Archive for the ‘Africa’ Category
NoViolet Bulawayo's debut novel is a visceral, bittersweet portrayal of life in a Zimbabwe shanty
"Let no one be fooled by the fact that we may write in English, for we intend to do unheard of things with it," said Chinua Achebe, an inspiration for NoViolet Bulawayo, who uses words potently, blending brutality and lyricism in her unflinching, bittersweet story of displacement, We Need New Names. Her narrator, the young girl Darling, and her friends have lost their homes and now live in Paradise, a Zimbabwean shanty, where they steal guavas, witness violent racial tensions, and dream of escape. "I wanted to tell a story that was urgent, that came from the bone," she explains.
"I'm trying to say that we need new identities, new ways of seeing things, new ways of being," says the 31-year-old, who was born in Zimbabwe a year after independence and left for the US at the age of 18. She followed her dream of becoming a writer, earning her MFA at Cornell University and winning the 2011 Caine prize for African writing for a short story. The author chose her own name: "Violet is my mother's name. She died when I was 18 months. It was my way of honouring her memory. Adopting her name gave me peace and some closure," she explains. "Bulawayo is the city of my people. I wasn't able to go home for 13 years which made me nostalgic, and want to connect with the homeland." Connecting is the challenge facing Darling, too, when she journeys to the US to live with her aunt, and learns the powers and pitfalls of technological communication.
Bulawayo searingly captures the traumas of Zimbabwe's "lost decade" (2000-2010) : "Being in the US accorded the distance to look at things with more intimacy," reflects Bulawayo. "Being away made me write from a place of pain. I saw an image of a small kid sitting on a bulldozed home – it broke my heart."
What's important to Bulawayo is "pinning down emotion". She perceptively tackles painful topics from desperation to disease but joy also resonates in her writing: "I was brought up on stories – my grandmother was a storyteller and her stories were laced with humour, so that they were tolerable. It's a tense book but humour reminds us that all is not lost. I'm trying to celebrate humanity."
Zimbabwe set for fresh political chaos as Mugabe decrees date for elections and quashes constitution
Zimbabwe seems poised for a fresh political crisis following Robert Mugabe's declaration of an election for next month which has now been rejected as "unlawful" by his chief rival.
Seeking to extend his 33-year rule Mugabe on Thursday used a presidential decree to bypass parliament and set the long-awaited poll for 31 July.
"Given the deadline imposed by the constitutional court it is inexpedient to await the passage through parliament of an act dealing with the situation," the 89-year-old said in a government notice.
But there was swift and angry reaction from the prime minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, whose Movement for Democratic Change joined the president's Zanu-PF party to form the unity government after the violent 2008 election.
Under the power-sharing agreement they signed then, Tsvangirai said, the president could only act in consultation with the prime minister in announcing election dates.
"President Mugabe's actions are a unilateral and flagrant breach of our constitution and the GPA [global political agreement]," Tsvangirai told journalists in the capital, Harare. "I, as PM, cannot and will not accept this."
Mugabe was also infringing the voter-registration process, disenfranchising first-time voters and denying political parties and Zimbabweans the chance to inspect the much-criticised voters roll, Tsvangirai said.
"The point being made is that president Mugabe has acted unlawfully and unconstitutionally and is deliberately creating and precipitating an unnecessary constitutional crisis. The constitution makes the president the chief upholder and defender of the constitution.
"It is therefore regrettable that the chief defender and upholder has become the chief attacker and abuser of the constitution. Surely, the defender-in-chief cannot become the attacker-in-chief!"
He also accused Mugabe of ignoring a regional mediation process led by South Africa's president, Jacob Zuma. Tsvangirai said crucial reforms to the media and security sector, both of which were seen as favouring Zanu-PF, had yet to be carried out.
"Clearly therefore, the unilateral proclamation made today is a deliberate attempt to stall the reform agenda in Zimbabwe. Without reforms, Zimbabwe is yet again heading to another contested, predatory and illegitimate election."
Referring to the last election in 2008 in which more than 200 people died, he added: "In short, another June 27."
The 61-year-old continued: "I will not accept a situation where Zimbabweans will yet again be railroaded and frog-marched to another illegitimate and violent election.
"The people of Zimbabwe are suffering. Businesses are shutting down, workers are under attack and the economy has frozen. A fraudulent and illegitimate election will deepen the crisis and will not reverse this malaise."
Tsvangirai said he had advised his lawyers to make an urgent court application to reverse the decision and he would appeal to regional mediators to intervene. He argues that Zimbabwe cannot hold elections before 25 August.
Lindiwe Zulu, Zuma's top Zimbabwe negotiator, told Reuters she was flying to Harare on Friday but declined to comment on the election announcement.
According to Mugabe's declaration, legislative and local elections will also take place on 31 July, and a presidential runoff will be held on 11 September if necessary. Opinion polls suggest a close contest between Mugabe and Tsvangirai, making a runoff likely.
Tsvangirai pulled out of the second round of the previous election, accusing the security forces and pro-Mugabe militias of attacking his supporters around the country.
Mugabe has repeatedly dismissed calls for reforms in the security services. Senior generals have vowed their allegiance to him and have refused to salute Tsvangirai since he became prime minister in 2009, arguing he did not take part in the guerilla war that ended colonial rule and gave Mugabe power in 1980.
Campaigners have criticised Mugabe for again denying access to international observers for this year's ballot.
The pressure group Free and Fair Zimbabwe Election said: "The general election will be fiercely contested. It is in the interest of all parties that the process is clean and the result is acceptable and sustainable.
"Given what happened in 2008, when violence and intimidation were among the main features of the campaign, it seems a reasonable expectation that the government would welcome the presence of neutral observers so that all parliamentarians, and their supporters, can accept the result as the fair outcome of a free election in a democracy."
Veritas, a legality research group, said Mugabe's amended election laws still had to be passed by Zimbabwe's parliament.
"Presidential powers cannot be used to do by regulation what the constitution says must be provided for by an act of parliament," the group said.
Exiled Zimbabwean businessman, James Makamba has performed another “Nzveee-kwaAmato”, this time to the Phillippines where he left with a doctorate, the same that was recently handed to ZANU PF MP-aspirant, Phillip Chiyangwa.
He becomes the second Zimbabwean businessman, to receive an Honorary Doctorate by the Philippines’ St Linus University.
The Honorary Doctorate in Business Leadership was awarded to the Telecel boss, Makamba, on the 29th May.
The self-exiled Makamba was accompanied to the Philippines by his wife and daughter who witnessed him receive the award which was presented by one Dr Pythias Chenjerayi Chovava, the University’s Regional President.
An excited Makamba announced on his Facebook page that he would be giving out prizes in celebration.
“In celebrating my Doctorate, I will be giving away many prizes. For example Mega Juice Air Time Vouchers, T Shirts, footballs, caps, umbrellas,” said Makamba.
The same University splashed out a Doctorate in Business Leadership to Prominent Zimbabwean Businessman Phillip Chiyangwa in recognition of “business acumen and sterling contribution to society” .
In the picture: Chamu Chiwanza, Affirmative Action Group (A.A.G) Sr. Vice President and National Chairman of the Zimbabwe Youth Council flanked by Dr. Chowawa and the graduand.
In his congratulatory message, Chamu said “We have come to witness a historic event in the recognition of a leader of empowerment architects, manufacturers of indigenisation with the likes of Philip Chiyangwa and Peter Pamire. This is not a recognition to Dr. Makamba only, but to us all as proponents of empowerment. Thanks for being such an inspiration.”
Share and Enjoy• Facebook • Twitter • Delicious • LinkedIn • StumbleUpon • Add to favorites • Email • RSS
Given the ongoing hubbub and analysis surrounding the recent Constitutional Court judgment for the July 31st election deadline in Zimbabwe, it could be worthwhile to add a few points to the raging debate in the interests of diverse opinions. Such a treatise helps check where our judicial system stands in the contemporary legal order where rule of law and separation of powers issues have congealed and occupied more space on the legal arena by the day since they serve as determinants for democracy.
To start with, the Constitutional Court set a unique precedent that struck a high cord given that the Judiciary issued a directive to the Executive to hold elections by July 31 2013 deadline. By virtue of the doctrine of the separation of powers, the Judiciary, as one of the three arms of government must interpret, and not make the law. From a Constitutional law perspective, the July 31 deadline judgment had a two prong effect. Firstly, it would resemble a rare feat of extreme independence and audacity by the Mugabe-appointed Judiciary to directly order the Mugabe-led Executive to comply with a Judicial order. Secondly, the same historical judgment fell among one of those rare ex parte applications where the Constitutional Court entertains private citizen suits that confront the government on particular issues. Thirdly, such an audacious directive against the Executive raised eyebrows as somehow questionable. Entertainment of such a private citizen suit by the Constitutional Court would test the provisions of the new Constitution as handled through that forum. It would also simultaneously put the rule of law on the spotlight as perceived through the legal prism.
The July 31 deadline judgment emerged a week after judgment on a certain private citizen suit was reserved by the Supreme Court bench. Before the empowerment of the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court could not grant a devolved process request to empower some cluster urban councils through defusing the concentrated power in the hands of the Local Government Minister allegedly noted through his heavy-handed and meddlesome traits at the expense of efficient urban council efficiency. When the judgment was reserved, the message was to respect the prevailing order and not empower citizens with excessive powers. A week later, a citizen had his wish granted as he demanded elections in a matter of a few weeks. That surprised many as the impact of the Constitutional Court was experienced.
While the Constitutional Court judgment on the July 31 plebiscite was initially hailed by many citizens as a breakthrough resembling Pyhric victory as well as a sign of Judicial independence, some legal critics welcomed the judgment with a pinch of salt. First, given the doctrine of separation of powers that expects the three arms of government to function independently of each other, the Constitutional Court as the Judiciary acted ultra vires the separation of powers by ordering the Executive to comply with an election date. Such “commandeering” was eponymous with legislating from the bench. Also, such a rare precedent would, in future potentially open flood gates for other branches of government to be intrusive on the functions of either and create crisis in government.
With respect, the only sound option for the bench to take in that situation could have been to acknowledge and hear the ex parte application from a human rights perspective as corroborated by the new Constitution. After entertaining the arguments, the case could have not been afforded a judgment in black and white. Instead there was supposed to be a reserved judgment accompanied by a recommendation for the Executive to take over and review the issue as conflict of roles would be cited. The Executive would then emerge with a pragmatic solution from its camp to avoid a dangerous precedent with future crisis. Such a recommendation would have eliminated bench legislating allegations, evade a prying stance by the Judiciary on the Executive. Such an option could have respected the implications of the doctrine of separation of powers.
Other critics have taken the judgment as a source of faith and confidence of a lay person in unbridled individual rights or capacity to seek remedies through the Constitutional Court of the land. Others have concluded that the judgment could be a convenient path to expedite elections by the Executive without the much sought after reforms as demanded by the opposition political parties supposed to be in place prior to a free and fair election in Zimbabwe. With such an expedited court-ordered deadline, there is a risk for potential trampling on, and compromise of, voter rights.
Adherence to the July 31 deadline could send the wrong signals to the world as well. A clear upholding of the rule of law could be perceived as progressive or democratic yet the rule was ushered through the wrong forum. Others have argued that the subversion of such a ruling could be tantamount to weakening the agenda of the Constitutional Court because many other rulings could be meant to order compliance and respect of citizen rights by any violators that could include the Executive. Those are two different scenarios altogether. In this capacity, the request for relief is different from issuing directives. The Constitutional Court serves the interests of the ordinary citizen in upholding citizen rights through the black letter provisions of the august document as the supreme operating manual for the nation. That means the Constitutional Court guards and guarantees upholding of the provisions of the Constitution but that role does not create leeway to breach the separation of powers doctrine. That’s when the rule of law comes to play because each arm of government has a mandate to be civil and must honor its role, duties and functions without commandeering the other wing. Such a strait-jacket co-existence and non-meddlesome approach promotes the synergy of government to forge a common system that caters for national interests through respect of the functions of each arm.
In conclusion, and with due respect, the July 31 Constitutional Court judgment as followed through the two dissenting opinions from the bench, could have established long term issues on the doctrine of separation of powers. Simultaneously, without a fair voting field, the emergent result from such a timed election could be a compromised product not truly illustrative of the people’s wishes as they may go for elections without a fully-conducive environment. With six weeks left before July 31, there are certain conditions of fairness that cannot be met within such a limited time frame. While the Judiciary was supposed to be independent, the Executive could still have wielded the capacity to pick exact dates and decide the way forward through Executive Orders.Tweet
Share and Enjoy• Facebook • Twitter • Delicious • LinkedIn • StumbleUpon • Add to favorites • Email • RSS
The highly controversial Zimbabwe representative in the current Big Brother Africa House Pokello Nare is up for eviction just as it emerges that she has a ten year old son who is currently motherless across the Limpopo.
Pokello who in the past few days stunned the whole world with her sexually outward acts has received condemnation from the outside world and close mates within the big brother house. The immoral Pokello is being labelled a bully, she has been described as” controlling and wanting things to go her own way all the time”.
The next few days might see the Zimbabwean contestant being kicked out of the house not only by outsiders but by her own mates in the house. Vivid video footage was broadcast of the Zimbabwean lass showing off her body parts in ways that are shameful to the general Zimbabwean and African culture.
Pokello`s son Motherless
Social workers and scientists have raised concerns about Pokello`s vulnerable son who it is believed has already seen footage of his mother having fleshly intimacy with Zimbabwean musician Desmond Chideme aka Stunner.
A social worker in Marondera who declined to be named for fesr of victimisation has said: “Pokello`s image has been dented and she has violated her motherhood.”
In the Western world her child would be taken away and put up for care. In Zimbabwe it appears she will not be touched, something has to change one day. Legislators should draft a law that punishes mothers who compromise and bring their motherhood into jeopardy such as Pokello.
Negative impacts on the child are set to continue as the child progresses into adulthood and this will see him being bullied and traumatised for life and may lead to drug and alcohol abuse to suppress the shame. It may take eternity to erase this from his mind. It may also lead him to joining gangs and this is known to have very serious impact on his social standing in society.
The poor young boy may end up killing people or may become a serious criminal.
Experts in child abuse cases and other related cases recommend intensive counselling and mentoring for children exposed to sexual exposure which involves their parents.
“Pokello arikuda kuita mari nedemo, dai ari mumwe akabva anyarara panekuzviburitsa pachena kunge driver we tractor” said Benjamin Sithole from ZANU Ndonga.Tweet
Share and Enjoy• Facebook • Twitter • Delicious • LinkedIn • StumbleUpon • Add to favorites • Email • RSS
Rare show of unity by opposition parties could raise prospect of grand coalition to take on Robert Mugabe
Zimbabwe's fragmented opposition to the president, Robert Mugabe, has joined forces to reject a court ruling that elections must be held by the end of next month.
The rare show of unity by parties including the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) could raise the prospect of a grand coalition to take on Mugabe's Zanu-PF party at the polls.
Zimbabwe's constitutional court last week ordered that elections should take place by the end of July, a decision that suits Mugabe better than his rivals.
But on Wednesday five parties – the MDC, led by the prime minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, a breakaway MDC under Welshman Ncube, Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn led by the former government minister Simba Makoni, Zapu and Zanu Ndonga – "expressed reservations about the practicality" of the deadline with many crucial reforms still outstanding.
The leaders complained that there was not enough time for proper voter registration. Justice Rita Makarau, the head of the Zimbabwe electoral commission, was this week quoted by the NewsDay newspaper as saying "the voters' roll is in shambles".
The parties also want changes to laws they believe inhibit freedom of association, movement, expression and the media. They have called for the security sector to be reformed in line with the new constitution, which demands neutrality.
A report this week by Human Rights Watch warned that, as in past elections, the security forces remain loyal to Mugabe and Zanu-PF. It said its investigations found that the Zimbabwean army deployed soldiers across the country, intimidating, beating, and abusing perceived supporters of the MDC or those critical of the government.
"With the security forces right up to the top leaders threatening and attacking Mugabe's perceived opponents, Zimbabweans have little faith in the upcoming elections," said Tiseke Kasambala, Africa advocacy director at the watchdog.
The constitutional court's ruling last week came in response to a case brought by a journalist and democracy activist, Jealousy Mawarire. After meeting in Harare, the five leaders said the court's action, "ironically supposedly informed by the desire to safeguard the rights of the individual applicant, has resulted in the infringement of the rights of millions of Zimbabweans".
They said they would appeal to the Southern African Development Community, the regional body consisting of 15 southern African countries, to ensure the election roadmap is followed. A special summit is due to be held in Mozambique on Sunday.
A unified opposition might pose a serious challenge to Mugabe's 33-year rule. The rupture within the MDC has dented its image and raised fears of splitting the anti-Mugabe vote. The revived Zapu has been seen by some as a potential threat to Tsvangirai in Matebeleland and Midlands provinces.