, entitled to disagree with you in particular and Zanu PF in general.

Surely this threat runs directly counter to our rights under section 67 of the Constitution? Section 67(1)(b) of the Constitution gives us the right to make political choices freely – in other words without you calling us enemies, threatening to unleash the police on us or calling us “nonsense.” Section 67(2)(a) proceeds to give us the right to form, to join and to participate in the activities of a political party or organisation of our choice. The Constitution thus allows us to join and participate in the activities of ‪#‎thisflag‬. Section 67(2)(b) allows us to campaign freely and peacefully for a political party or cause. #thisflag is a cause we choose to campaign for. Surely, we cannot be hindered in doing so? Free means free – without the threat of reprisals.

Most crucially, Mr President, section 67(2)(d) allows us to participate, individually or collectively, in gatherings or groups or in any other manner (including #thisflag posts on social media) in peaceful activities to influence, CHALLENGE or SUPPORT the policies of the government or *any* political party or *whatever* cause. This section accordingly allows me to CHALLENGE the policies of the Government and Zanu PF and to SUPPORT #thisflag.

These are my constitutional rights as a citizen. Section 2 of the Constitution (not I) provides that the Constitution is the SUPREME law of Zimbabwe (in other words it overrides the Constitution of Zanu PF or your personal sentiments on any issue). *Any* law, practice, custom or conduct inconsistent with it is invalid to the extent of the inconsistency. The inescapable conclusion therefore, is that to the extent that you undermined my political rights guaranteed by section 67 in your speech yesterday, your conduct in so doing was unconstitutional and invalid.

With all due respect, Mr President, this is not an insult or subversion. It’s the law, the supreme law that you agreed to, enacted and promised to respect.

Have a lovely, lovely day.

Yours sincerely

Adv F Mahere

‪#‎hatichada‬ ‪#‎hatichatya‬ #thisflag

Finally facing the one fact that has always managed to elude us: we are all Zimbabweans

Transitions: Views of life in a changing world

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(Thank you to artist Barry Lungu for the stunning images of Zimbabwe)

I was born in what was then Rhodesia and from the time I was old enough to read, I was reading about turmoil in my country. I’ll never forget sitting across from my father one morning before school, in the days when everyone still had the daily newspaper delivered to their homes before breakfast, and reading on the front page the horrors of the war. There, in bold technicolour, was the photograph of a man who had been tortured and mutilated in the most horrific way…and I was so distraught I couldn’t eat my breakfast and cried all the way to school.

That was in the 70s. In the 80s it was another form of civil struggle which, at one time, became so bad that we all went back to the bad old war days when everyone drove…

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Dear short-sighted individual or corporate citizen:

Yes you who prefers to remain politically ‘neutral’; Yes you who is chief critic of any citizen protest movement without offering any alternatives; Yes you who is happy to be the only one who is thriving amongst your peers; Yes you who is presently one of the very few benefiting from a system that has disenfranchised 85% of the citizenry; Yes you who STAY 1believes that your individual profit from today is worth more than the collective gain of the majority in the long run; Yes you who fails to realize that it is your taxes that are sustaining a system that has forgotten its mandate to serve the people who oil its coffers; Yes you who is unmoved by the wailing of mothers beating empty pots as they cry out against hunger and poverty because you have never been to bed on an empty stomach; Yes you who forgets that we need to live our children a better country than the one we inherited. You are either a coward or you lack empathy for your fellow citizens or you are just part of the rot. So go ahead: sit by and quietly watch whilst fellow citizens are tortured and brutalized by the police; sit by and quietly watch whilst the few brave ones are abducted, arrested, detained or summoned for questioning for doing nothing except exercise their constitutionally guaranteed rights to demand accountability from a non-functional Government and self-serving leadership. Go ahead and set up your stall tomorrow or open your doors for business “as usual” when there is nothing “usual” about our situation. Just remember that  Each choice has consequences. Sit and do nothing and maintain the current status ,Or participate and reap the benefits of change .

 

The lost generation in Zimbabwe’s history

It has been a while since i shared an article on this  page , But with all that is going on here in Zimbabwe it needs to be done .so this an article by a brilliant Zimbabwean writer

Letter to Friends with News from Zimbabwe from Cathy Buckle

http://cathybuckle.com/index.php?id=210     July 8, 2016, 10:20 am

Dear Family and Friends,

At five minutes to eight on the morning of Wednesday 6th July 2016 Zimbabweans’ mobile phones stopped clicking, whistling, vibrating and pinging as Whatsapp, Twitter, Skype and internet connections failed. It couldn’t have come at a worse time because this was National Shutdown Day and in an instant everyone’s ability to communicate quickly and cheaply was gone. Coincidental we wondered? It didn’t take long to discover that the silencing of social media was countrywide and no one could provide a technical explanation, or in fact any explanation. Zimbabweans voices might have been silenced but their resolve hadn’t because everyone, everywhere has had enough of the state of affairs in the country.

 

For a week prior to the shutdown social media was overflowing with messages calling people to stay at home on Wednesday 6th July 2016.  Most people didn’t have to think twice. More than 90% of people are unemployed, sitting on pavements selling goods bought across the border  in order to survive.  The recent announcement that  government was to ban the importation of many basic goods from neighbouring countries will cripple the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of people in a single blow. Protests by traders  broke out at Beitbridge border, goods were confiscated, arrests were made, a warehouse was burnt, the border was temporarily closed and the situation continues as I write.  The government, however, seemed to be wearing a blindfold and didn’t see the huge problem they had caused to hundreds of thousands of people just trying to make a living.

 

Next the government announced they were “staggering” the pay dates of civil servants with education and health staff having to wait until the 7th and 14th  of the following month and pensioners until the 19th. Civil servants were enraged; negotiations with government yielded nothing; strikes were promised and as month end came and went without pay they began withdrawing their labour. The government, however, still had the blindfold on and a couple of hundred thousand civil servants suddenly had a very big problem and meet month end commitments.

 

Then there’s the money situation which has turned everyone’s lives into a nightmare. Banks without money, daily withdrawal limits, hours standing in bank queues and tempers flaring everywhere. The government announced they were to introduce a made up currency called Bond Dollars  which would be worth the same as US dollars but not recognized anywhere else in the world. There was an uproar, a scramble for whatever cash was left, but still the government had the blindfold on and didn’t seem to realize the dimensions of this huge problem they had created for ordinary people.

A national reaction to this toxic cocktail of bad decisions was inevitable. In a few weeks ordinary people saw their lives, livelihoods, savings and ability to survive swirling away like steam from a porridge pot. A National Shutdown was called by a few civic activist groups including: This Flag, Tajamuka/ Sesijikile and Occupy Africa Unity Square.

One of the messages calling on people to stay at home on National Shutdown Day said it all: “Should we sit down and let them turn us into poor, naked, hungry, sick mongrels in our own country? Is this the freedom we fought for? Is this the development we worked for? Is this the empowerment we went to school for? This is the time. Let us end this modern day slavery and torture. Let us join hands and shutdown the country on  Wednesday 6th July 2016.”

Zimbabwe did shut down and social media, once it was opened up again, showed towns and cities everywhere were mostly deserted: car parks, pavements and main roads virtually empty; normally bustling market places and transport hubs desolate. The press called it the “biggest general strike ever mounted in the history of the country.” Most amazing of all, it was done by ordinary citizens, without a political party, in fact without politics. Police presence was heavy everywhere; tear gas, dogs, baton sticks and boots were evident, captured on cell phones whose Whatsapp and Twitter weren’t working but cameras and videos were. Over 100 people were arrested in areas including Epworth, Mufakose, Bulawayo and Victoria Falls and we watched appalled at brutal beatings by men with helmets, shields and batons of people lying on the ground in submission. As I write there are reports that two Tajamuka activists have subsequently been abducted by armed men.

People power reigned supreme on Wednesday 6th July 2016 and left ordinary people everywhere feeling proud to be Zimbabweans. We stayed home to reflect on the horrors inflicted upon us for the last two decades : hundreds killed in political violence; countless thousands who died of cholera, hunger, malnutrition and HIV Aids; hundreds of thousands who crawled under the border fences to get away; millions of our family and friends who fled to the Diaspora. We stayed at home to pause and remember lost agriculture, lost jobs, lost industry and lost life savings. We stayed away to protest what has become a lost generation in  Zimbabwe’s history.

Zimbabwe stayed at home because we want this to stop. There is no doubt that this isn’t over yet. Until next time, thanks for reading, caring and supporting ordinary people in Zimbabwe, love Cathy

We Don’t Need Another Hero.

Economics Unusual

it’s been a phenomenal two weeks in the country of my birth, Zimbabwe. The events of the last fourteen days across the country have caught everyone unawares. From the initial demonstrations at Beitbridge border post on June 20th when SI 64 was first implemented to the burning of the customs warehouse and closure of the Zimbabwe and South Africa border for the first time in over a century, media and government were at a loss to explain what had changed in the mood of the country. Little did they know more was to come.

Hardly two days after relative order was restored at Beitbridge, Monday saw running battles between police and Kombi drivers across parts of Harare as the latter went on strike in protest against traffic police corruption. Police deployed their standard tactics only to be met by an emboldened resistance that saw reports of them being beaten back…

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