Whats next after the Demo Ban?

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By Tariro Senderayi

The second ZRP demo ban prescribed on the 16th of October and as we are several days into it, I cannot help but entertain some malicious thoughts of scenarios in my mind of what is yet to come. Maybe people are so engrossed with trying to survive that they have missed the fact.

I don’t know if people have noticed that the speed at which the demos had gathered momentum over the past few months in Zimbabwe has slowly died down many thanks to the devilishly unconstitutional demo ban that poured cold water on this. In as much as activists from across the political divide had screamed bloody Mary! about the unconstitutional nature of this ban, we were fooled as it actually served its purpose. Were activists hoodwinked once again by the malicious system? What began with activists possessing unrelenting zeal to march this way and that in the streets of Harare in a quest for justice now pretty much resembles a deflated balloon. Unfortunately, all that pent up energy was deflated the moment there was the introduction of not the first ban but the second one.

We are left to wonder what shall be the next course of action as in the past week or two Zimbabwe witnessed the brazen arrogance of our public officials. Arrogance in owning up to having misappropriated funds yet walking away with mere slaps on the wrist and being shielded from the scathing public by the centre of power in Zimbabwe. Ministers have reached a point of defending the indefensible and rubbing it in the faces of Zimbabweans. Frustration is mounting by the day at this inept thieving government as they seem to have lost grip of what their actions or inactions are doing to the citizenry of Zimbabwe.

Not to say that exercising one’s constitutional right to demonstrate that is enshrined in section 59 of the constitution is a bad thing but with the socio economic environment who still has the energy honestly?  With the exhausting bank queues and citizens experiencing the callousness of the system at a personal level maybe people have decided to throw in the towel and welcome their fate with open arms. When these demos began to become a regular show people had become more confident in themselves. People had now realised that they had the power to make public officials uncomfortable. People had reached a point of having a willingness to weather the storm that is tear gas and canon water in its various forms as long as their voices had been heard. Which then brings me back to the question that now that the ban has prescribed will it be business as usual for activists or we have found other means of applying pressure on the gas pedal?

Has it dawned on the people that taking to the streets has yielded very little results or they have regrouped and are actually preparing for the mother of all demos? News from the grapevine has it that various pressure groups are hell bent of carrying out a demonstration against the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education. The objective of this supposed demo is to demand that he pay back the money siphoned in the ZIMDEF scandal, that he step down from public office and that he ultimately faces the music in court. Or maybe people have realised that marching may not yield the anticipated results they have switched strategy. A few days ago members of the #Tajamuka/Sesijikile pressure group took it upon themselves to arrest the Honorable Minister. This never happened as the Minister was conveniently absent from his office attending a cabinet meeting.

At the end of the day the blanket ban seems to have doused the volatile route in which the demos where about to take but is this permanent or temporary? Or will the demos come back in full force in the streets of the capital? Or will the police issue a third ban so that they replenish their dwindling supply of tear gas and canon water? Or citizens are restrategising on what point of action to take? Or the citizens have had it up to there with the inept government they no longer possess that resolute fighting spirit instead are waving their white flags in surrender? So many questions…

#HowTheyRobbedUs: Twimbos pour out their grievances



By Portia Sigauke

Zimbabweans abroad have joined their fellow countrymen on social media voicing their grievances against the Zanu Pf government rule which has rendered many un employed, the cost of living high, alarming corruption levels and many other issues under the hashtag #HowTheyRobbedUs which was started by Phil Chard.

The viral hashtag comes at a crucial time when other viral hashtags like #ThisFlag have decreased momentum. Ordinary Zimbabweeans have found refuge in social media over the years using it as a platform to voice their concerns as the mainstream media down plays their plight.

The Zanu Pf government has been using the police to quell street demos teargassing and assaulting people who dare oppose them.

Celebrities, opinion leaders and people from all walks of life have used #HowTheyRobbedUs to chronicle how the ruling party has stole from them over the years mostly with a flashback on how the government has failed in the past.

Twimbos  have accused the government of dividing people as it has become a one man for himself type of living.

Zanu Pf has been in power since the country’s independence in 1980, over the period of their rule the country has been in a record breaking inflation level which saw many losing their life savings, unemployment keeps increasing as the few companies that remain open are down sizing and eventually closing shop.

Below are some of the extracts of the tweets on #HowTheyRobbedUs 

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Linda Masarira speaks out



By Kalabash Contributor

As one adage goes, the names we get have a bearing on our lives, such may be the case for one Zimbabwean female activist, Linda Tsungirirai Masarira. The term Tsungirirai can be loosely translated to perseverance. Like many of her countrymen she hasn’t had it any easy for some years now as a dark cloud continues to hover upon the land locked nation.

Zimbabwe’s economy has for the longest time been in a record breaking decline, laws have been violated at will due to lack of political will to enforce them. The few ordinary citizens that have spoken up against the government have one way or the other been in and out of jail and the courts.

Kalabash media had a chat with Linda to have an insight on her activism, her personal life, her ideologies and experience in the activism journey that earned her 84 days at Chikurubi Maximum Prison following her arrest in the 6th of July #ShutdownZimbabwe that turned Zimbabwean Cities into Ghost towns.

Her activism journey is one that started off when she was fired from the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) after the she had demanded her money from the statutory company. Being a trade unionist from the NRZ days, it’s safe to say she has been an activist for some time, the activism only accelerated over the years.

“After I got fired from NRZ on 31 July 2015 for fighting for my money that I had worked for, I was a trade unionist at NRZ and when I got fired I just said to myself what is it there left to do than to be the voice of the voiceless because everyone is just under oppression in Zimbabwe so I decided to go into full time activism.”

Since this defining moment she has been one of the few female activists that have found a voice and even joined citizen movement #Tajamuka that has been pressuring the government through protests and other initiatives such as petitions.



Her arrest was for obstruction of vehicles and pedestrians charge, after unknown men in a 4×4 without license plates, identified her and made a call to the police. She overstayed her welcome at the Chikurubi Maximum prison due to an outstanding case on ‘allegations of insulting the officer of the president’ which she had failed to attend the court session in Mutare when she was hospitalized.

On the day of her arrest she recalls being shuffled with other male prisoners, forced to sit in-between each other’s legs.

Another memory that still lingers is one such of a police officer who assaulted her.

“Inspector Kufa Nkomo who arrested me, he severely assaulted me, telling me that ndirikuda kutonga Zimbwbwe, ndirikuvatadzisa kurara kumba and all (I want to rule Zimbabwe, I’m hindering them from sleeping in their homes)”

Nonetheless her arrest has come with somewhat positive feedback, “I actually felt that maybe what we were doing had relevance because the state was reacting in a way that they had to crack down on activists…it was a clear sign that whatever we were doing had impact.”


From her court appearance the final nail on the coffin which sealed her fate was the prosecutor whom she vividly remembers.

“the other reason they denied me bail was the prosecutor, I remember his very words was ‘your worship this women is a state security threat you cannot allow her to wonder in the streets of Zimbabwe let alone Harare’ that’s exactly what he said and I still remember those words.

Life in prison

Speaking on her life in prison Masarira echoes the general consensus from human rights watch dogs, civic society, activists and prisoners.

“The conditions in prison are very inhumane, I used to be accommodated at cell one in Chikurubi female prison, that cell was originally built to accommodate 20 prisoners but they were 45 prisoners in that cell and one toilet with no flashing water.”

Linda says such conditions expose inmates to illness from diseases like TB as there was no ventilation in the overcrowded cell.

She is short for words when she explains the foods so she starts with, “The food” then she sighs be before she moves on to say, “I don’t even know what to say about it, I mean even pigs don’t even eat that” and breaks into laughter.

The menu, “In the morning it was porridge, maize porridge with no sugar, and if we were going to be given tea if Bakers in had brought what they call Gwangwata which is bread that is squashed or nearly rotten you would be given water with no sugar, that’s the tea…Lunch it would be sadza but the sadza now it’s not the sadza we used eating even mugaiwa is better because maybe they use maize that would have gone off I don’t know because the sadza would be brown and it won’t be well done and boiled vegetables with no cooking oil, no salt that’s lunch and supper.”

Sanitary wear has been an issue for women and the female inmates solely rely on donors to come to their aid as they have to improvise in the absence of such.

Linda the person

Like many other activists Linda has a life, she has hobbies, a family and other things ordinary people do. She is a mother of 5, enjoys reading, her favorite novels are the Daniel and Sidrewy collection which she read growing up. She is a widow following the passing away of her first love in 2013.

She says her first kiss was in 1999 and she didn’t enjoy it, she was very young. Before the full throttle activism she used to enjoy a good drink and barbeque in the company of friends, something that changed after her time in prison.

“After I came out of prison, I like re-adjusted my life to suit the activism mode that I am in, I have to be more responsible because I have a lot of people that look up to me so I have kind of changed and more laid back, more focused maybe I have grown older and more responsible.”

Going Foward

Now that she is out on bail she says she will continue in her pathway of activism, speaking truth to power and pushing for change.

“I actually came out more resolute and committed undeterred regardless of what happens to me, I am going to fight on because we need to restore Zimbabwe back to its former glory we cannot continue being used by a clique of few individuals who seem to think that Zimbabwe is personal property.”

How Zimbabwe’s fast track land reform short-changed women



By Tariro Daphne Senderayi

There has been a wave pertaining to an initiative that shall be seeing women from across the African Continent climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in Africa as a call for land rights. There has been the realisation that whilst Africa may have the most progressive legislation that seeks to enhance women’s rights to land, implementation has been very weak. The Kilimanjaro Bay initiative known under the hashtag #Women2Kilimanjaro embarked on the climb this Sunday. I hope Zimbabwe was part of this because we are in agreement that our Government has failed to make land issues gender sensitive and this has resulted in women receiving the short end of the stick.

Picture by: #Women2Kilimanjaro

Picture by: #Women2Kilimanjaro

In the early 2000 Zimbabwe embarked on a unique land reform program that was aimed at empowering the black majority with land that had been possessed by the minority white settler farmers. This was no ordinary land reform program as it was better known as the “fast track land reform program” owing to the speedy and haphazard manner in which it was carried out. Though it was a noble undertaking, it left a big question hanging over our heads as to who exactly got the land? Of the redistributed land what portion did women get (if any)?

It is only prudent for me to start by demystifying the myth that has been doing the rounds that the Zimbabwe land reform programme benefited largely Mugabe’s cronies. Most people are of the belief that only those who had access to elite connections and were benefitting from political patronage were the core beneficiaries. You will be surprised to know that by saying that we are doing a disservice in capturing the real story of the land reform programme because research has shown that the majority of new settlers were and are the ordinary people.

Almost half of all the new settler households are from marginalised communal areas. This is home to people who had little or very poor land in communal areas or where unemployed or with poorly paying jobs. So in as much as we acknowledge that those with the right connections benefitted and continue to do so for the sake of balance we should also highlight that ordinary people too got a share.

However, another fact about this programme is that women received the short end of the stick and continue to do so. Land was allocated unevenly to men and women. In most cases it is the men’s names that appear on the offer letters. For the benefit of those who don’t know what offer letters are, these are the permits issued to new settler farmers by Government.

What is baffling is that as women played a pivotal role during the land grabs or jambanja, they got so little. The role they played was in providing unwavering support to the base camps during the land grab period. Women were the ones who subsequently invested in the development of new homes and farms.

It has come to the fore that only a paltry  12 % of the households had a woman named as the land owner on the permit. The highest proportion of female headed households was in the informal settlements as women often saw the land invasions as an opportunity to make a new independent life and escape abusive relationships or even accusations of witchcraft.

Of concern is the fact that this programme seemed to neglect the fact that women play a pivotal role in subsistence agriculture in Zimbabwe. Actually 86% of the women depend on the land for livelihoods of themselves and their families.

When mapping how to go about the land reform programme Government committed itself to allocate a 20% quota for women. 20% only. This did not make any sense considering that the population of women in Zimbabwe is nearly 60% and that they contribute significantly to the agricultural sector. Disappointingly, Government failed to meet their obligation and this has exacerbated the gender gap in issues to do with ownership and control of land.

There is also need to make mention of the loopholes in the programme that left women at a disadvantage. One being, that there was excessive use of the head of the household concept, who are usually male as the basis of land reallocation.

It is also clear that another factor that has disrupted the equitable distribution of land to men and women is the land tenure system. This system has continued to exclude women from direct access and control of land. As a result of this women continue to lack control over agricultural produce. Since agricultural produce is a major resource and source of income in the rural areas women find it difficult to access finance and farming inputs. The husband in whose name the permit is in regards himself as having proprietary rights over all or any part of the agricultural produce from that land regardless of who worked for it.

As if that is not enough, the driving force behind the land reform program was intended to benefit the landless. This may sound like a good thing but this has worked to the detriment of women because priority was placed on successful candidates selected from the Rural District Council waiting list. Hence, because men dominate in these institutions, women from the get go were and are at a disadvantage in comparison to their male counterparts.

On the issue of the waiting list some accounts indicate that some women seeking allocation of a plot under the fast track land reform program were and are forced to exchange sexual favours to get onto that list. This has left the women on the lower end of the bargaining scale because their male counterparts determine whether or not they meet the criteria of accessing land. Unless and until you are unmarried, widowed, divorced or very unusual circumstances exist, the head of the household is always considered to be the husband. This would mean that on a level playing field women do not stand a chance as they can only access land indirectly through men.

Adding salt to injury, there has been disregard of the tenets of the constitution with regards to the land allocation. Section 23(3) of the supreme law of the land stipulates that when government is implementing any program of land reform, government should treat men and women on an equal basis with respect to the allocation or distribution of land or any rights or interest therein under the program.

The legal framework in Zimbabwe is two pronged that is to say it consists of customary law and general law. When it comes to proprietary rights or land rights we have seen the tendency to adopt the subjective customary law. The application of customary law has worked against the interests of women and should be subject to reform.

Women’s contribution towards food security in Africa is significant but seriously under appreciated. Women as their nature as nurtures adopt methods of farming that are environmental friendly as compared to men. Most of these farming women are stationed in the rural area and also we have seen that most of the vendors selling fresh produce are women in Zimbabwe. So there is need to evaluate the role of women in agricultural labour and question why the land ownership issue does not match up with their pivotal role.

Unless and until Government creates and enabling environment for women to access, own and control land, they have done nothing. Unless Government ensures that land reform is matched with legal literacy training for both men and women on the relationship between law and rural productivity, they have done nothing. Unless Government, uses a needs based approach in assessing the needs of women and men in rural Zimbabwe, they have done nothing. Unless Government revisits its obligation of the quota system in relation to administrative structures that administer land ensuring that women are adequately represented and that their needs are not over looked at all levels, they have done nothing. Finally, unless and until Government mandates itself with reviewing marriage, inheritance and customary laws which favour men and contain obstacles to women receiving rights to land, they have indeed done nothing.

This is food for thought for the Government and let us follow the climb of these women in a bid to secure women’s land tenure rights through the hashtag #Women2Kilimanjaro.

3 lessons celebrities can learn from the Trevor Dongo street fight



By Simba The Comic King

Growing up Trevor Dongo must have been a huge fan of the Street Fighter video game cause a clip of him engaging in a what appears to be a re-enactment of Ken vs. Ryu – The Hwindi, went viral last night.

We are sorry to burst your bubble Trevor but it’s just a game, doesn’t work as well in real life. So how did this whole affair begin? Sources (most likely Trevor himself) claim that an unidentified man grabbed food Trevor had just bought while he was in the company of an unidentified female. It really does suck that Trevor was the only one who seemed to have his I.D on him. Having been incensed, Trevor went all Manyuchi on him unfortunately for him he ended up floating like a punching bag and stung by a hwindi. All I’m trying to saying is he got f**ked up and from this f**ked upness here are the lessons fellow celebs can derive:

1. The Celebrity Always Loses:

Even though Trevor may have been justified in defending his honour and stomach especially considering the fact that the damsel he was with wasn’t gonna give him some if her stomach was distressed, the bottom-line is the celebrity ALWAYS loses. To the media, “every-unidentifiable-else” are just a bunch of losers who helped them get a juicy story on an urban groover and his latest hit (that pun was purely coincidental). They will only ever mention you as the celebrated one. To sell the story media will always make it as negative as they possibly can, after all they say bad news travels faster than good news especially when told by H-Metro or Reuben Barwe. That last bit is not really part of the saying but they should really consider including it.

2. Everywhere else in the world you could make money but in Zim:

In countries like America (and most likely ONLY in f**king America) negative press could help in boosting album sales, movie tickets sales or any other sh***y product produced by a celebrity in fact negative news is like Viagra for them. A good example is the legendary hip hop group, Niggas With Attitude (N.W.A) who were skyrocketed to fame thanks to a letter from the F.B.I. The letter helped N.W.A to become Niggas With (Fat Bank) Accounts. In Zim you lose credibility, endorsements and the only thing you’ll end up being is a Nigga With No Teeth And F**ked Up Reputation. Not a really cool name for a hip hop group.

And finally…..

3. Always hold your food close to your chest:

Celebrity or not clearly these hwindis clearly don’t give a f**k cause it’s not 50 cents patown. Trevor my guy, next time hold those breasts and thighs really close to you. I’m talking about chicken. What did you think I’m talking about you dirty minded reader?

As a celebrated individual remember that when someone provokes you and you react it’s your name that’s gonna be tarnished and not theirs. As infuriating as it might be remember the next guy or girl is a loser who is really frustrated that they’ve never done anything worth mentioning. They are only just celebrities to their mummies. Next time walk away, it’s not worth the ridicule, sleepless nights and black eye gaddhemeti.