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Fostering a culture of human rights L egal T h e M onitor 13 July
Fostering a culture of human rights L egal T h e M onitor 13 July
Fostering a culture of human rights L egal T h e M onitor 13 July

Fostering a culture of human rights

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a culture of human rights L egal T h e M onitor 13 July 2015 Edition

13 July 2015

Edition 301

Distributed without any inserts

13 July 2015 Edition 301 Distributed without any inserts For feedback please email ZLHR on: info@zlhr.org.zw
13 July 2015 Edition 301 Distributed without any inserts For feedback please email ZLHR on: info@zlhr.org.zw
13 July 2015 Edition 301 Distributed without any inserts For feedback please email ZLHR on: info@zlhr.org.zw
13 July 2015 Edition 301 Distributed without any inserts For feedback please email ZLHR on: info@zlhr.org.zw
13 July 2015 Edition 301 Distributed without any inserts For feedback please email ZLHR on: info@zlhr.org.zw
13 July 2015 Edition 301 Distributed without any inserts For feedback please email ZLHR on: info@zlhr.org.zw
13 July 2015 Edition 301 Distributed without any inserts For feedback please email ZLHR on: info@zlhr.org.zw
13 July 2015 Edition 301 Distributed without any inserts For feedback please email ZLHR on: info@zlhr.org.zw

For feedback please email ZLHR on: info@zlhr.org.zw or visit: www.zlhr.org.zw

email ZLHR on: info@zlhr.org.zw or visit: www.zlhr.org.zw Young and stateless • children denied identity over

Young and stateless

• children denied identity over mothers’ debts

• hospitals use birth records as new weapon

BULAWAYO-According to Section 81 (1) (c) of the Constitution, every Zimbabwean child under the age of eighteen years has the right to “the prompt provision of a birth certificate”.

Yet government institutions are letting children down big time

regarding implementation of this key provision in many parts of

the country.

Thousands of children are failing to register for school because state institutions such as hospitals are blocking their way to an identity – at times because of debts as low as $20.

Human

handling some of the cases have described the situation as “rampant”.

In some instances, parents are forced to take legal action just to have their children registered as Zimbabwean citizens. But those are the lucky ones.

According to human rights lawyers, thousands of children with no access to legal recourse are suffering silently in another episode highlighting the extent to which the new Constitution has remained largely an ineffective piece of paper two years since its adoption.

Many children have been forced to abandon school

because a birth certificate is

a registration requirement.

Others have grown into adults and are now parents – showing how the situation has been allowed to spiral into an inter-generational curse.

“The same people are now being parents themselves and thus in turn their children are not being registered,” Prisca Dube, a ZLHR projects officer involved in campaigns to mitigate the problem, told The Legal Monitor last week. “The birth certificate issue is very rampant in Bulawayo and Matabeleland provinces,” she said.

Public hospitals have emerged as the biggest culprits, said Dube, adding that the ZLHR campaign had unearthed shocking cases that have now been resolved through legal action.

Starved of funding by central government, many public hospitals

have been turning the screws on poverty-stricken patients. In the past, hospitals had taken to detaining new mothers for non-payment of maternity fees. The practice ended after ZLHR intervened to enforce

the

The hospitals have now adopted a new scheme - awkwardly a tactic

that

“The hospitals used to detain mothers for payment of bills, then they moved to withholding the confirmation of birth until the parents pay

the

said Dube.

She added: “If you want to see how rampant this is, you should see the number of letters ordinary people have in the townships from unscrupulous debt collectors demanding dues as far back as 2009 when we dollarised.”

Dube said HIV and the migration of thousands of Zimbabweans to neighbouring countries such as South Africa had also affected children.

“We are Africans and children have to be registered under the surname of the father, so women wait for the men to come from South Africa,

Botswana etc

the children as relatives are dead, unwilling or there are not adequate documents to register these children,” she said. “This has seen a lot of

people being stateless.”

Groups representing Zimbabwean exiles estimate that up to three

representing Zimbabwean exiles estimate that up to three Concerned Prisca Dube rights lawyers Right to Health

Concerned

Prisca Dube

rights

lawyers

Right to Health as enshrined under Section 76 of the Constitution.

directly targets vulnerable children.

amount owed or face the child failing to get a place for schooling,”

if

they then die before registration, problems befall

Mothers force hospitals to release birth records

BULAWAYO-Following awareness campaigns by Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), two mothers have forced two prominent government-run hospitals to release the birth records of their children.

Their children risked joining thousands of children whom lawyers say are stateless because they do not have birth certificates as a result of actions by hospitals such as United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) and Mpilo Hospital.

Nokuthula Belinda Dube and Sithembilekuhle Baloyi had to seek the assistance of ZLHR after the UBH and Mpilo withheld their children’s birth records. In both cases, the hospitals withheld the birth records to force payment of outstanding hospital fees incurred in 2011 and in 2014 by their mothers.

Dube’s child is now of school going age. The conduct of UBH negated the child’s right to identity and the right to education as she was unable to register at school without a birth certificate, lawyers said.

The hospitals relented after an intervention by ZLHR, which warned of massive legal consequences if the hospitals insisted on holding on to the children’s birth records.

“Whilst we appreciate the services rendered by your institution ought to be paid for, we believe that withholding the child’s birth record to secure payment is a violation of the child’s right

to an identity as the mother has failed all these years to obtain a birth certificate for her child,” wrote ZLHR’s lawyers Nosimilo Chanayiwa and Lizwe Jamela.

“She is now of school going age but has failed to secure a place because she has no birth certificate. This is now violating her right to education and will in future violate other rights as her failure to get education will impact on the quality of life she will have.”

ZLHR told UBH that since more than three years had lapsed, the debt claim against Dube had been prescribed and the hospital had no legal basis to claim even a cent from her.

In Baloyi’s case, ZLHR gave Mpilo Hospital a seven day ultimatum to release the records or risk a legal suit. ZLHR described the hospital’s actions as extortionist.

“The institution must adopt lawful means against the mother of the child to recover debts and not means that negatively impact on the child,” ZLHR wrote to Mpilo Hospital.

The government institution has since concurred with ZLHR. It responded asking Baloyi to collect her child’s birth record.

However, these cases are only part of a larger problem affecting thousands of children, hence ZLHR’s call for government to take decisive action to stop the worrying trend.

affecting thousands of children, hence ZLHR’s call for government to take decisive action to stop the

million Zimbabweans are in neighbouring countries- mainly in South Africa – after fleeing the country’s long running political and economic turmoil. In a bid to stop the situation spiralling out of control, ZLHR has intervened. Using a combination of mobile legal clinics and litigation, the campaign has shown signs of bearing fruit.

Following mobile legal clinics held in provinces such as Mashonaland West and the Matabeleland region, communities have awoken to their

rights and have been vigorously fighting to protect those rights.

“Mobile legal clinics are the ZLHR vehicle of engaging communities, and we pick these issues. Some people come directly to us thereafter to challenge the conduct of these institutions. We raise awareness and empower communities to also go and challenge. As with most institutions, once you start to talk human rights and violations of these, they relent and do the right thing,” said Dube.

of these, they relent and do the right thing,” said Dube. Harare municipal police and vendors
Harare municipal police and vendors clashed in central Harare last week as authorities sought to

Harare municipal police and vendors clashed in central Harare last week as authorities sought to remove the traders from their trading stalls. 27 vendors were arrested while dozens more lost their wares in the scuffle. Three venders were charged with assalting municipal police officers

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Priorities for the harmonisation of legislation with the 2013 constitution of Zimbabwe © Reserved, Zimbabwe
Priorities for the harmonisation of legislation
with the 2013 constitution of Zimbabwe
© Reserved, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, May 2015

Continued from last week’s Edition

ZLHR

 

Chapter

Legislation

Summary of Required Amendments

Commentary

Priority

of the

Requiring

Area

Constitution

Amendment

Increasing

Chapter 4:

Refugees Act

Review and inclusion of provision on the protection of unaccompanied children who are refugees to protect them from several forms of exploitation and/or abuse.

Refugees – and particularly children refugees - are vulnerable to many forms of abuse and rights violations. The government must take measures to protect the rights of refugee children in accordance with the constitu- tional rights of the child.

access

Declaration of

[Chapter 4:03]

to civil,

Rights

social and

 

economic

Section 80

-

women

Rights of

Inclusion of provisions to ensure that such children have their social

 

justice

and economic rights catered for by the receiving government.

Section 81

Inclusion of provisions to establish special mechanisms and

-

Rights of

departments to look into the welfare of children who are refugees

Children

and also those living with disabilities.

Provision of holistic monitoring frameworks on status of children who are refugees.

Chapter 4: Dec- laration of Rights

Disabled

Amendments to elaborate on the rights of people living with disabilities people as enshrined in the Constitution.

Facilities and resources for disabled persons have generally been very limited in Zimbabwe, restricting their participation in public affairs and economic, political and social life. Strengthened legal provisions may as- sist to improve the level of participation and subsequently the quality of the lives of this community, which has now received specific protection under the new Constitution.

Persons Act

[Chapter 17:01]

 

Section 83 - Rights of persons with disabilities

Inclusion of rights and measures to enable people living with disabilities to become self-sufficient; to be able to access medical facilities and assistance; to receive psychological and functional treatment; to receive state-funded education and special facilities for education; and to access recreational facilities.

Section 68 – Right to admin- istrative justice

Administrative

Review of the Act to incorporate administrative justice as a fundamental right as provided in the Constitution.

Administrative authorities continue to violate the Constitution by refus- ing to comply with the rules and tenets of natural and administrative jus- tice, particularly in decisions that are taken in state institutions and by and against state (and non-state) actors. While such action can be legally chal- lenged after the fact, it is critical to prevent such abuse in the first place. Where legal action is taken, decisions (and the reasons for such decisions) must be furnished expeditiously.

Justice Act

[Chapter 8:17]

 
 

Inclusion of time-frames within which courts must provide judgments in cases that have been adjudicated t comply with timely administration of justice.

 

Section 85 – Enforcement of fundamental

Class Action Act [Chapter 8:17]

Complete review of the Act to give effect to section 85(1)(c) of the Constitution, which allows for a clear and easy process for a class or group of persons to bring an action to challenge a violation of the Declaration of Rights.

Class actions have been notoriously difficult to institute and pursue in Zimbabwe. This is primarily due to the prohibitive administrative barriers and complex and costly procedures imposed by the law and the courts.

human rights and freedoms

Such onerous requirements have made it impossible for those with limited resources to proceed with such action.

Inclusion of provisions to ensure that no onerous requirements (including those with negative monetary implications) are placed on those instituting a class action that may prevent them from pursuing such cases.

   

State Liabilities

Review of Act to make it user-friendly for those with cases against state officials, including removing unduly tight time-restrictions and restrictions against attaching state assets to settle debts and damages orders against state entities. This will ensure equal treatment of judgment debtors from the state and non-state actors.

Repeal of provisions barring execution against state property to satisfy judgment debt, as this currently perpetuates non-compliance and impunity by state agents of their constitutional obligations.

Good practice in the region and internationally has seen an improvement in enforcement of rights against errant state institutions and actors. Now that a protective provision has been included in the new Constitution, the legislation must be overhauled to enforce this protection. This will also help to counter impunity for violations committed particularly by state actors in the course of their official duties. There are currently also undue time-restrictions on suing state officials and agencies and a prohibition on attaching state property to settle debts and damages orders against state entities. These need to be removed and overhauled.

Act [Chapter

8:14]

Inclusion of a step-by-step process for the payment of a final court order for damages against government sounding in money, including the attachment and sale in execution of movable property belonging to the state and/or department concerned.

 
   

Prescription Act

Review of provisions for compliance with section 85 of the Constitution to ensure that there are no unreasonable restrictions to the enforcement of fundamental rights and freedoms, particularly against the state.

Currently the prescription periods for claims against the state are very short and have negatively affected the ability of victims of state- sanctioned violations to claim against such actors and institutions. The Constitution has addressed this, and the Act must now be aligned to ensure this is respected.

[Chapter 8:11]

Strength-

Chapter 8:

Supreme

Review of all laws on courts to consolidate and rationalise them and make access and procedure more accessible and user-friendly.

The unavailability of court rules for the Constitutional Court continues to cause uncertainty in terms of procedure, thereby limiting access to the court and reinforcing uncertainty of a standard procedure implemented equally for all litigants.

ening the efficiency and ef- fectiveness of state in- stitutions (justice) in delivering on their mandate and ac- counting to the public

The Court

Court Act

System

[Chapter 7:13]

 

High Court Act, [Chapter 7:06]

Introduction of a Constitutional Court Act with provisions for access to this court and provisions for its mandate and procedures (to be read together with Rules of the Constitutional Court).

Magistrates’

Review and inclusion of provisions to outline the jurisdiction, powers, practice and procedure of the court.

 

Court Act

[Chapter 7:10]

Inclusion of time-frames within which each court must provide written judgments in cases that have been adjudicated on.

Inclusion of provisions to establish a Rules of Court Committee to review or enact rules for the different courts that include all stakeholders of the justice delivery system.

 

Inclusion of functions of Rule of Court committee to include review and enactment of specific procedures on how matters are to be heard before the court to advance the right to a fair hearing within a reasonable time as stipulated in section 69(1-4) of the Constitution.

Stipulation in the Rules of Court of maximum periods within which urgent or ex parte matters are heard so that matters are finalised with the urgency that they deserve.

Inclusion of requirement that the frequency of all circuit courts be announced through government gazette notice.

Removal of provisions of the High Court Act and Magistrates Court Act on civil imprisonment, as it violates section 49 (2) of the Constitution.

To be continued

Magistrates Court Act on civil imprisonment, as it violates section 49 (2) of the Constitution. To
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Left in the cold

Children

mirror the harsh life of Zimbabwean flood victims

CHINGWIZI-It may be bitterly cold but after walking for several kilometres to school, 11-year- old Taurai* wouldn’t mind a gulp of clean fresh water before starting classes.

But the only available water at Nyuni Primary School in Chingwizi in Masvingo province where Taurai is a student is salty and is sourced from a single borehole shared with dozens of villagers and domestic animals.

“The water is unbearable. I don’t think it’s meant for human beings,” says the Grade five pupil. The salty water is hardly Taurai’s biggest problem.

He badly needs a good education to escape the poverty that surrounds him but government neglect of rural schools such as Nyuni Primary School poses a serious threat to the future of thousands of children such as Taurai. Section 75 of the new Constitution guarantees the Right to Education and obliges the State to make education progressively available and accessible. The conditions at Nyuni Primary School make a mockery of government’s commitment to the new governance Charter.

Students are forced to make do with a classroom without walls. Classes are conducted in a tent supported by wooden poles, exposing pupils to intense cold and danger of the tents collapsing on them. Left with no options, villagers have come to accept the structures as “classrooms”.

have come to accept the structures as “classrooms”. This is what passes for a school in

This is what passes for a school in Chingwizi, 35 years after independence

There are no immediate health facilities. Even burying the dead is a nightmare due to lack of a proper burial site since the villagers are considered to be in transit. Many of the villagers are yet to receive their compensation and have to scrounge around to feed their families. Serious hunger and poverty pervade the area, with the majority of the villagers having lost property such as household furniture, utensils, building materials, grain, crops, fruit trees and livestock during the

relocation process. Last week, the flood victims took the extra-ordinary step of directly petitioning President Robert Mugabe to intervene after local officials and responsible ministries ignored their plight.

“We do not have food and we are facing starvation,” they said in the petition, claiming that close to 20 000 people internally displaced by floods are affected.

“We feel like people in prison,” read the petition, adding: “Your government is treating us like second class citizens and as if we are people with no rights. Your Excellency, we ask you to come as soon as possible to see for yourself the conditions we are living under.”

There hasn’t been a response yet to the petition by President Mugabe, who was in New York last week as part of his hectic foreign travel itinerary that has severely limited his stay at home lately. The president’s critics say the flying hours he has clocked in close to two dozen trips undertaken this year alone could have been better spent at home tackling problems such as those ravaging people in Chingwizi. His supporters and officials defend the trips as necessary to fulfil his duties as African Union and Southern African Development Commnuity chairman respectively.

But, for young Taurai and fellow internally displaced persons whose difficulties are refusing to fly away, a 400 km detour from his busy itinerary to visit Chingwizi could help President Mugabe get a firmer grip of the dire situation some of his subjects are enduring at home. *Name changed for security reasons

are enduring at home. *Name changed for security reasons Even at such a dilapidated structure, children

Even at such a dilapidated structure, children are still chased from “school” for non-payment of fees. This is despite court pronouncements that children should not be removed from classes because of their parents’ failure to settle debts with schools. The dire conditions at Nyuni Primary School mirror the harsh circumstances that thousands of villagers displaced from their homes due to floods and later settled in Chingwizi have to endure on a daily basis.

Victory for Dabengwa

 

HARARE- Justice Chinembiri Bhunu has ordered the Zimbabwe Electoral

voter registration exercise.

 

Commission (ZEC) to act within the confines of the law in the execution of its duties. The ruling followed an application filed by Zapu leader Dumiso Dabengwa’s lawyers advocate Tererai Mafukidze and Bryant Elliot seeking an order compelling the electoral body to take full responsibility of the

Justice Bhunu said the electoral body could not be barred from using voters’ rolls compiled by the Registrar General’s Office before the adoption of the new constitution, adding that there is no law that barred ZEC from doing so.

General’s Office before the adoption of the new constitution, adding that there is no law that

At a mobile legal clinic convened by Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights at the school and attended by scores of people, it emerged that the internally displaced villagers are fast becoming a forgotten lot. The only arms of the State they are in regular contact with are the police and the courts. And often this when the police officers visit to harass them or when the villagers have to attend court to answer spurious charges arising from their vigorous clamour for government to respect their rights.

 
 

Lawyers calm villagers

 

CHISUMBANJE- Chinyamukwakwa and Matikwa villages are on the brink of open hostilities as human rights abuses allegedly fuelled by ethanol

such as the police and local traditional leaders were siding with Green Fuel in the long running dispute.

“There is no respect for the elders and the dead, graves are being removed and there is political manipulation. There are no jobs hence we face

 

giant Green Fuel further deepen tension between the company and the community.

According to villagers, the community has seriously suffered since 2008 when Macdom Investments moved in.

hunger in the community,” said one villager, adding that school fees were hard to come by as a result of loss of economic activity.

Day 120: Where is Itai?

 

Missing person appeal

So tense are relations between villagers and the quasi-government company that Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) recently dispatched officials to monitor the situation and to provide legal support.

ZLHR’s Blessing Nyamaropa, Peggy Tavagadza, Kenndy Majamanda and Langton Mhungu and the Claris Madhuku-led Platform for youth development recently held a legal mobile clinic with the villagers and judicial officials to calm the situation.

Land has been taken with no compensation, boundaries have been pegged, trenches dug to bar villagers from encroaching into Macdom Investments farming area and villagers have been given small pieces of land of 0,5 hectares per family with no grazing area for livestock.

The villagers said arrests and assaults by police officers were intensifying while some kraal heads were no longer siding with the people but with the company.

In 2008, Green Fuel, represented by Macdom Investments, acquired the right to lease land measuring 5 112 hectares from State agricultural agency ARDA where it built an ethanol plant. The land has since increased to 9 375 hectares as the company encroaches into the surrounding communal land in Chisumbanje, Chinyamukwakwa and Matikwa villages without adequate consultation with the community that used the land for farming; crop production, livestock grazing and other cultural uses.

with the community that used the land for farming; crop production, livestock grazing and other cultural
Itai Dzamara, a pro-democracy activist has been missing since Monday 9 March 2015. Mr Dzamara

Itai Dzamara, a pro-democracy activist has been missing since Monday 9 March 2015. Mr Dzamara was abducted by some unidentified men from a barber- shop near his home in Glen Norah at around 11:00 hours for yet to be established motives.

The lawyers’ group has been holding frequent meetings with the villagers and is representing some of them in court after they were arrested by police for questioning the loss of their land to Green Fuel.

ZLHR is assisting some of the villagers to sue the police and Green Fuel for human rights abuses.

land to Green Fuel. ZLHR is assisting some of the villagers to sue the police and

Green Fuel, partly owned by government, is under parent company Macdom Investments.

The unmarked vehicle used during his abduction has been identified as a white Nissan Hardbody. Our efforts to ascertain Mr Dzamara’s whereabouts have failed to locate him to date.

At a recent mobile legal clinic, Nyamaropa and Tavagadza appealed for calm, urging the villagers to use legal channels to express their dissatisfaction and fight for their rights.

We are appealing to anyone who has seen Mr Dzamara since 9 March or has any information about Mr Dzamara’s whereabouts to please contact lawyers representing him on the following contact details. Hotline/ Cellphone: 0779 204 102

“The law is there to protect you and ZLHR is here to ensure that your rights are protected so please don’t take the law into your own hands,” said Nyamaropa as he pleaded with the villagers at a meeting held in Chinyamukwakwa village.

At the meeting, villagers said those in authority

ZLHR lawyers consulting with an elderly villager in Chisumbanje

At the meeting, villagers said those in authority ZLHR lawyers consulting with an elderly villager in
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13 July 2015

Cde Freedom Nyamubaya: We will meet 'On the Road Again'

By Takura Zhangazha

HARARE-I first encountered the late Cde Freedom Nyamubaya (Cde Freedom as we affectionately called her) via the poetry section of the Waterfalls District library. It was her collection of poems and short stories, On the Road Again, that won me over to her clarity of thought and particular ability to explain her anguish

through the pen. At that time,

to explain her anguish through the pen. At that time, Takura Zhangazha And these views were

Takura Zhangazha

And these views were most ably expressed in some of her poems including one of her most stellar ones, ‘A Mysterious Marriage’ in which she laments,

‘Independence Came But Freedom was not there An old woman saw Freedom’s passing shadow Walking through the crowd, Freedom to the gate All the same, they celebrated for Independence’

(From “On the Road Again” by Freedom Nyamubaya, 1986, Zimbabwe Publishing House)

These sentiments that she expressed were however not left to her

and there was a power outage they would all be in serious trouble due the inefficiency of ZESA!

all be in serious trouble due the inefficiency of ZESA! The late Freedom Nyamubaya pic credit:

The late Freedom Nyamubaya pic credit: www.poetryinternationalweb.net

She was however very excited about her role with ZPST and the peace building initiatives she was involved in. She however had not negated her passion for writing and farming. This despite the hectic pressure she always expressed to be

undergoing in ensuring that her son would begin his university education. She would still show me poems that she wrote and was to recite a great one at the funeral of one of her dear departed commanders the late Wilfred Mhanda, aka, Dzinashe Machingura. The one thing I will however cherish the most in my limited personal interaction with her is the realistic optimism she always exhibited. And the seriousness with which she took the task of talking to and building the consciousness of the younger generations that never went to war. It is this realistic optimism and continuing political consciousness that I will remember Cde Freedom by. And I know that her struggle to go on, goes on through her contribution to the liberation of Zimbabwe, her

I

was naively keen on writing poetry and needed a Zimbabwean

writer to learn from. And learn I did, though I never took my passion for poetry and prose to the sky high levels that Cde Freedom did.

writing alone. She was involved as far as she thought practically possible with the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association and the Zimbabwe Liberators Platform. She said she got involved in order to at least ensure that her comrades from the

I

was to encounter Cde Freedom again at the turn of the millennium

in Marondera, and this time in person, where an organization she helped found, Management Outreach Training Services for Rural and Urban Development (MOTSRUD) was part of broader civil society activities on the campaign for a new constitution.

struggle days were not forgotten. And that her fear was that most of the political leaders had forgotten those that were at the frontlines of the struggle. After also taking a brief political role in the Mavambo/ Kusile/Dawn movement she confided in 2010 kubatana.net Inside/ Out Interview that.

While we never actually conversed, seeing her at meetings and explaining her passion for rural development and farming was inspiring. Moreso because it was my first time to have seen her, a famous Zimbabwean writer and also activist (a side to her character

“I've decided to concentrate on things that I can achieve. Politics is no longer about any ideologies, or policies, it's not about building the country. I would like to be remembered as somebody who contributed to the development of the youth, or the development of Zimbabwe. Or even as someone who contributed to the literature on the war.”

I had thought was confined to her role in our liberation struggle) in person.

It would be a while before I talked to her directly, much to my delight, at the Quill Club in Harare. And it is there that we talked about her writing, including her published 1995 collection of poems and short stories, The Dusk of Dawn. I was also fortunate to get signed copies of both her English books! In our conversations, she was always consistent in narrating that the liberation struggle was not only tough but its ideals were increasingly betrayed in the post independence era. And that in part, she found solace in expressing her views through her writings.

Her assertions, to me at least, continue to ring true when one examines the political parties that our country is saddled with. She however had a keen interest in pursuing her own activism and two weeks before her passing had gone on a training programme to Switzerland under the auspices of the Zimbabwe Peace and Security Trust (she was also a trustee of the same organization).

In her narration to me of the visit, she joked about how once they were on an electric tram ride through one of the hills, a fellow Zimbabwean delegate had said ominously, if this was in Zimbabwe

conscientious writing and her work in agriculture. As she says in her poem, On the Road Again’,

Schools have holidays, Workers days off, Dogs rest too, But struggles to go on, go on. Still on the road, One endless journey. Thank you for the consciousness Cde Freedom.

source: takura-zhangazha.blogspot.com

 

Freedom gone

Yali Profile: Human rights defender wants universal access to justice

 

By Stanley Kwenda

By Stanley Kwenda her to sleep in Mbare. With my fuel tank slowly emptying I reluctantly

her to sleep in Mbare. With my fuel tank slowly emptying I reluctantly drove to Mbare

where I was rewarded with 2 kgs of goat meat. With that I got to know she was a farmer in Mhangura.

While other people are paid to talk, teach and impart knowledge hers was for free.

HARARE-Award winning lawyer and human rights activist Kennedy Masiye is best remembered as the attorney that was assaulted by police in his attempt to protect the rights of journalist cum activist, Itai Dzamara barely six months ago.

Since Dzamara’s abduction and disappearance on March 9, Kennedy and other human rights defenders have been searching for clues on his whereabouts but also working on available legal instruments to compel the government of Zimbabwe to act.

It is in recognition of his courage and leadership abilities that Kennedy took the decision to participate in a program that connects Africans as well as look beyond the continent for solutions. He is one of the 30 participants from Zimbabwe to take part in the second year of the Mandela Washington Fellowship where he sees himself “benefiting a lot and learning best practices from the best minds in the world.”

During his six-week fellowship Kennedy will Kennedy’s efforts have seen him excelling in

litigating and winning several cases in which he fearlessly defended human rights defenders who would have been arbitrarily arrested and detained.

His hard work and commitment has earned him the 2014 Law Society of Zimbabwe Young Human rights lawyer of the year award after having been nominated in two consecutive years from the year 2012. He has also been recognized and conferred with the ‘Giraffe Hero’ award by the Giraffe Heroes Zimbabwe, for standing tall on behalf of the silent majority despite the threats that were directed at their persons in the struggle for democracy and a just society.

The efforts to protect the rights of Dzamara is just but one of many cases the young legal expert has been exposed to in his five year career with the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.

be stationed at Rutgers University in New Jersey where he expects to “network with colleagues from other countries and universities through exchanging ideas and experiences.”

universities through exchanging ideas and experiences.” Kennedy has been making significant strides in his legal and

Kennedy has been making significant strides in his legal and advocacy work tackling issues of social change and service delivery in a bid to improve the humane conditions of the country.

LONDON-I can’t claim to have known her.

Probably I am the least qualified person to write about her but I am doing so simply because of who she was.

My musings are simply based

Stanley Kwenda

on chance interactions I had with Freedom Tichaona Nyamubaya.

For those of us who were born on the other side of independence, the Quill Club became an oasis of consciousness. We met various personalities there yearning to learn more about our country and its politics. They all came through in different shapes, sizes and hues. Over a drink (s) lots of lessons were shared. Most of those lessons were about politics and life in general. Cde Freedom was a master at giving those lessons. I was lucky to have met her at the Quill Club.

She was quite a jolly fellow. One of the very few female colleagues who were at home at the Quill Club. With her high pitched voice she would stand out in any crowd at the Quill.

From her contributions be it during a beer talk or the many functions that were held at the Quill, she came across as a fine thinker. A doyen of Zimbabwean liberation politics.

It’s a subject that she was comfortable with and could entertain an audience at the Quill Club until the witching hour. One of those days, I remember I had the privilege, though at the time I took it as a misfortune, of driving her home. She asked me to take her to Mabvuku but half way into our journey, she decided her spirit wanted

All she needed was your time and willingness to learn. When I first met her at the Quill Club, I was surprised that she knew my name and where I worked. But that was Freedom. She had her pulse on the ground on virtually everything that was happening in the country, particularly in politics.

On one encounter she took me to task over a land invasions story I wrote for a local weekly newspaper. In our discussions she simply asked me why we never write stories about Mhangura and other parts of the country. Are you a Harare and Bulawayo newspaper she asked? I had no answer but I know it still remains an indictment on our media. I promised to visit her farm but I regret that she has gone before I could do that. I hope she has forgiven me for instead visiting Kindness Paradza’s Wamambo farm.

Despite that, most of us who regard the Quill Club as a social place of choice would remember how we used to enjoy chimukuyu (biltong) and other niceties courtesy of her industry. I hope we all paid our dues for the goodies that came on favourable credit terms. Thank you Cde Freedom and may your soul rest in eternal peace.

Stanley Kwenda is a Zimbabwean journalist working for BBC World Service in London

Kennedy has also been working on the internal

Upon his return from the fellowship Kennedy

displacements issue of the Tokwe Mukosi hopes to “implement my acquired knowledge and community that was moved to Chingwizi camp skills and increasing access to justice to more

and having being severely assaulted by armed communities. He graduated from the University

forces while defending the rights of his client, Itai Dzamara.

of Zimbabwe in the year 2010 with a Bachelor of

Laws degree. Source: www.newsday.co.zw

 
Zimbabwe in the year 2010 with a Bachelor of L a w s d e g