The eviction of Cheshire Disabled people: A story of prejudice & neglect

 

By Watmore Makokoba

It is 5 am early in the morning and everyone is probably contemplating on waking up or have one last nap of sleep before rising up for the day, this can only be in the dreams and imaginations to the Cheshire house former inhabitants.

As Monica (not real name) narrates her ordeal after forcing herself to swallow the harsh reality of separating with her two and half year old son when she had no option but to find an alternative sanctuary for him when she realised that no help was imminent and her son who had already succumbed to a cold-induced fever could face a fatal catastrophe.

“Naturally, as a mother, separating with your child because you don’t want to see them suffering or to face any danger is very painful,

“It is much more painful when you are living with a disability, with all the ridicule we get every day, my children are the only treasure I live for in this world,

“I had to ask for some well-wishers to temporarily look after my boy after I realized that we may stay longer outside than anticipated given the hide and seek tendencies being exhibited by the authorities”, lamented Monica with tears laden in her eyes as she sits on her old model wheelchair uncomfortably.

This was a few days after one Mr. Banda purporting to be a government official approached them with what he said it’s an ideal deal from the government, it was an offer of an insignificant $800 as a relocation facility, which some of the Cheshire residents rejected.

Monica saw a bleak future and more woes mounting hence she had no option but to evacuate her only son from experiencing such a horrible encounter.

Zimbabwe Women in Politics Alliance (ZWIPA) founder and human rights defender had no kind words for Zimbabwean authorities after paying a visit to 85 Baines Avenue.

“ZWIPA condemns in strong terms the gross human right rights violations to the disabled people of Cheshire Flats who up to now continue to live as destitute’s after being evicted from the flat.

“It’s appalling this hide and seek and conman style being deliberately applied by the government to these people. Albeit the fact that these people are a special group of people living with disabilities, and requiring their rightful dignity. The constitutional core values clearly stipulates that every person has the right not to be arbitrary evicted from their shelter, guarantees the recognition of the inherent dignity and worth of each human being,

“It is very clear that the government of Zimbabwe, by not putting in place measures as called for by their mandate to bring a meaningful solution to the plight of these families is a violation of their human dignity and fundamental rights”, said Masarira.

Giving due appreciation to good gestures by well-wishers ranging from human rights defenders, civic society and ordinary citizens, including the donation call tin at Moto Republik where people have given what they have no matter how small, the government of Zimbabwe especially the relevant ministries has simply shown the whole world that it does not care about not only about disability but humanity.

 

The unconstitutionality of arbitrary evictions

According to section 22 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe:

“(1) The State and all institutions and agencies of government at every level must recognize the rights of persons with physical or mental disabilities, in particular,  their right to be treated with respect and dignity.

(2) The State and all institutions and agencies of government at every level must, within the limits of the resources available to them, assist persons with physical or mental disabilities to achieve their full potential and to minimize the disadvantages suffered by them”

Putting aside the issue of disability, though pertinent, Section 74 of the Constitution reads:

“Freedom from arbitrary eviction No person may be evicted from their home, or have their home demolished, without a court order made after considering all the relevant circumstances”.

“The High Court of Zimbabwe has reaffirmed that no one can just wake up and decide to evict people from their place of residence without following the law. The Zimbabwean authorities must now stop these forced evictions and abide by the court order,

“The Zimbabwean authorities continue to disregard the provisions of the new Constitution resulting in serious violations of human rights. It is not enough to have a beautifully crafted declaration of rights without a corresponding commitment to protecting these rights. The authorities must conduct themselves in a manner consistent with the letter and spirit of the Constitution,” , said Simeon Mawanza, Amnesty International’s researcher for the Southern Africa region referring to yet another dehumanising incident when families were evicted from Arnold farm in Mazoe in 2014 to pave way for the first lady’s Grace Mugabe  projects.

Since its winter, the pain of spending a good number of days in the open cold can be more painful and unbearable than enduring the long held ridicule of disability that the folks have already grown to brush aside.

 

In Gokwe, a teenager battles forced marriage to her uncle

 

By Watmore Makokoba

Agnes Mutsoko aged 18, of Musambasi village had to seek justice from the traditional court of chief Nemangwe following her battling the threat of a forced marriage to septuagenarian uncle, Obert Matambirofa.

Her recent marriage to youthful boyfriend, Liberty Mugari, 19, faced challenges – after her husband fell sick to a mysterious illness of the sexual organ – believed to have been caused by the uncle.

The illness was reportedly confirmed and treated by a traditional healer certified by the government-recognised, Zimbabwe National Traditional Healers Association (Zinatha).

What made the issue difficult for the traditional court at Chief Nemangwe homestead is that it involved the suspected use of cultic powers; Matambirofa had told the misfortune would happen to the groom by him, to more than three witnesses beforehand, including to the young groom before he was struck by the illness.

According to Joe Mutsoko, who is Agnes’ father, Matambirofa – believed to be in his 70’s – had declared that he wanted to marry the young woman and would not tolerate any other suitor.

“My sister is married to him (Matambirofa) and the couple stayed with my daughter for some while,” said Joe Mutsoko before the court session started at Chief Nemangwe’s homestead.

“When he was drunk that’s when he would say he wanted to marry my daughter Agnes. He insisted that if she were to attempt to sleep with another man, there would be problems. My daughter is now in bondage.

“She has been married for four months without sleeping with her husband. Even if I take her back from her current husband, who will marry her because everyone who sleeps with her might die? If we look at the age of this man, he cannot reasonably marry such a young girl by force.”

Joe Mutsoko

At the Chief’s court, Matambirofa denied the accusations and said he wanted five cattle for being accused witchcraft, although he had willingly accepted to approach three traditional healers who allegedly found him with dirty hands.

Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights), which observed the proceedings at Chief Nemangwe Traditional court expressed concern over the dilemmas of the traditional courts “found at the intersection of modern laws on one hand and traditional beliefs, customs and practices on the other hand”.

While some people believe such cases of witchcraft are true, the dilemma faced by the traditional courts remain: should the evidence of traditional healers be permissible, or if not, should young women like Agnes continue in their apparent suffering potentially disastrous to their future.

Featured image credit Honor Diaries

Before we kick ZEC in the proverbial balls, here’s why BVR might not be such a bad idea

 

By Simba The Comic King

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) is proposing that a Bio-metric Voter Registration (BVR) be put in place. So that we do not waste time get straight to the juicy s**t, BVR is simply a way of registering to vote and capturing your data through digital means. If you were looking for a more complicated definition I suggest you watch The Matrix. Having proposed this, the ZEC has had to face s**tloads of criticism for even suggesting it. The Bio-metric Voter Registration System has been used successfully in places like Kenya, Ghana, Philippines and Jupiter. I mean we all watched Independence Day when the aliens registered to vote that Will Smith should not be cast in the second Independence Day movie. So before we kick ZEC in the proverbial balls here’s why BVR might not be such a bad idea….

It’s Made To Be Fool Proof

Unless you buy your BVR system from a Chinese shop you are most certainly guaranteed that it’s foolproof. Most BVR systems are comprised of the following:

  • Easy Capture – a highly configurable voter data capture solution for enrollment
  • Voter Information Manager – the central application that manages all voter records
  • ABIS matching – a fast matching search engine that delivers accurate and secure results
  • ABIS de-duplication and adjudication – the fastest and most powerful de-duplication software in the world and powerful back end tool to help quickly and fairly resolve any election disputes unless of course the dispute is with ZANU PF cause then the dispute would simply be resolved by sending youthies to beat you’re a** to a pulp.

 

All this s**t practically makes it so damn near indestructible that even the Hulk would go green with envy.

Eliminates Time Consuming Manual Processes

Manual voter registration involves a lot petty processes that might inspire you to go open a Hotmail account instead. For instance an election has to find your name on this magical piece of paper known as the Voters List. Once they find it they have to check it if it matches with your ID because some people may be stupid enough to try and pass off as other people. Once they confirm that it is indeed you although when you were 17 years old you were dark as f**k and that’s the reason you don’t do Throw Back Thursdays, they tick your name of the magical piece of paper known as the Voters List. Then the official manually fills in a registration form and hand writes the info on your voters card most likely with the same hand he uses to jerk off. The whole thing is tedious which is where BVR comes the f**k in, it does everything in the time it takes some men to prematurely ejaculate.

Discourages Ghost Voters

Over the years, electoral processes have faced challenges that include duplicate registrations although if you want to be more politically correct those motherf**kers are known as ghost voters. BVR eliminates such f**kery by allowing  ZEC to create an updated list of voters through the mandatory taking of photograph, fingerprints and signature, these are the supposed biometrics. In short, if you do no exist, you do not exist, therefore you cannot vote, in the more critical words of Jay-Z in H to the IZZO, “Not guilty, he who does not feel me is not real to me, therefore he doesn’t exist….So poof….Vamoose, son of a ZANU PF-election-stealing- b***h!”

Provides A Quick, Easy And Maybe Even Fun Way Of Registering And Identifying Voters

Once again, unless you bought your BVR system from Mr. Wong Fa Fi Fei’s shop, it should make it very easy and enjoyable for people to register to vote, in fact most BVR systems have been known to leave you with a tingling sensation in the balls. Features include fingerprint image capture, a thingie that allows officials to captures your fingerprints, initially someone suggested a**prints but that idea was thrown out the window when they realized Kim Kardashian might actually do a smart thing for once and actually vote. An iris capture is used to scan your eye which means if you are sci-fi fan you might want to vote just to see what it feels like.

Provides History Of Registration And Voting Events

The last point may be something our current government may not be too excited about. We’ll give a scenario, in the event let’s say, I don’t know, someone wins by a landslide victory when they in  fact didn’t even win by an air slide, BVR allows you to track everything from the initial registration to the day you walked in to decide who is the next nigga to attempt to sit his a** in the State House.

This is not to say BVR doesn’t have its fair share of disadvantages. Challenges include the high expenses involved in maintaining such a system and the fact that it can be hacked into but I’m not getting paid to tell you why its s***ty saka enda unorara . Whatever  method of voter registration the government decides to use, let’s all register to vote gaddhemeti.

5 things that make Zimbabwe and Zimbabweans weirdly different

 

By Nigel Ndlovu

Whether I like it or not I was born Zimbabwean and I have come to realize that there are some aspects about us Zimbos which make us weirdly different. Below is a list of things I have identified which make us weirdly different, enjoy and please add some of the things you feel I missed.

37 years of independence and one president

Folks you probably had this one in mind when you were reading the introduction of this blog post. It’s obvious isn’t it? It is one of  the weirdest  things about us as Zimbabweans. Sometimes we wonder what it feels like having a new president.

A nation of Comedians

In this age of the internet and the emergency of social media sites and access to smart phones by Zimbabweans. I have come to realize that zimbos are passionate about jokes. Zimbabweans seem to turn everything into a joke. Take for instance to the Goat Jokes and memes which have been circulating on social media  a few days ago after the Minister of education announced on state media that folks in rural areas can pay schools fees with goats or labor for their children. Zimbabweans are insane jokers.

 

Lack of a currency

Okay I am confused with this one. Do we have a currency in Zimbabwe? My knowledge tells me the Zimbabwean dollar was abolished in 2009 to pave the way for the multi-foreign currency regime which was introduced in Zimbabwe to save country form its hyper inflationary environment .

 

Educated but Poor

We pride ourselves as one of the most educated countries in Africa however our intellect does add up to our riches. A huge gap between rich and poor is visible in our country. Yes we can read and write but most Zimbabweans are finding it hard to survive in their motherland. The economic slavery in Zimbabwe is as a result of bad governance, looting of natural resources and corruption.

 

A youthful nation

I will not delve deep into numbers and stats. I will however dwell on word of mouth and word in the streets. The majority of the population in Zimbabwe is below 40 years, which makes Zimbabwe a very youthful nation, with that being said, the youths in Zimbabwe happen to be facing the major challenges in the country like unemployment. Unemployment is estimated to be around a staggering 95%, okay this figure might create beef between me and government stats agents’. Another aspect which makes Zimbabweans and Zimbabwe to be weirdly different is the fact that the youths are not visible in crucial matters like the politics of the country.

 

Feel free to comment with other aspects that make Zimbabweans and Zimbabwe to be weirdly different.

 

Zim is the 2nd most developed country in Africa… wait, what?

 

(Not so) Dear His Excellency.

Commander In Chief of the Armed Forces And President and First Secretary of Zanu PF, Chancellor of all State Universities, Life President of Zimbabwe and blah blah blah blah (you get the gist of it)

I was watching you speak the World economic forum and besides wondering why a man of your age, who in our culture should be resting and enjoying time with his grandchild, was still working when age dictates otherwise, I also wondered if you were speaking of modern day Zimbabwe. I listened to you as spoke and I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. You said, and I quote, “Zimbabwe is one of the most highly developed country in Africa and after South Africa, I want to know which country has that level of development that you see in Zimbabwe.” You went on to mention that we have 14 universities and a 90% literacy rate and various resources and we have a strong agricultural industry and we are having a bumper harvest. I understand the disillusion. Between the many trips to Singapore and other nations, the little time you spend in this country isn’t enough to reality get a grip of what is on the ground. When you are in the country, you are surrounded by your fellow comrades and their wealth and riches could easily give you the impression that things are well in this country. Let me give you the facts on the ground about this “sovereign nation”.

 


Zimbabwe is poor. Period. We are nowhere near the top of the list of developed nations on this continent. If anything, we are moving backward while everyone else is moving forward. Your finance minister wants to take us as far back as the batter trade era and have us trade in livestock and other goods in exchange for services. We are slowly returning to gravel roads in many areas. We moved from tarred roads with potholes to gravel roads with a bit of tar. The roads you frequent, including the one to your rural area, are in perfect condition. The rest of us have to play ‘Who Can Dodge Better’ on our way to our various destinations. Every other day, many people lose their lives on these roads because of their dilapidated state. 37 years after independence and there has been insignificant development to our road network. The Harare – Masvingo highway has been a death trap for as long as I can remember and nothing has been done to improve that road and we speak of being developed? Where? Have you seen the state of these 14 Universities you speak of? Students are sleeping in overcrowded dormitories and rented rooms. And those that have graduated? The majority are just sitting in their homes with their degrees in hand. So of what use are those Universities? Of what use is the 90% literacy rate when people can’t use it anywhere?

And then we speak of resources. The people only hear of these resources when you or the media speak of them. That’s it. The ordinary citizen had benefitted nothing from the resources in this country. It is “our” ministers and yourself that benefit, no one else. What is happening is that the elite few are looting theses said resources and everyone else benefits nothing. If by “utilize” resources you meant the elite minority filling their personal coffers, then I agree, they are being utilized to the fullest. Then there is the state of our medical facilities. Basic healthcare has become a luxury very few can afford in this country. Hospitals don’t have the drugs they require most of the time and this means people aren’t receiving treatment when they need it. Many people are dying from ailments that shouldn’t be resulting in death because of how bad the health system is. Given how bad it is in towns and cities, I can’t even imagine how hospitals and clinics in rural areas are getting by. The whole of Zimbabwe has 14 psychiatrists. FOURTEEN. 14 psychiatrists for a population of about 16 million, 1.3 million of which are recorded psychiatry patients. Development.

I could go on and on and on about things that are actually happening in Zimbabwe, things that show that this development you speak of is a myth. Simply said, the people of Zimbabwe are suffering under your watch. Families are going to bed hungry under your watch. Children are vending under your watch. Communities rely on food aid under your watch. The police have become daylight robbers under your watch. Over 90% of Zimbabweans are unemployed under your watch. Zimbabwe is dying..under your watch! Development.

Yours

Developed Citizen

Image Credit Aljazeera.