Fight for rights takes centre stage

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Zimbabwe’s compliance to socio-economic, environmental, sexual, labour, and political rights has been described as appalling despite having passed a Constitution that demands the upholding of such rights.

Veneranda Langa

The 2013 Mo Ibrahim Index of African Governance report recently ranked Zimbabwe at 47 out of 52 African countries.
The poor result was particularly in the human development category, which includes observation of rights to shelter, health, education and many others.

Although some Zimbabweans argue that the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) community should not be accepted in a dominantly Christian society, the affected group contends that it is in contravention of their rights to their sexuality.

The Gays and Lesbian Association of Zimbabwe (Galz) said Zimbabwe was intolerant to sexual rights of people perceived to be homosexuals or lesbians.

The family and society also continues to victimise such people, a concern that Galz strongly highlighted.

Galz programmes manager Sam Madzikure said the rights of LGBTIs were constantly washed even on the political platform where homophobic messages were passed by politicians.

President Robert Mugabe is on record as having described homosexuals as “worse than dogs and pigs”.

“LGBTI rights continue being violated through the political platform and when politicians castigate them, messages filter to the broader society and attract homophobia which results in these people being ill-treated even at their homes,” Madzikure said.

“We have had LGBTI people reported to the police even by their own parents. Right now, we are waiting to hear the outcome of a case involving one of our members who was taken to the police by his guardians because they have failed to understand his sexual orientation.”

Madzikure said Zimbabweans did not understand that LGBTI was not necessarily about sex.

“Those that are suspected to be either homosexuals or lesbians are usually beaten up and when they report the violence to the police they are arrested and become the violators and not the victims, resulting in perpetrators of that violence being freed. There should be more discussions with policymakers and the LGBTI community to raise awareness of such issues. These can be discussed with traditional leaders, religious leaders and politicians,” he said.

Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) secretary-general Japhet Moyo spoke about worker’s rights that were also being violated mainly because government had failed to provide employment for its people.
Moyo said many workers were earning wages far below the poverty datum line and that some were working under inhuman conditions. He noted that civil servants were yet to get their salaries in tandem with the poverty datum line.

The average cost for a family of five for the whole country varies by region with the Zimbabwe Statistical office (Zimstats) recently giving figures of $571,94 for Harare, $538,82 for Bulawayo, $561,38 for Masvingo, $510,42 for Manicaland, $588,43 for Matabeleland South, $472,62 for Mashonaland Central and the highest being $618, 14 for Matabeleland North.

Moyo said workers should be able to enjoy trade human rights, be paid well and afford to look after their families.

“Trade union rights are human rights. The National Railways of Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation and workers from other companies have not been receiving their salaries for many months.

“Wives of workers at Hwange Colliery Company were recently beaten up for protesting against demanding their spouses’ salaries.
“Most workers go home to find no electricity and water, and there is a backlog of thousands of people looking for houses. All these are violations of people’s rights,” Moyo said.

He added that many people were denied their right to cast votes during the 31 July harmonised elections was also an infringement of their political rights.

Justice for Children Trust programmes director Caleb Mutandwa added his voice in favour of children’s rights. He said children had a right to education, shelter, food, health and birth certificates.
He said it was worrying that many of them were dropping out of school because of hunger currently affecting many of the country’s regions.

“Even after the new Constitution was signed into law, you find children, even those at primary school-going age, being sent back home for failing to pay their school fees and levies. We have not really seen any positive action in terms of government policy over this matter.”

Mutandwa urged government to prioritise education and health in the forthcoming 2014 budget.

“Other actors working with children should also be monitored to ensure they observe those rights as well,” he said.

The Aids and Arts Foundation (TAAF) Zimbabwe director Emmanuel Gasa said his organisation had also noted squashing of rights of internally displaced persons (IDPs) who were failing to access medical help such as anti-retroviral treatment.

Gasa said these people had a right to shelter as envisaged by Article 28 of the new Constitution where government and its agencies are compelled to take reasonable legislative measures within its limits of resources to make shelter available to them.

Recently, Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo warned of the destruction of illegal houses in Chitungwiza and also ordered an immediate stop to construction of houses on some various pieces of land.

“Already, the country is failing to cater for the IDPs. So far, there are new IDPs and there are fears they will not have any access to health care. Government should urgently cater for people’s health. What this means is that many internally displaced persons on ARVs will default due to this demolition exercise.

“What makes it worse is that we are going towards the rainy season,” Gasa said.

All this is happening when Zimbabwe, on October 21, joined the rest of Africa in celebrating Africa Human Rights Day.

This charter was set up to reflect on the sincerity of the commitment by African leaders to respect, promote and protect human rights on the continent and progress in this regard.

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) said in their statement that they regretted that the majority of Zimbabweans did not have anything considerable to celebrate as fundamentals of democracy continued to be undermined by both State and non-State actors.

“It is unacceptable that the majority of Zimbabweans remain unemployed or informally employed and unable to clothe, feed, house, treat and educate themselves and their families in a Zimbabwe which is so blessed with abundant and unexploited natural resources despite the shallow promises of empowerment and indigenisation programmes,” the ZLHR said.

“It is a scandal that eight years on, victims of Operation Murambatsvina are still living in plastic shacks without basic essential services — again in contravention of clear recommendations by the African Commission and the United Nations for the government to ensure adequate shelter, medicine and education is immediately provided to those affected,” they said.

ZLHR also noted that the selective application of laws and prying into communication rights of citizens, and criminalising free speech and freedom to assembly was a serious infringement of human rights.

17 COMMENTS

  1. Indeed homosexuals are worse ‘than dogs and pigs’. Why must we as an African culture compromise on our traditional morals at the expense of a higher Western rating by a one brainwashed Mo Ibrahim through his ‘Index of African Governance’.
    The framework of our Zimbabwean culture has always guided that hommosexuality is immoral and evil and not ignorance nor backwardness.

    • Pakukuguma kweupenyu ndipo vachasngana nazvo. Pple take the word of God for granted. Asi nyaya Yacho vachaiona.

    • Matthew 7:14

      But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.

      I can tell where the likes of Tutu and Mo Ibrahim who chose the wide and easy road are headed. The ones who stand for truth are on the narrow and difficult road full of persecution. Let is march on, Heaven is near.

  2. why is it gay man want their “partners” to dress like women when they claim not to prefer women at all?
    why is it lesbians use artificial Pe**s?. is it not a matter yekuti muvegetarian arikudya sythetic meat?
    my view is these guys are abnormal. the should not allow abnormality to be a right! what about those amongst us who prefer human meat to beef? should we say its their right and let them buy corpses from Doves???
    we as a people have our values. if other societies accept such things it doesn’t mean we have to do that as well.
    so should we open butcheries that sell dog meat?donkey meat?…disgusting!!!!
    what about brothels with goats and dogs for those who prefer to have sex with animal!!!!?
    please as a people lets not condone such abnormal behaviors as a human right
    a normal society should discourage at all such abnormal sexual preferences.
    my view

  3. there is nothing for us to understand why are forcing us to accept what is not acceptable your practice is abnormal hence unacceptable endai kuSA kwacho kune wano zvifarira mapurisa sungai stereki kuda kuti kanganisira nyika wicked behavior NO.

  4. Homosexuality is an abormination to God. If we disobey God by allowing these sinful acts in the name of human rights, God will be angry with our nation. NO NO NO TO HOMOSEXUALITY IN ZIMBABWE.

  5. Homosexuality is not good before god and those people who think we should please those who advocate for those rights should never think that as zimbabweans we care even if we are ranked 52.Only god knows thta what we are doing is good before him and thats the only one we wll please not human beings.

  6. nyaya dzacho mazodhuva kudzisanganisa kan kuzobudira ya kuZCTU.Nwae we shld not allow such disgusting behaviour in our society. I am with the President’s view that homos are similar to dogs but again i can say dogs are far much better coz i have never seen a male dog “ichifemera mugotsi” meimwe male dog. Disgusting behaviour and vanhu ava ngavasungwe mapurisa pliz vanotikanganisira society

  7. THE POOREST REPORT I HAVE EVER CAME ACROSS BE PROFESSIONAL YOU EDITORS HOW CAN YOU MIX THE STORY OF GAYS TOGETHER WITH RIGHTS OF WORKER DO THE TWO HAVE A COMBINATION TO HELL WITH GAYS LETS FFOCUS ON WORKER RIGHTS

  8. If this artice was meant to yet AGAIN test the views of Zimbabweans on homosexuality ; i think mazvionera mega. U are on your own reporter. You article does not belong here.You have trampled on my right to smile.

  9. If they don’t like it, they are free to leave Zimbabwe and go to countries where they can do want they want. In Zimbabwe we will never accept this doggish behaviour.

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