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

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.

Why MDC’s 100 Billion Dollar Economy Plan May Actually Work

 

by Simba The Comic King

Whenever election time “looms,” political candidates start promising people crazy s**t if you vote for them like getting your d**k sucked at a bachelor party and all of it will be filmed for the whole world to see how small a d**k you have. Every once in a while though, their promises do make sense but somehow always fall short when it comes to implementation. Implementation is like Kryptonite to Zimbabwean politicians; it scares all the brilliant plans out of them. MDC recently announced their intentions to not only revive the economy but create a 100 billion dollar economy in 100 days as well, now at first when you hear that s**t you’re like, “Holy flying f**ks, is MDC now having their policies written by Simba the Comic King?!” But after a bit of reading into it, you realize that by some crazy chance their plans might actually work because….

Government Will Be Right Sized

In an interview with the Daily News, MDC’s shadow Finance Minister, Tapiwa Mashakada revealed how the MDC will go about s**tting in ZANU PF’s faces assuming ZANU is in the mood to let them take over and they don’t have enough money to hire NIKUV and a few bags of weed to pay rowdy youths. It’s clear how most of Zimbabwe’s problems began when the government started employing ghost workers (and I’m not talking about Casper) who also randomly awarded themselves with bogus positions and salaries that would make you doubt your own existence. Mashakada outlined how they intend to cut down, disperse or more appropriately kick ghost workers the f**k out of government as soon as Tsvangirai is sworn in. By this simple move, their 100 Billion Dollar Economy Plan will be halfway through.

Acting On Corruption

It’s a known fact that most of the rich folks in this country are individuals who have indulged in a wee bit of corruption over the years. MDC has resolved to weed out this corruption in 100 days. The only thing I’d suggest is that they get Lameck to run this department as he’s most likely get all this done in 48 hours.

International Support System

President Mugabe has on many occasions castigated Western Imperialist forces and because Western Imperialist forces have been castigated several times they got to a point where they were like, “Not a problem, here’s some sanctions, let’s see you castigate that.” No country is an island and Zimbabwe desperately needs international support to rebuild the economy. If you think about it MDC is the lesser evil that’s in the best position to achieve this. I mean sure you have other-parties-that-came-out-of-the-woodworks-whose-names-I-don’t-even-remember-cause-they-are-that-irrelevant but what all these other parties have in common is that they do not have a feasible track record. They are just a bunch of wannabe’s who got kicked out of ZANU, leaked sex tapes and thought, “Surely a sex tape will get me sworn into State House?” I’ve always said never trust political parties that are formed when elections are close by cause those f**kers always have a tendency of disappearing like $15 billion dollars when elections are over. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a fan of the MDC but I believe if we are going to vouch for the lesser evil we might as well vouch for them because they are the prospective party to garner much needed financial support by the mere fact that we know where they’ve come been.

Free Primary and Secondary Education

Well this makes a whole lot of sense than bringing goats to school. Zimbabwe is the only country in the world where Mbudzi is a place, phone, month and now they want to make it a currency?! I don’t particularly agree that education should be entirely free but however if they can even cut down fees, even just a bit, this would take the burden off parents who are struggling to make ends meet and at the midst of ends-meeting-struggles, they have to deal with bosses that just won’t pay them their salaries. You are basically caught in between a rock and a hard d**k because on one end you can’t keep going to work for nothing but on the other you can’t spend the whole day with the wife cause she’s not gonna give some to an unemployed bastard so you struggle on and don’t complain lest your employer asks you, “You goat a problem?”

Resuscitation Of Industry

Once upon a time Zimbabwe used to be the home of the mighty ZISCO Steel, then a villain known as ZANU PF challenged their might and destroyed one of the most fundamental structures of the country’s economy…industry. The Movement for Democratic Change envisions a Zimbabwe that will be driven by industrialization and modernization as well as decentralization. Don’t ask me what all of that s**t means cause I just copy and pasted what I read and just by the complicatedness of the words you can tell that s**t makes a whole lot of sense. If MDC succeeds in reopening industries this will mean jobs will be created as well instantly killing two birds with one policy. All revenue will find its way to the Consolidated Revenue Fund and greedy cops who solicit bribes in the name of fundraising will be just about as extinct as dinosaurs and urban grooves.

Like we said earlier, all of these are just plans and plans only make as much sense as the implementation behind them. All we can say whoever you will be voting for in 2018 is up to you but please do make sure you are registered to vote, I mean if you signed up for a Facebook account that’s the least you can do gaddhemeti.

Zim’s Craziest Headlines this Week

 

By Kalabash Contributor

It has been a wet and cold week from Harare one that got many admitting climate change is real. The downpours have stopped (for now) and a bit of sun is shining on the sunshine city.

As we look in the mainstream media, the use of goats to pay school fees has taken an interesting turn of events with Primary and Secondary Education Minister Lazarus Dokora has shed more light on the matter saying the issue was taken out of context what he meant was parents should sell their goats and use the money to pay for school fees. Very genius most parents with livestock hadn’t figured they could do this.

Air Simbabwe or Zimbabwe took another all-time low issuing out handwritten tickets for passengers flying from Johannesburg to Harare.  In the past weeks, there were reports that only one plane of the fleet was operational.

South Africa’s new minister of Police, Fikile Mbalula made careless statements about how Zimbabwe’s ex-soldiers were doing the robberies in South Africa and Zimbabwean doctors working in the kitchens without any statistics to support his words. We feel such reckless statements are what fuel afro phobia amongst Africans and it is such words that spark xenophobic attacks. All the same such events should get us thinking why so many of our Zimbabweans sisters and brothers are beyond our borders trying to make ends meet there.

Zanu Pf’s factional wars took an interesting turn, Kasukuwere survived what many may call the greatest threat to his political career thus far. We still watch from the terraces as these factional wars take interesting twists as we build up to the elections in 2018.