Deliberate

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Press Release from Exist Digital:

The 16th Cape Town International Jazz Festival (CTIJF) takes place this weekend and one of the highlights is a joint performance by two African musical legends, Zimbabwe’s Oliver Mtukudzi and South Africa’s Hugh Masekela. Tuku and Hugh have been working on this collaboration since 2014. It brings together their two brands of music, with new interpretations from each artist as they add new dimensions to well-known songs that have made them international stars. The two artists performed the first iteration of their collaboration at the Soweto Theatre in September last year. There is mutual respect by the two artists of each other’s work. “Oliver is one of the guardians of African Heritage,” Hugh Masekela said during one of their rehearsals. “I respect his hard work and commitment to his culture.” Speaking about Hugh’s contribution to African music, Tuku was just as effusive, “Bra Hugh is one of the best arrangers of music I know. I have admired his music for many years and it is an honour to be able work with him.” Known as ‘Africa’s grandest gathering,’ this year’s CTIJF takes place on 27 and 28 March. Tuku and Hugh provide one of the highlights on the final day of the festival, performing on the main Kippies Stage at 9pm. There are plans to bring it to Zimbabwe as soon as their two calendars will allow. Other artists performing at this year’s CTIJF include Yvonne Chaka Chaka (South Africa), Ringo Madlingozi (SA), Al Jarreau (USA), Dirty Loops (Sweden), Sons of Kemet (UK) and Banz Oester  (Switzerland).

Saviour Kasukuwere’s head in the sand?

Apparently Saviour has taken a local conservationist in his sights over the export of baby elephants. But Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force Chairman Johnny Rodrigues has this to say in response:

By keeping the elephants in Zimbabwe where they belong, there are many advantages:

- It creates employment
- Keeps the hotels, safari parks, taxis etc running
- Enables the locals to sell their curios
- The locals can become shareholders of the wildlife areas and earn commissions from tourism

As a minister who is responsible for water, he can’t even provide the people with water. Many people in Zimbabwe haven’t had municipal water for several years. I live in a medium density suburb and I haven’t had water for 6 years. As a minister responsible for the environment, 55 million hectares of trees have been deforested. All he can think about is selling Zimbabwe’s animals, our future generation’s heritage.

Zimbabwe’s constitutional comedy

Last week the Vice President and Justice Minister of Zimbabwe, Emmerson Mnangagwa defended the issue of women wearing mini skirts. According to NewsDay the VP said that: “We went to war for freedom, fighting so that all people would be free. So the new Constitution speaks of freedom of choice and freedom of expression. What matters are her morals, not dressing, it is her right.”

I got excited. Finally, the activism by women groups for women to have the right to express themselves in their dressing and move freely in public space was being recognized by people in high office.

I saw a few tweets from women celebrating, ‘VaMnangagwa vati tipfeke mani-skirts’ (Mnangagwa says we can wear mini-skirt!). First Lady Dr Grace Mugabe had made similar remarks at the celebration of International Women’s Day and made particular reference to the young lady harassed at 4th Street Bus Terminus last year.

But this feeling did not last for long.

I began to give this whole issue some serious thought. I told my excited self, as a young Zimbabwean woman, am I really excited about having my right to freedom of choice, expression and movement reduced only to how I dress?

What of those who want to express outrage about the system and blow whistles in the streets of any city or town? What of an opposition supporter who burns a ruling party poster or t-shirt? Is the ‘freedom of expression’ purported by our VP ever going to protect these individuals or group of people? Wasn’t this same ‘freedom of expression’ in existence when Itai Dzamara and friends were arrested for their sit in protest at Africa Unity Square?

Section 61 of the Zimbabwean Constitution guarantees everyone the right to freedom of expression, which includes the right to receive and communicate information and the freedom of the media. I know there exist many legal instruments that limit these rights like POSA and AIPPA but as Zimbabweans we ought to read the constitution and understand that it is the supreme law of the land.

And we have a constitutional court to demand our rights!

I watched Camilla Nielsson’s documentary on the constitution making process in Zimbabwe. From the video I saw all the sweat and hard work that was put into the constitution making process. But still today, two years later the constitution is not being honored. Was this just a ploy or game? Guy Lodge, a film critic had this to say about the documentary, “Even the slyest political satire couldn’t outdo this riveting documentary study of Zimbabwe’s troubled coalition government.”

So was our constitution making process just a comedy show, and the world is laughing at us? We need to see all laws realigned to the new constitution and have the Bill of Rights respected in totality. Including the right to safe, clean and potable water, the right to basic health care services, the right to make political choices freely, the right to education and so forth.

Download a copy of the constitution here

The weather

From the most recent Granta newsletter, a beautiful excerpt:

The weather

In the old days in India, the seasons were clear: there was summer, and there was winter. No such thing as spring or autumn. Winter took about three days to transform into summer, and then the heat blazed away for a few months, till it became a bit pleasant, and then cold. The only worry was the monsoon: would the rains come on time, would the crop (mostly dependent on rainfall) survive. Indeed, so crucial was the monsoon that elections have been known to be won and lost on the basis of a good or absent monsoon. But now, there’s no accounting for how the weather will behave, it’s gone crazy. We’ve had nearly winter, and some strange rain and even hailstorms, almost into the middle of March, and now, overnight, summer and the heat. The crop’s destroyed in north India – wheat, mustard and many other things. Farmers are devastated, they’re unable to pay back their loans because they have nothing to sell – and the suicides have already begun. If ever there was evidence of the consequences of climate change, it’s right here, in our lives. – Urvashi Butalia is the co-founder of Kali for Women, India’s first feminist press, and the author of ‘Mona’s Story.’

Press statement from Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) on the continued disappearance of Itai Dzamara, who has been missing for the last 16 days:

As the United Nations commemorated the International Day for the Right to the Truth concerning Gross Human Rights Violations and for the Dignity of Victims on 24 March 2015, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) remains gravely concerned about the continued disappearance of Itai Dzamara, a pro-democracy activist who has been missing for the last 16 days.

Dzamara was abducted by some unidentified men from a barber-shop near his home in Glen Norah at around 11:00 hours on 9 March 2015 for yet to be established motives. The unmarked vehicle used during his abduction has been identified as a white Nissan Hardbody. He has remained missing since then. ZLHR reiterates that those responsible for disappearing Dzamara have committed a very serious crime under international law.

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There is currently a High Court order which obliges the Zimbabwe Republic Police to work closely and in conjunction with lawyers appointed by ZLHR to search for Itai Dzamara at all such places as may be within their jurisdiction in terms of the law and to report progress of such search to the Registrar of the High Court by 1600hours every Friday, fortnightly until his whereabouts have been determined.

As a member state to the United Nations, ZLHR calls on the government to take tangible measures to ensure that:

- The truth about the whereabouts of Dzamara is established and revealed as a matter of urgency;
- Those responsible for this serious human rights violations are held accountable;
- Once found, Dzamara is afforded his own right to truth – the full reasons of his abduction, the exact identities of his abductors, and any relevant details that will enable him to make informed decisions about his remedies.

The Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association has recently published a research paper on the introduction of pre-paid water meters in Bulawayo. In the Executive Summary, they argue:

The key findings of this study are that the decision of the City Council to introduce pre-paid water meters is inspired more by the need for cost recovery. The Council is anticipating improved revenue collection through the introduction of prepaid water meters. Thus prepaid water meters are expected to improve consumer metering and billing, improve water demand management, improve accountability and improve customer confidence and willingness to pay amongst other things. In spite of these perceived advantages the study revealed that the introduction of prepaid water meters infringes on poor people’s right to access potable drinking water; the obtaining socio-economic environment in the country in general and the city in particular do not augur well for the introduction of punitive water demand management tools such as prepaid water meters; basing on precedents in other countries the introduction of prepaid water meters will have adverse social, economic and environmental implications; the capital expenditure levels linked to prepaid water meters do not justify their use as a cost recovery tool.

Download the full paper here

Good idea?

Over the weekend Kubatana sent out a text message to our membership reminding them that 22 March was International World Water Day and asking them if they ever got any water out of their taps.

In reply we got this – thank you for putting us in our place:

Zvemvura hatisi kutombozvotswaga. Tirikutswagawo Our Dear Brother in Struggle ltai Dzamara (We are not looking for water. We are looking for Our Dear Brother in Struggle Itai Dzamara)

Zimbabwe, the country of the unemployed

Remember Zanu PF saying that they’d create over 2 million jobs in the next 5 years if they were elected. Hmm. But then there’s Nigerian billionaire Tony Elumelu who says “he plans to spend $100m to support 10,000 entrepreneurs over the next decade, and to create one million jobs through the initiative.” Zanu PF was just yanking your chain to get your vote but if they were serious about stuff maybe they should give Tony a call.

Nigerian billionaire Tony Elumelu has decided to fund 1,000 budding African entrepreneurs as part of a $100m (£67m) initiative to boost the continent’s private sector. Mr Elumelu said the entrepreneurs were Africa’s “hope for the future”. The 1,000 come from 52 African states and territories and were chosen from some 20,000 applicants. Forbes magazine listed Mr Elumelu last year as the 26th richest African, worth $1bn. The BBC’s Lerato Mbele reports from South Africa’s main city, Johannesburg, that his donation is the largest by a businessman towards the development of small businesses in Africa. “The selection of these 1,000 entrepreneurs brings us closer to our ultimate goal – to drive Africa’s economic and social transformation from within and to radically intensify job creation in Africa,” Mr Elumelu said in a statement. He plans to spend $100m to support 10,000 entrepreneurs over the next decade, and to create one million jobs through the initiative, the statement said. – BBC