Thursday, 20 March 2014

ZANU PF: The Cornerstones of the Great Zimbabwe Foundations

The Opposition has descended into a catastrophic
 comedy of errors 
As we speak an empowered and economically liberated majority has been emerging at the same time as opposition politics in Zimbabwe has been descending into catastrophic comedy errors. The truth of the matter is that Zimbabwe lacks real opposition and a credible alternative to the ruling revolutionary party. The country is endowed with a mediocre opposition with no ideological foundations, no vision, no values and all they have to offer the electorate are substance-free empty proclamations of democracy, rule of law and civil liberties.

Some opportunistic opposition options have sprouted internally and externally in the diaspora on the frail foundations of the ‘Mugabe-must-go’ money-spinning ‘ideology’ with very little in terms of substance and structures. As the reality of ownership and economic empowerment becomes concrete and absolute and as the opposition continue to fail dismally, the reality of ZANU PF dominating Zimbabwean politics for a very long time becomes less and less abstract.

The country deserves a genuine opposition built on real values, deep-rooted, home-grown and home-focused cornerstones. Any citizen would want a solid opposition to the ruling party,  to keep the ruling party in check, to switch if need be should the ruling party fail to deliver but still remain assured that the country’s vision and direction remains home-orientated and not paraded on the neo-colonial commercial hub to the highest bidder.

There is no place for an opposition which seeks to employ
 a neo-colonial structure which seeks to erode the authentic
African Vision
 An opposition that can define and direct the country’s vision forwards as opposed to unworldly and oblivious preoccupations with aiding and abetting the reinstatement of a neo-colonial structure which seeks to erode the authentic African vision and replace it with exploitation-engineered craftiness camouflaged as counterfeit claims to African development. A ‘Mugabe-must-go-obsessed’ opposition is structurally and strategically flawed and an authentic opposition must go beyond the ideologically-defunct money-focused schemes tendered as alternatives to the ruling party. Surely if a mere substance-devoid outcry for the removal of President Mugabe is all it takes to tread the corridors of Zimbabwean power then State House would be heaving with Presidents of all colours and creeds right now. 

The fact of the matter is that Zimbabwe is not going to have that sort of opposition for a very long time. It takes time and commitment to crotchet the principles, the vision and values that ZANU PF has and is still patching and I am afraid the opposition in Zimbabwe is still a century away from the ruling party position.

ZANU PF has roots and we are talking of taproot foundations entangled in and around with the walls of the Great Zimbabwe and beyond. ZANU PF breathes the same sacred air as the ancestors who laid the original underpinning substructures and values that define this country. The party embodies and defines the inception of Zimbabwe and its vision is enshrined in its ideology, the country-defining vision which anchors, binds and shapes the nation as a whole. There is a bona fide wholesomeness, a profound and tangible trajectory to pass on for present and future national augmentation. Now that is the ZANU PF picture and reality merged into one.

That being said, the party is not entirely without flaws, some have snoozed on the job as evidenced by the recent revelations and emerging sleaze and salary scandals. Yes action is being taken but this is where my point about real opposition comes in. If ZANU PF fails to deliver there should be available that option of switching, temporarily or permanently but still remain assured that national direction remains unaltered, the defining foundations of this country remain entrenched and the nucleus of this country’s vision is shielded and secured with fortified fiestness. 

Confusion reigns in the opposition with the leaders being
accused of being the architects of chaos
If you look around for that sort of opposition what you are confronted with is a party with a man with no direction or roots and on the other side is some diaspora outfits with dollar-bill-inscribed pupils dilated with overzealous obviousness. Zimbabwean opposition politics is in an ideological hollow zone, existing but non-existent, bottom line is wholly unconvincing; bend over backwards and forwards to the whims of the neo-colonial command and confines. It takes more than a Stella Artois-inspired oppositional formation moment somewhere in the Scottish Highlands to define the course of a nation.

If you look at the past, repetitive and current compelling bedroom and political malfunctions, opposition politics is going to require at least thirty years to harness all the discerning voices and start engraining collective national aspirations as ZANU PF has done. Elton Mangoma was recently chastised and threatened for clamouring for that reinvention and renewal and my point exactly. 

ZANU PF remains the People's choice
As the ZANU PF political patchwork gathers pace, the oppositional structures are unravelling with cataclysmic inevitability. There is absolutely nothing to dislodge ZANU PF from helm for the next century. The opposition and the continent can only emulate the revolutionary party!


Cde Benard Bwoni writes in his own representative capacity. He can be contacted on

The Birmingham Branch Chairman's speech delivered at the ZANU – PF West Midlands General Consultative Meeting, Birmingham, Saturday 15th March, 2014.

The ZANU PF UK Birmigham Chairman:
Cde George Nhera
We congregate here today, under the banner of the ZANU-PF West Midlands General Consultative meeting, the theme of which is to move Zimbabweans of all walks of life in the UK, towards a progressive socio-economic and political dispensation that conspicuously points us towards a more prosperous future in our motherland, Zimbabwe.

This meeting takes place against the background of ZANU-PF having facilitated and equally delivered universal suffrage to all Zimbabweans without fear or favour, nearly 34 years ago, through the selfless sacrifices of our ZANLA and ZIPRA forces under the unfailing and  collective leadership of ZANU and ZAPU, which amalgamated to form ZANU-PF on 22nd December 1987.

It goes without saying Cdes, that it is through these sacrifices on the part of our gallant liberation war heroes, that as Zimbabweans we now have the right to freely determine our destiny, including the right to discuss and debate on how each one of us, as individuals or groups, can actively participate in the restructuring of the Zimbabwean economy, largely destabilised through the co-ordinated efforts of neo-colonialism and regime change agenda surrogates and or sponsors operating under the thinly veiled guise of democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

Universal Suffrage was achieved through personal
sacrifices of our ZANLA and ZIPRA Forces :
led by Cde  RG Mugabe and Cde J Nkomo
As we engage in progressive discussion(s) today we must not loose sight of the fact that it is this party that has provided opportunities through deliberate initiatives grounded in the principle of self determination, such as the Land Reform Programme popularly billed as the 'third chimurenga' widely acknowledged as a major source of economic emancipation and prosperity for all its beneficiaries; in place of 3500 beneficiaries of the discriminate apartheid-style colonial rule, ZANU-PF resettled more than 300 000 indigenous Zimbabweans on 12 117 000 hectares of largely productive agricultural land.

To consolidate the land reform programme, the theme of the ZANU-PF Election Manifesto for 2013 focused on indigenisation, empowerment, development and employment creation for all Zimbabweans. It is imperative, Cdes that as we focus on today’s theme, which is a product of the our last election manifesto, we must, in the end be clear on how, as patriotic Zimbabweans in the diaspora, we can actively participate and benefit from the land reform programme and other socio-economic opportunities being benevolently created through our party .
It is also paramount Cdes  that we actively listen and engage in day's presentations which will focus on the investment climate in our country, itself a manifestation of  Zimbabwe’s five-year  socio-economic blue-print, the Zimbabwe Agenda for Socio-Economic Transformation, popularly known as the ZIMASSET.

Fellow compatriots remember, none but our selves will free our economy. Active and meaningful investment in Zimbabwe’s economy begins with me, begins with you and begins with all of us as patriotic Zimbabweans. Thank you, and welcome.


Cde George Nhera is the Chairperson for ZANU-PF UK Birmingham Branch.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Of MDC-T’s Strategic Partners and the Truth

Victimised- Mangoma and Biti: Their revelations are
 "jeopardising" the MDC' position with donors who
 had been sold the"Nikuv" myth
LOST in the hullabaloo about Elton Mangoma and the sideshow that Morgan Tsvangirai and his ragtag party is a claim made by their official spokespersons on more than one occasion: namely that Mangoma’s “utterances are jeopardising our position with our strategic partners”. 
Now, most people quickly interpreted this to mean that Tendai Biti’s assertion that the party lost the July 31 elections to a better team were affecting the MDC’s position with its donors.

Indeed, the MDC officials that have been willing to speak at all about this have not dispelled this impression, leading us down the garden path because the truth is more treasonous.
Strategic partners or just causing a headache? : Ian Kay and Roy Bennet 
Is it perhaps the Rhodesian farmers that lost out when we took back our land and were falling over each other to donate money to the MDC? Bennett and Kay? At one time Bennett referred to government ministers in these terms “Mugabe and his monkeys” and not a single MDC person thought there was something slightly wrong with that particular statement.
The MDC is happy to see fellow Zimbabweans insulted in racist terms because they dare not call out racism when they see it. It might upset their strategic partners. When given a chance to nominate people for ministerial office, Tsvangirai decided that the same Bennett was the best person for Deputy Minister of Agriculture! Please. Forget that the man was a fugitive at the time, but we fought two wars to remove these people and their kin from our land and you want to make one of them next in charge of the same land?
Of course, having been absent without valid excuse from the fight for liberation, Tsvangirai does not get how insulting that gesture was to those that took part. Then again, he had strategic partners to please, didn’t he? Who are they again?
The "Embarrassing Uncle" Tony Blair who revealed that the
 British Government is working with the MDC to effect
regime change
I would like to posit that the statement is not about donors at all, but about the EU, the British government and the United States. These are the MDC’s partners in the regime change agenda. It is not in their interests that the people in their countries are told the truth, otherwise they might start asking why it was necessary to maintain sanctions on Zimbabwe when the opposition there was accepting the result of the election.
Zimbabwe as a pariah, Mugabe as a dictator, that lie must be maintained, even when it defies all logic and has no facts to back it up.
I can imagine that there must have been some serious kuchema nokugedageda kwemeno when it became apparent that the Nikuv lie was unravelling.
For someone as close to the top as Biti (and his puppet, Mangoma, if Messrs Obert Gutu, Chalton Hwende and Casten Matewu are to be believed) to come out and say that there was no rigging was a game changer.
It took away the whole basis for the cloud of illegitimacy that they have constructed against our Government. It forces them to deal with the Zimbabwe Government instead of condemning the “Mugabe regime”. A validly elected government cannot be subjected to sanctions. Sanctions needed to be maintained, the strategic partners had to be protected. Mangoma had to be stopped.
There is reason for this conclusion. Only a few weeks back, Cameron was haranguing the EU about lifting sanctions, asking that these be maintained and in the face of failure, finally extracting a concession that they be maintained against President Mugabe.
The reason for that is easy to see: having engineered the siege against our economy since that unfortunate letter from Claire Short in November 1997 denying British responsibility for colonising our country, the British have had no other aim but regime change in Zimbabwe.
In Tsvangirai they have a tried and tested lackey, one that has already shown, by staying behind to serve his white masters during the liberation struggle, that he is a dependable “boy’. Claire Short in her letter referred to her Irish roots, I wonder if they call him “Tsvangson McStupid” behind his back.
We know of course that over the years, the MDC has written to the British government asking them to intervene in our internal affairs. One letter included the curious claim that “We would like to request that the British government pursue diplomatic initiatives to help release of Mr Madzore and other political prisoners in Zimbabwe,” despite the fact that those whose release they sought were being accused of criminal, not political, offences. Diplomatic initiatives, huh? Supplicants pleading unashamedly to their master.
I never heard of such a letter being sent to Togo, or Benin. What is it about the British that makes them so special to the MDC that they have to run to them and cry for help? Of course, the white master responds with sanctions, but no internal intervention, which was what the letters really wanted.
Having failed to gain much traction with those campaigns, the MDC seems to have decided that perhaps it was not being enough of a “good boy” to curry favour with the British and has now embarked on a policy aimed at further convincing them of its loyalty.
That, it seems, involves purging the party of anyone that dares speak the truth, because doing so will jeopardise this aim. Mangoma cannot possibly be kept in the party if the British are to be pleased. Biti saying that Zanu-PF won fairly makes him Mangoma’s puppeteer. It’s a circus, only no-one is laughing.
It has always been obvious of course that the MDC accepts the legitimacy of the elections, even if their posturing to their paymasters says otherwise. Soon after the elections, Tsvangirai went on record claiming that the MDC “would not legitimise government institutions resulting from this election and will not take part in them”.
We were inundated with claims about “disengagement” and “tongai tivone”, the former supposedly involving MDC MPs boycotting Parliament.
MDC MPs took their oaths and are participating in
parliament despite the call for disengagement from Tsvangirai
But Parliament was opened with all MDC MPs disengaging from their leader’s utterances by showing up and taking up committee positions in that august house and generally making a nuisance of themselves by condemning the same institution that they belonged to.
Tsvangirai, it turns out, had said that statement during his proverbial “Foot-In-Mouth’’ episodes, the same condition that leaves him prone to leading with his mouth with no brain behind.
As the fabric of their lies unravel, as every right thinking person’s views on the elections gets confirmed, as they fall over each other to confess, the only relevant question they need to be asking themselves is this: how much money do they owe Nikuv for defaming it’s name?
The British invaded Zimbabwe and forced local people
off their land without compensation and
raped the country of its resources
After the elections, we were told by the British through William Hague that they had “deep and deep concerns” about the poll. Of course, we too have our own concerns. Like we have concerns about them colonising our country for 90 years and raping it of its resources for no recompense. Like we have concerns about them promising to fund the land redistribution process as a ploy to have us accept the willing buyer willing seller rubbish in the Lancaster House constitution only to renege on the basis that, according to Claire Short, “the British Government does not accept colonial responsibility” because, didn’t you know it, its Government included Irish people whose country was also once colonised!
Like we have concerns about them going about trying to sponsor regime change through the MDC, then having failed, trying to get Mbeki on board for a violent overthrow of our government.
I guess our concerns are just not “grave” or “deep” enough to matter.
Daily, the MDC holds rallies at will, in the full view of the Press and cries about lack of political freedom. Daily, MDC supporters congregate around Harvest House and cry about laws against peaceful gatherings and protest. Daily, MDC officials issue invective and vitriol against Government and cry about lack of freedom of expression.

What, pray-tell, do you want to happen for you to be satisfied that you live in a peaceful and tolerant society? Daily, people issue statements suggesting that they will be happy to see our economy fail, and no-one accuses them of sabotage.

The racist Smith regime practiced apartheid, abused
black people, arrested and detained them :
  and some in the MDC have the audacity to say it was better 
We are fed the rubbish that “many say that Smith was better”. Really, who are these many? Smith used to arrest and deport those that criticised him but happened to be white, like Donal Lamont and others. Those with a slightly darker skin were just arrested and detained, and sent to places like Gonakudzingwa.

And he was better? Says who? The strategic partners? And who, pray-tell, are these strategic partners?

Tinomudaishe Chinyoka is a UK based lawyer and prominent former student leader. He writes in his personal capacity.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

The Truth Shall Set You Free

Sometimes, it is possible for people to tell a lie so well that not only do they get the people listening fooled, but that the liars themselves start to believe it as fact. When that happens, reality becomes blurred and fact and fiction mesh together into a web that creates its own reality, so much that when the truth eventually emerges, it runs the risk of being mistaken for the lie.

This, in any case, is what seems to have happened to that lie about NIKUV. If you are a Zimbabwean, you will know that there is an Israeli company called Nikuv, that apparently helped the Zanu PF party to win the last elections through systematic vote rigging and the use of some strangely mutating ballots from China. Apparently, the Israelis have no qualms doing business with the Chinese.

Which is why it must have come as a surprise to many when Tendai Biti, the MDC’s Secretary General, gave a speech in which he stated:

ZANU PF had a simple message - bhora mugedhi
Zanu in the last election had a very simple message, bhora mugedhi, Even a little woman in Chendambuya or Dotito just knew one thing, bhora mugedhi. Perhaps we were too sophisticated, but what was our message because the message of change of 2000 is not the message for now. We were selling hopes and dreams when Zanu PF was selling practical realities. We (Zanu PF) are going to give you a farm, it’s there. We are going to give you $5 000 through (Saviour) Kasukuwere’s ministry. The MDC needed to marry the message of hope and immediate delivery if it is going to win an election. How do we transit and balance the message of hope with the message of immediate delivery? I think we didn’t do well in 2013 (elections). A message is a slogan, it’s mascara and it’s a makeup. What is the substance? This is where we need to articulate an alternative value system. What was our position on indigenisation? We had JUICE, yes, it was good but trying to explain it to Mai Ezra in Chendambuya, you understand what I am saying? So the issue of articulating an alternative discourse which is walked and lived is very important.

The  "JUICE" message was unclear and did not resonate with the people

Of course, I seem to recall saying, on 6 August 2013, less than a week after those elections, exactly the same thing: 

The MDC went into this election without a plan, without a slogan, without a prayer in hell of winning. Flashing stupid cards with a 90 on them, in a country where our culture reveres age because it is a sign of wisdom, just shows that your campaign is being planned from Whitehall in London and the State Department in Washington DC.
The President, uncounted degrees and copious knowledge intact, humbles himself and goes to attend an Apostolic church service, and you mock him? Because he did not seek to make himself bigger than these people but chose instead to respect them? Then you complain when they vote for him? Please, somebody pinch me that I might stop laughing.
Your opponent comes up with a 51-49 plan, which seeks to restore our wealth to the people, and you denigrate it because you don’t want to lose the support of your donors and the friendship of the Selous Scouts and Rhodies in your party, even though the policy would enrich your own supporters? You don’t answer that argument by saying hee-e, we will not follow this indigenisation action or whatnot. Because hee-e, we have Juice and CoSEZ. Juice will give you jobs, Juice will give you human rights, CoSEZ will give you better elections.
Yeah, right.
Someone comes around and says I am taking resources from foreigners and giving them to you, and your answer is some foolish childish slogan that sounds like you are selling lollipops?
That’s just telling people that you don’t care. Hee-e, we will do a land audit, hee-e, “The MDC’s jobs plan entitled Jobs, Upliftment Investment Capital and the Environment (Juice) is a comprehensive plan for the generation of decent jobs that will not only end poverty but also empower citizens. Juice advocates for a Broad Based Economic (BBE) upliftment of citizens by expanding people’s choices in attaining sustainable livelihoods not through asset striping and looting. “Zimbabweans who are committed to sustainable development know that our soceity can do better if we can combine job creation with durable human upliftment, sustained investment capital and respect for our environment.”
Well, so we know you can’t spell the word “society”, but please! People want food on their table. They want to send their children to school, and see those children make money. They want clinics that work. The other guy just promised them a way out, a tangible solution, and you start waffling about comprehensive plan this and sustainable livelihoods that? Save that for your donors, when you go to those swanky hotels that you like to go to and get little girls pregnant, but please, tell us how the other guy giving people land or a mine is not such a good idea, will you?(
Of course, not being one to say ‘I told you so,’ all I will just say is, I told you so!
But, as refreshing as it is to see others come to your point of view, this statement from Tendai Biti follows the now infamous letters from Elton Mangoma, who, like Biti in all likelihood, is soon to be expelled from the MDC. In those statements, he points to leadership failure and other internal issues as the reason why the election was lost.
NIKUV specialises in identity, electoral and
 government systems and has held a government
contract since as far back as 1995
The MDC, obviously intent on preserving face and keeping the Nikuv lie going, identifies these statements for what they really are: a threat to the lie. So, instead of dealing with the issues raised, instead of looking to get guidance from these opinions, the party machinery is aimed at those that dare to voice a dissenting voice. The reason for this is simple: the lie needs to be preserved. Their statement after Mangoma was suspended (pending dismissal from the party obviously) is right on the money: 
The actions by Mangoma have seriously undermined our relationship with strategic partners. It is also further noticed that his behaviour and attitude undermines the party position that the July 31 elections were stolen.”
So, you get suspended if you depart from the obviously false line that the July 31 election was stolen. Having failed to bring a single successful case in Court to prove the alleged rigging, and hemorrhaging supporters due to ineffectual leadership, wasting time holding rallies in safe constituencies, the MDC appears to have zeroed in on a winning plan: keep talking about the July 31 2013 election as having been stolen so that come next election time, the people will look to ...... Do what exactly?

Forget that this is a party that claims to be a broad based movement (which entails many people with differing views), or that it claims to be democratic (which suggest more than lip service to different opinions) and for change (which means something different from Rhodesia Front tactics of expelling members that think differently from the leader). Forget that this is a party that claims to be a party of excellence, yet seems to excel only in confounding reason with half thought-out plans and a seriously large capacity to breed sycophants and bootlickers. 

Biti and Mangoma - hounded
How else do you explain the penchant for hounding people like Tendai Biti and Elton Mangoma  and keeping Nelson Chamisa unless you factor in that the latter thinks Tsvangirai is God anointed while Biti and Mangoma clearly do not? How else to understand the expulsion of Munyaradzi Gwisai and the elevation of Teresa Makone? How else to explain Tsvangirai going to London and saying
"Let me tell you that Zimbabweans must come home" and then being comfortable with his relative and former girlfriend in Germany and Australia respectively claiming that they cannot go back home for fear of persecution by the government that they have been serving. Are we to believe that they took these decisions without first talking to him?

Morgan Tsvangirai has become a personality cult ...
The sad truth is that the MDC under Morgan Tsvangirai has become a personality cult. The sad truth is that because of it’s cultish status, the MDC has long since stopped working in the interests of Zimbabwe, but for Tsvangirai and his coterie of relatives, sycophants, girlfriends, bootlickers and other hangers-on, at the expense of our nation.

Why does this matter to non-MDC supporters? The cynic will think that it does not, but it does. The Nikuv lies are the reason that the West uses to refuse to accept the legitimacy of our validly elected government. The lies about electoral rigging are the reason why we still have sanctions. (Let’s not get into that inane debate about sanctions being a small issue: if they were, why have them?) The lie about rigging is the reason why our country continues to be regarded as a pariah. It is the reason why we cannot accept international capital, why we are forced to run a cash first economy at great cost to our resource base.

The MDC owes it to our nation to come clean on the elections. It is clear from the statements coming out of their inner circle that they never did believe the Nikuv lie anyway. They know that they lost the election because of a flawed leadership and a flawed agenda. They sold the Nikuv lie to save face, but now that the wheels are coming off their vehicle of expediency, they are happy to throw the truth around in their personal battles. Their official statement about Mangoma, confirming that they fear that his statements undermine their official line, shows the cynical manipulation of facts for party policy.

That needs to change. The people of Zimbabwe are owed the truth, and it comes in the form of a simple admission: The MDC lost the election to a better organised and better led party. That truth will not only free our country from the cloud of illegitimacy that the MDC lies have consigned us to, but will set the MDC free on a path to try and win the election in 2018. If they can find a leader that is, which clearly they have no hope of doing anytime this century.

The truth shall set them free to try, at least. 


Tinomudaishe Chinyoka is a UK based lawyer and prominent former student leader. He writes in his personal capacity.

Saturday, 8 March 2014

How Empowered is the Zimbabwean Woman Today?

How Empowered is the Zimbabwean Woman Today?

Kabeer (2001) views women’s empowerment as a process through which women gain the ability to take ownership and control of their lives.

In 1995, the Zimbabwe Government created the Ministry of Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development to oversee coordination of all gender programmes and to facilitate gender mainstreaming in all sector ministries. Moreover, so that Zimbabwe's women can inherit wealth and ascend to traditional Chieftainships without gender hindrances.

The Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development, Government of Zimbabwe (2004) defined empowerment as the creation and expansion of one’s knowledge, skills decision making and other power bases that gives individuals the capacity and capability to exercise influence and leadership on their own.

Briefly, the key elements of empowerment that are of paramount importance, are the expansion of choices, capabilities and ability to make those strategic choices and control over resources and means of production.

On the political front, Zimbabwe has also made considerable progress in
implementing the provisions of the stand alone SADC Protocol on Gender
Development and has become one of the pioneers in the region in terms of enhancing women's full participation in the governance and political institutions of society such as Parliament and the judiciary. As part of this effort, the Zimbabwean Government is addressing the gaps in gender representation in governance and political institutions of the country. In this regard, the Government continues to promote proportional representation in the legislative assembly as a means of politically empowering women.

Political parties in Zimbabwe have adopted a quota system which has seen an increase in women's representation in politics even though this is still below the 30% quota set by the African Union and the 50% gender parity set in the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development.

While domestic violence is a social ill that continues to inflict immeasurable social costs within our Zimbabwean society, Zimbabwe has made strides to eliminate violence against women and this was done through the legislation of the Domestic Violence Act in 2007. However, pervasive inequalities still exist and a lot still needs to be done to achieve set targets.

As part of its ongoing commitment to empower women, on 19 July 2012, the Government of Zimbabwe launched the Broad Based Women's
Economic Empowerment Framework (BBWEE) which is a medium-term
development plan whose principal objective is gender equality and
the empowerment of women in all sectors of the national economy.

The framework outlines key strategies on how to fully integrate women in the entire value chain of the economic sectors in line with the Indigenization and Empowerment Act as well as other regional and international gender mainstreaming instruments such as the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development as well as CEDAW.

Zimbabwe recently introduced the Gender Responsive
Economic Policy Management Initiative (GEPMI) whose goal is to equip
local policy makers, economists, budget officers and other development
practitioners with the expertise and ability to mainstream gender aspects into economic development policy formulations.

Zimbabwe is proud to be among the first five African states to introduce the initiative and we are confident that it will go a long way in overcoming gender imbalances in our national economic development and the support being extended to it by various stakeholders and partners in its effort to advance the status of women in the country.

Zimbabwe has made great strides in empowering women, whose achievements can be seen in industry, education, business and many other fields.

The 2010 to 2020 period has been declared the African Women’s Decade.

Though the idea of a women’s decade had been muted by the United Nations (UN) back in 1975, it had to take years for Africa to implement it.

Two years into the African Women’s Decade, Joyce Banda became Malawi’s first woman president while former South Africa’s Home Affairs Minister, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma became the chairperson of the African Union Commission.

In 2006, Shirleen Johnson had become the first female president of Liberia.

But two years earlier, Zimbabwe had advanced the cause of women by appointing Cde Joyce Mujuru as the country’s first female vice president.  Cde Mujuru however is not the only Zimbabwean woman who has been empowered by the system.  Through education and deliberate policies, many Zimbabwean women have been uplifted to powerful positions.

Zimbabwe’s first female university vice chancellor, Professor Primrose Kurasha is one of those. Recently, she won three world education congress global awards in India in recognition of her excellent work in education.

Another achiever, Codchem Pvt Ltd Managing Director and Zimbabwe Tourism Authority board chairperson, Mrs. Marah Hativagone says, “ the government after independence enacted laws to protect women, acknowledging the capability of women in reviving the country’s economy and positively impacting on their families, communities, nations and even the world at large”.

Zimbabwe has successfully advanced the legal and educational status of women removing certain gender barriers. In addition, technology within various economic sectors, including tourism, has advanced enough to make certain tasks less
labour intensive, helping facilitate the removal of gender affiliated barriers.

Despite these advancements, men continue to dominate certain sub-sectors. In analyzing why this was so women agreed that other reasons such as exposure/limited information about certain sectors, lack of strategic resources, the procedures and financial matters were more critical barriers in Zimbabwe than gender perceptions.

Educated and skillful women can also access better opportunities to invest on parallel grounds with men. Through training women are better able to pursue equal employment, funding and investment opportunities. In addition, the sector has transformed over the years from a physical labour intensive sector to an intellectual capacity driven sector.

The National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Charter, which sets out the principles and framework for achieving indigenisation and economic empowerment, includes provisions for "equal opportunities for all, including gender sensitive ownership and participation in the economy by indigenous Zimbabweans.

Government has adopted the Gender and Economic Policy Management Initiative to mainstream gender into macro- economic and finance policy development and implementation, economic planning and economic policy analysis so that policies deliver equally to low income women and men.

The Medium Term Economic Recovery Plan, Government expressly committed itself to advancing the participation of women in the productive sectors of agriculture, mining, tourism, manufacturing and construction through practical solutions to meaningfully empower women."

A 2009 study by Smith-Hunter and Mboko concluded that Zimbabwean female business owners have strong entrepreneurial competence but lack the ability and support systems to develop their firms to their full potential.

Women are important for sustainable development in that they:

(i) have a key role in economic development of marginalized communities and ultimately poverty reduction; Particularly women can provide unique tourism products and services such as crafts, traditional food and traditional villages experiences thereby creating opportunities for poverty reduction.
(ii) are the most users of natural resources and provide the greatest contribution towards environmental sustainability and play a key role in the conservation of landscapes that provides the tourism experience mostly through ecotourism
(iii) Are an integral part of local culture particularly in the preservation and protection of local artifacts; and
(iv) Are most suitably positioned to capitalize and benefit from partnerships through not only tourism activities, but also through biodiversity-based enterprise, markets for ecosystem services, the infrastructural developments related to tourism.

The 1995 IV UN Beijing International Conference on Women adopted women’s economic empowerment as one of the key strategies for achieving gender equality and economic development in the long run.

The conclusion was re-emphasised under the sustainable development debate. A number of global and regional development players, including the World Bank, UNWTO, SADC and developing countries in the region, including Zimbabwe have come to the conclusion that gender equality and women’s economic empowerment is a potent force for accelerated poverty reduction and sustainable development.

Women are major players in agriculture and informal sector.  Institutional and legal barriers hamper the ability of women to formalise and grow their businesses, create jobs and enhance productivity in a way different from men.  There is evidence, especially at the micro level, to indicate that gender disparities not only disadvantage women but also reduce growth potential of the region as whole. This realization has shaped development programmes in Africa at all levels and justifies the focus on women.

“There are women out there who end up in situations where they have to go it alone and find themselves filling the roles of mother, father, breadwinner, friend, disciplinarian, counselor, educator and the list goes on. In some situations even where there is a father figure in the picture, some women find themselves having to take on these roles. Whatever the case may be, it is amazing how they manage to build up an uncanny resilience to all of these challenges that life has to throw at them. Their end game is to make sure that they provide the best of what they can for their  family.” Strive Masiyiwa 

Investing in women is smart economics

Happy International Women’s Day!


Glorianne Francis is the ZANU PF UK Women’s League Secretary for Administration and writes in her own representative capacity.