Teresa P. Mugadza
Teresa Mugadza is the Deputy Chairperson of the Zimbabwe Anti-corruption Commission. She is writing in her personal capacity and the views expressed in this article are her own.
I want to start with a disclaimer. First, I do not represent anyone but myself and therefore my views are myopic to the extent that I represent my selfish interests. Second, I am a functionary of the inclusive government as a Commissioner, so I am sure there are some that will perceive me to be compromised just by that station. I, however, believe that this does not and should not preclude me from voicing my position as a Zimbabwean woman. Further, I am persuaded that after having read the Draft Constitution I owe it to fellow women, to state why I have chosen to vote “YES”.
Now having dispensed with the disclaimer, I must also hasten to add, that my decision to vote “YES” is not in any way to suggest that I do not have any issues related to the formulation of the Draft Constitution or the processes related to the forthcoming Referendum. I do… starting with the fact that I honestly do not believe that the process leading to the Draft Constitution itself was as participatory as it could have been. I am of the firm view that women were not heard to the extent they should have been. There is ample evidence of this from the COPAC reports. In terms of the forthcoming Constitutional Referendum itself, I am of the view that the time given for dissemination and analysis of the Draft Constitution to Zimbabweans is too short. I am not persuaded that exactly 30 days is adequate time for the kind of reading of the Draft Constitution that citizens need in order to make informed decisions on the day of the Referendum itself. Finally I am not persuaded that the Draft Constitution will be circulated as widely as it should be before the Referendum. This could very well mean that people may end up voting for a Draft Constitution they have neither seen nor read and sadly in some instances, for a document whose contents they do not understand.
Now having dispensed with the preliminary issues, I want to go into why I am voting “Yes”.
1. I am a firm believer in participation. One of my good friends likes to say “decisions are made by those that participate”, and I totally subscribe to that idea. I have voted in every election and referendum since I became eligible to vote, and this Referendum is going to be no exception. I will vote because I want to participate in what I believe...Read more
Wed, March 6 2013 » Elections, Zimbabwe Review » Leave a comment
by Marc Epprecht – Dept. of Global Development Studies and Dept. of History, Queens University, Canada
Two flags fly side by side over the corner of a quiet tree-lined street and a busy thoroughfare in one of Harare’s inner northern suburbs. There is the red, gold, black and green of Zimbabwe‘s national standard (let‘s not talk of the splash of white just now). But beside it flutters something even more colourful: the international symbol of gay pride. The rainbow flag signifies the diversity of sexual orientation and gender identity within the unity of the whole, humanity, democratic rights and freedoms for all citizens.
It is a remarkable statement of self-confidence by GALZ (formerly Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe), the owner of the property from which the flags have been hoisted. The association itself has been around for over two decades providing social and legal support, counselling, sexual health education, research, and lobbying for sexual minority rights. Its social centre dates from 1996 courtesy of the courage of its founders and the generosity (and discipline) of its principal funders, HIVOS and the Atlantic Philanthropies, notably. GALZ maintains a website and puts out a well-written, sometimes quite combative newsletter/magazine. Among GALZ’ numerous other publications is an overview of the history of same-sex sexuality in southern Africa from pre-colonial times (that is, within traditional African cultures), and a thoroughly referenced legal brief that argued for the inclusion of sexual orientation in the proposed (but eventually aborted) 1999 constitution (GALZ 1999).
I was at the centre recently to chat with members, and I have to admit my expectations coming in were not all that high. GALZ’ long-time director and resident dynamo Keith Goddard, had died suddenly a couple of years ago, while many of the other movers and shakers from the early days had left. I’d heard that following the last police raid, the library and archives had been moved away for safety. Harare in general is a mess, people are close to starving in the rural areas, and I had frankly never seen a tobacco leaf as pathetic as the ones hanging from spindly stalks in the new resettlement farms I had passed through. The press was meanwhile once again full of bile, stereotypes and mockery of homosexuals and the very concept of gay rights.
The prospect of elections always seems to bring out this nasty streak in Zimbabwe’s political discourse, although of course Zimbabweans are not alone in that regard. From Uganda to Senegal to Burundi, sexual minorities have been the target of increased demagogic attacks...Read more
Thu, June 21 2012 » Constitution, Human rights, Zimbabwe Review » 1 Comment
'We are all Zimbabweans now' - a novel by James Kilgore
By James Kilgore - Research Scholar, Center for African Studies, University of Illinois, (Urbana-Champaign).
I began my career as a fiction writer in 2003 at the age of 57. I guess you could say my entry into this world of the writer took place under special circumstances. At the time I was in a California prison, adjusting to a new way of life after spending 27 years as a fugitive. Most of that time I’d spent in southern Africa, working as an educator and helping my partner raise our children. By 2003 all of that was becoming distant memories. To make matters worse, the few bits and pieces of information I did get about events in Zimbabwe were hardly cheering. From afar I was witnessing the descent of a country where I had spent most of the 1980s into political and economic chaos.
After awhile I began to realize what was happening in Zimbabwe was not only a struggle about land and political power, it was a struggle over history. Two competing paradigms were vying for hegemony. Robert Mugabe and his inner circle were advancing what Professor Terence Ranger, would later term “patriotic history.” This vision laid all problems of Zimbabwe past and present at the doorstep of British imperialismwith white Rhodesians occupying a special category of surrogate oppressor. Patriotic history constituted a unifying cry, an attempt to capture public memory and divert the attention of Zimbabweans from any authoritarianism, corruption, and divisions along ethnic or class lines. Patriotic history’s “them and us” clearly delineated the fault lines and papered over any curiosity aroused by the memories of individuals who had suffered at the hands of the Fifth Brigade or those who quietly watched their children starve while political leaders drove by in their BMWs.
On the opposite pole, the seizure of white-owned farms by the Mugabe government prompted a resurrection of colonialist history. The few Western media reports I saw pictured beleaguered white farmers under attack by unrelenting, unreasoning Africans. These accounts typically portrayed whites as innocent victims in this process, a well-intentioned minority who had built up the country during Rhodesia days and subsequently joined hands with black compatriots in reconciliation after independence, only to be reviled and dispossessed. Though I only heard of them peripherally, memoirs...Read more
Fri, May 4 2012 » Creative Writing, History, Zimbabwe Review » 2 Comments
By Kuziwakwashe Zigomo
Zimbabwe’s years of economic mismanagement and political instability, especially in the last decade of the Zimbabwe Crisis, have had catastrophic effects on the national economy, much of which has left many of its once-vibrant sectors and industries significantly depleted (Kamidza 2009: 6). The formation of the GNU has since brought some stability to the economy, particularly through the implementation of the Short Term Emergency Recovery Programme that helped reduce rapid inflation levels as well as ensure the provision of basic commodities (though largely imported) that were scarce before. However, despite these improvements, many vital sectors such as health and education are still functioning well below their optimum capacity (Nkomo 2011). As a result, Zimbabwe continues to hang in the balance and the current government is struggling to develop sustainable policy alternatives to address the problems and challenges of the past.
For the country to move forward, Zimbabweans will need to harness their collective energy to rebuild Zimbabwe. Because of its close links to the people and the communities, Zimbabwe’s civil society, in particular, has an important role in mobilising communities for the sustainable economic reconstruction and development of the country. Currently, Zimbabwe’s civil society sector has not done much to mobilise Zimbabweans for the social and economic reconstruction of the country. There are two main reasons for this; firstly, due to their extensive focus on political advocacy at the expense of economic and social advocacy and secondly, due to the underdeveloped nature of Zimbabwean civil society resulting from years of state repression and the economic crisis that eroded the organisational capacity of civics. This paper discusses the various strategies that can be adopted by civics to mobilize communities for Zimbabwe’s national reconstruction and sustainable development
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This article can be cited in other publications as follows: Zigomo, K. (2012) ‘A Community-Based Approach to Sustainable Development: The Role of Civil...Read more
Sun, April 1 2012 » Development, Zimbabwe Review » 1 Comment
In Hopley Farm, Harare, 8,500 adults live in makeshift housing: out of 2,000 school age children, 75% are out of formal school. (July 2010)
By Busani Mpofu
The World Bank estimated urban poverty in Zimbabwe in 1990/91 to be 12 percent while the 1995 Poverty Assessment Study found urban poverty to be 39 percent. In January 2009, Save the Children estimated that 10 out of 13 million Zimbabweans, over 75 percent of the population, were living in ‘desperate poverty.’ In April 2010, UNICEF noted that 78 percent of Zimbabweans were “absolutely poor” and 55 percent of the population, (about 6.6 million) lived under the food poverty line while New Zimbabwe estimated that more than 65 percent of Zimbabweans lived below the poverty datum line in December 2009. Recently, commentators have argued that it is very clear that poverty is increasing in the country. The sense we get from the above statistics is that some agencies have defined certain percentages of Zimbabweans as poor, below some abstractly conceived poverty lines. The statistics, however, do not tell us how long those poor people have existed in poverty conditions or the historical and social dimensions of people’s understandings of poverty-what it is to ‘be poor.’
This article attempts to tackle some perceptions about poverty in Zimbabwe, partly addressing the issue of the changing understandings of what being ‘poor’ has meant to those perceived as poor. Drawing from the experiences of the urban poor, I also attempt to explore historical and social dimensions of people’s understandings of poverty-what it is to ‘be poor’. This is partly because what people do for themselves, as poverty alleviation strategies, presumably turns crucially on how they understand their own circumstances (rather than on whether the state or some other agency defines them as poor or not). Inevitably, the centrality of unemployment as the main cause of poverty featured high among urban Africans during the colonial period. The conception of unemployment, however, appeared to have changed in the post-colonial era especially after 2000 when some professional jobs like teaching began to be associated with poverty.
Perceptions on identifying poverty, its causes and solutions as perceived by the poor themselves, politicians, planners, practitioners, academics and outsiders vary considerably. Other scholars have contended that the problem of...Read more
Fri, September 16 2011 » Essays, Zimbabwe Review » Leave a comment
Food aid being distributed in Zimbabwe
By Norma Kriger
Western donors understandably tread warily in Zimbabwe where ZANU PF remains the overwhelmingly dominant governing party in a formal coalition government. The “Inclusive Government” (IG) was formed in February 2009, following the signing of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) in September 2008 by ZANU PF, Tsvangirai’s MDC (MDC-T) and a smaller MDC formation. Western governments, initially opposed to the formation of a coalition government, continue to enforce travel bans and asset freezes against ZANU PF individuals and ZANU PF-affiliated entities. ZANU PF has persisted with its strident animosity to Western governments and donors, and has made these sanctions policies a major reason for stalling on the implementation of the GPA. While ZANU PF blames the sanctions for retarding economic recovery, Western bilateral donors rightly point to their substantial humanitarian aid – nearly US$651 million or 15-20% of GDP in 2009. This aid also happens to boost the image of the MDC parties, which were allocated Ministerial control of services, including health and education, while ZANU PF ensured it retained the security and foreign affairs Ministries, among others.
The role of Western foreign aid in this highly polarized internal politics is surely one reason why analysts have not focused much on its actual political impact. Instead, the politics of the political parties’ discourse or rhetoric has received much more attention, with particular focus on how ZANU PF depicts the West as undermining national sovereignty and seeking regime change. Another reason for the relative dearth of analysis about the political effects of foreign aid would seem to be some acquiescence that Western donor aid has generally benefited the opposition forces, chiefly MDC-T and civil society organizations, as intended.
Using a few cases drawn mainly from recently published reports whose main concerns were not about foreign aid, I highlight some dilemmas of foreign aid in Zimbabwe today. These cases suggest that, as in many other countries (Gourevitch, 2010), foreign aid has also had unintended and/or perverse political consequences in Zimbabwe. Its perverse impacts appear to include the strengthening of ZANU PF’s power and patronage resources and arguably a weakening of opposition forces or the shaping of an opposition ill-suited to transforming authoritarian rule.
Fri, August 12 2011 » Zimbabwe Review » Leave a comment
Violent land seizures began in Zimbabwe in 2000 carried out by "war veterans"
Paper presented by Wilfred Mhanda to the SAPES Trust Policy Dialogue Forum in Harare on 7 April 2011. Wilfred Mhanda, aka Dzinashe Machinugura, was a commander of the Zimbabwe People’s Army (Zipa), and in the leadership of the alternative Zimbabwe Liberators Platform.
Zimbabwe’s former liberation fighters have become a household name for all the wrong reasons. This paper will seek to trace the development of the role of war veterans in Zimbabwe’s political and economic processes particularly from 1997 onwards to date and provide a contextual background for their perceived role and put the public perception of the former fighters in perspective.
The war veterans came into being with the demobilisation of those former ZIPRA and ZANLA fighters who were not attested into the Zimbabwe National Army, ZNA in 1980. The advent of Zimbabwe’s independence on 18 April 1980 and the subsequent formation of the Zimbabwe National Army made the former liberation armies both superfluous and redundant as their mission of liberating Zimbabwe had been accomplished. ZIPRA and ZANLA no longer had any role to play in an independent Zimbabwe. From then onwards, we could only refer to former ZANLA and former ZIPRA fighters. It is these fighters who then became referred to as veterans of the national liberation war. Maintaining the ZIPRA/ZANLA labels and their links to the liberation parties would have only served to undermine the unity and cohesion of the new army as evidenced by the counter-productive ZANLA/ZIPRA clashes in places like Entumbane in 1980/81.
The former fighters were weaned off from their parent political parties ZANU and ZAPU and their welfare became the responsibility of the new Government of Zimbabwe and not of their former mother parties. Any links with the political parties could only now continue in terms of individual membership of those political parties. It is instructive to note that, technically, the overwhelming majority of the former fighters were never card carrying members of the political parties ZANU and ZAPU that parented ZALNLA and ZIPRA; nor were they required to do so. They became registered members of the parties’ armed wings and not the parties. All that was required of them was the commitment to fight...Read more
Fri, May 13 2011 » History, Zimbabwe Review » Leave a comment