Monday, 7 June 2010

Zimbabwean Refugees suffer in SA

While the daily life of people in Zimbabwe offers very telling insights into the extent of Mugabe’s decades of tyranny and neglect, by far the most telling cases are in South Africa. This week a Union for Sustainable Democracy team visited some of the refugees in that country as part of ongoing efforts to assist displaced Zimbabweans. Our findings were that innocent people are being made to endure a horrible lifestyle that can only be compared with the aftermath of an armed conflict.

While living in South Africa has many attractions, life for Zimbabwean refugees in that country is as inhuman as it can ever get: living conditions are generally appalling; people live in squalor, sometimes sharing a single toilet with over a hundred others; women are giving birth and having to raise their babies in filthy, overcrowded conditions; many are resorting to prostitution; and xenophobia is rendering an already bad situation worse -just recently, a clean-up exercise ahead of the World Cup, targeting street vendors (mainly Zimbabwean refugees) was undertaken with devastating consequences.

Mugabe’s misguided policies and entrenched indifference spanning more than a quarter of a century have stripped these people of everything they own, including their dignity and the very humanity of their children. A great number of these Zimbabweans are highly qualified. We spoke to teachers, nurses and engineers.

However, because of the scarcity of formal employment in South Africa, made worse by the Black Economic Empowerment Act’s prohibition of preferring aliens to locals when hiring for jobs, many have resorted to routinely queuing along busy roads in the morning for much more occasional, informal and usually demeaning work.

It is common to go for an entire week without scoring a chance and when they eventually do, the money is enough to survive for only a few days. Some have resorted to labouring on farms but, with farm owners contemptuous of labourers in general, and alien labourers in particular, sweat from a full day’s work doesn’t count for much, we were told.

Meanwhile, women walk from location to location selling self-crafted, Zimbabwean style garments. They are so desperate that they are willing to sell on credit even though payment is hardly ever received.

These people all cherish the dream of going back home. They all long for the day when they can once more live in peace, safety and prosperity in their own country. Their hearts are in Zimbabwe. Their dreams are there. But, despite all of the hazards and demeaning trials and tribulations of refugee life, none of them even remotely considers returning home in the near future.

Why would they go back to terror, torture and oppression on top of poverty and unemployment?

In these circumstances, we call on President Jacob Zuma to take a stronger hand with the members of the unity government to ensure that they transcend party politics and work for the common good of the country as quickly and as productively as possible. Political bickering and grandstanding serve no purpose at all other than to further hurt an already fractured and devastated country.

Zimbabwe is starved of the human resources represented by the nurses, teachers and engineers whom we met. The successful repatriation of Zimbabwean refugees is essential for rebuilding our country and will relieve an unnecessary stress on the economy of South Africa.

Issued by the Information & Publicity Department, Union for Sustainable Democracy, 7th June 2010

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Trouble in Zimbabwe

The Movement for Democratic Change formation of Zimbabwe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has raised an alarm following the arrest of a House member from its ranks and the severe beating of another MDC legislator by alleged ZANU-PF supporters at a public forum on the constitution in a Harare hotel.

Spokesman Nelson Chamisa of the Tsvangirai MDC formation said the incidents have shaken the foundations of the troubled government of national unity.

Police confirmed that Ian Kay, who represents the Marondera Central constituency some 75 kilometers east of the capital and is the only white member of the House of Assembly, was arrested early Friday.

Police searched Kay's home in Harare's Helensvale suburb saying they were looking for arms and drugs. They said the search was ordered after Kay donated expired pharmaceuticals to clinics in Marondera and Mutoko.

The MDC issued a statement saying Kay has been arrested on “ trumped-up charges of possessing illegal and expired drugs.” It added: “Six police officers from the Harare [Criminal Investigation Division] drugs section raided his house in Helensvale, Harare, in search of the drugs but found nothing. Ironically, they arrested him. He is currently detained at the Harare Central Police Station.”

Kay’s wife Kerry told VOA Studio 7 reporter Blessing Zulu that the police action shocked the family, warning that the incident indicated the cycle of violence against the opposition was starting up again.

Elsewhere, legislator Marvellous Khumalo, legislator for the St. Mary’s constituency of Chitungwiza, a satellite town 25 kilometers south of the capital Harare, was said to have been severely beaten late Thursday at the New Ambassador Hotel in Harare during a public meeting of the Youth Agenda Trust on the constitutional revision process.

Khumalo, a panelist at the public forum, told VOA that he was set upon by ZANU-PF youth who said he had insulted President Robert Mugabe during a discussion of Western sanctions.

source voa news

Newspaper launch marred by arrests

The first independent daily newspaper to hit the streets of Zimbabwe since authorities forced the Daily News to close in 2003 launched publication Friday across the country with a free promotional edition.

The tabloid Newsday, published by the Alpha Media Holdings, which has long operated the weekly Independent and Standard newspapers, was to be officially launched on Monday.

The milestone in Zimbabwe press freedom was marred when police detained four Alpha Media staff distributing the daily for allegedly obstructing traffic in Harare. They were released three hours later after paying US$40 fines.

The Zimbabwe Media Commission recently issued certificates or licenses to four new daily newspapers. The other three are the Daily Gazette, the Daily Mail, and the soon-to-be resurrected Daily News. The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions also received authorization to publish its Worker on a weekly basis, from monthly now.

Alpha Media Holdings Chief Executive Officer Raphael Khumalo told VOA Studio 7 reporter Patience Rusere that the detention of staff was unfortunate – but said his organization would not be deterred by the setback.

Media advocates welcomed the symbolic launch of Newsday and urged the education of police to allow journalists and other media workers to do their jobs without harassment. Advocacy Officer Tabani Moyo of the Media Institute of Southern Africa's Zimbabwe branch said the public responded with excitement to the Newsday launch.

source VOA news

Free Farai Maguwu

Free Farai Maguwu

It seems as if the Zimbabwe govermenment is at it again.
Recents reports show escalating violence and increasing injustices.
Farai Maguwu, a prominent human rights activist was arrested in June on allegations of spying.

We urge the Zimbabwe government to free him or let him stand trial in an impartial court.

Listen interview with SW Radio Africa just before he handed himself in to the authorities.