Woza Moya newsletter (20-11-06)

WOMEN and MEN OF ZIMBABWE ARISE (WOZA) NEWSLETTER Write: Box FM 701, Famona, Bulawayo Email: [email protected] WOZA means ‘Come forward’. By women for women and with women, across race, colour, creed, class or political persuasion. Empowering women to be courageous, caring, committe

d and in communication with their communities. “I am not interested in picking up crumbs of compassion thrown from the table of someone who considers himself my master. I want the full menu of rights.” Bishop Desmond Tutu ———————————————————————————————————————————— WOZA commemorates International Day for the Eradication of Poverty on the 17th of October Amidst worsening poverty and stolen lives United Nations figures show that 50,000 people die every day because of poverty 800 million people go to bed hungry every day and half the world’s population survives on less than Zimbabwe $500 a day. In Zimbabwe poverty has become even more deep-rooted as basic needs remain out of reach. As WOZA continues to conduct Social Justice consultations, border-to-border, Zimbabweans agree that they are living from hand to mouth and it is as if their lives have been stolen from them. Why can we not enjoy all our social and economic rights? As we have gone around the country, you have shared your DREAM of a new Zimbabwe. You have shared with us your vision of a better future. WE have LISTENED carefully and are preparing all your views into a ‘living’ document and together we will launch our DEMAND for leaders who will deliver a socially just Zimbabwe. We hope you will come with us to Parliament where we tell our leaders that this is their last chance to commit themselves, in words and deeds, to the promises of our Independence. Those visited by WOZA were happy to be educated about their rights and advise on how to overcome fear. “We demand to know about our rights – we do not know what is right or wrong in Zimbabwe anymore as we are always being harassed. We are tired of the present leaders and need new blood, leaders who will listen to our problems and help us to solve them.” Chipo, Chimanimani *United Nations research has found that poverty comes in three main types: “poverty of money”, “poverty of access” and “poverty of power.” WOZA’s consultations across Zimbabwe reveal that Zimbabweans are facing all three types of poverty. Do you AGREE? Poverty of Money Residents of Chimanimani Urban, like other areas, revealed that Zimbabweans want to go back to the lifestyles they used to lead in 1980 and before Independence. They have said they are failing to do the basic things that they could do in 1980 and even before Independence. They live constantly spinning around searching for crumbs to feed their children. Ever increasing school fees and healthcare costs are among some of the problems people face on a daily basis. Parents, hard-pressed to create a better future for their children, remember the 1980 promise of free education and recognise that it is yet to be fulfilled and need a new breed of leaders who can deliver. Villagers in Chimanimani rural demand that the monetary authorities introduce a ‘meaningful’ currency. Most of them said they did not manage to hand over old money to the RBZ and say even if they had, life has become so hard for them that getting some cash to spend once in a while has become a dream. “We are tired of using money with expiration dates, and when the money changes no one explains and we are the losers. We want our coins back,’ said Mbuya Pasi from the Nyazura area. Residents of Mutare said they are upset with police’s rough way of dealing with cross border trading. “We are living in a country where unemployment is over 80 percent, health and education costs have shot up instead police take away our goods, the police now even go a step further and conduct house searches of known cross border traders. We know we must follow certain regulations as traders but should they not do the same? We want our rights to earn a decent living,’ Theresa, herself a cross border trader. *Excerpts from a UN Paper presented at the regional High Level Meeting in preparation for Istanbul+5 and the Pacific. The Three Aspects of Poverty. Poverty of Access Most of Africa’s poor people often do not have access to basic means of communication and other services. They also find that leaders they elected are no longer approachable and do not listen to their needs. How can they continue to say they stand for the people – they now stand for ghosts! Residents in Glen View, Harare said it’s been over a year since they lost their income to Operation Murambatsvina but are still waiting for the government to build the market stalls they promised for informal workers. The houses they were promised in Operation Garikai have since been given out to the rich or the ‘more suitable’ such as the war veterans, and they are still on the waiting list. Residents in Epworth want access to health services and complained about selective treatment at a nearby clinic which mostly caters for ruling party members and women who need maternity care have to produce ZANU PF part cards. In Matabeleland, in Ratanyane, old people are turned away at the only hospital in the area. In Madwaleni, villagers said they need land as they do not have enough land to accommodate their families and that their fields are more like gardens. Their children will have to build their homesteads in the gardens when they marry. They also do not have access to clean water as they are told to do the repairs themselves, which they cannot afford, and want the Government to repair and provide them with new boreholes. Villagers from Insiza complained that aid organizations such as BEAM no longer help orphans as they have been taken over by ZANU PF. Chegutu residents also expressed their worries about Government’s abandonment of the needy and the ruling party’s ‘all-powerful’ attitude. “We want free healthcare and primary education that the Government promised us at independence, the elderly and genuinely needy ought to receive assistance from the Social Welfare department.” Patience. Poverty of Power The poor have a greater possibility to affect decision-making under conditions of good authority, for example if we had a system of government where we are free to participate in, based on the rule of law, open to the needs of the population, well-organised, transparent and responsible. “We demand our freedoms back especially the freedom of expression. I was once arrested and told to choose between life and death because I had said mealie meal had gone up” Zodwa, Hwange “People have received distrust and fear from our leaders. They tell us to wait until tomorrow but tomorrow never comes” Tafadzwa, Warren Park “We have become ghosts in our homeland because the people that we elected to lead us have forgotten us. We need people with a sense of right and wrong to lead us. The situation we are in right now is the same as a person who goes to bed but can not change sides, you need to change sides and turn now and again, if you don’t you wake up sore and stiff,” said a Kadoma grandmother. Many villagers said their chiefs are now being used by politicians and want their chiefs to be allowed to listen to the commands of the people they lead. The villagers said they need a leader who will be able to give out land in respect of people’s needs and not their political membership. Many parents in all the areas visited by WOZA complained that their so called ‘born frees’ are facing a nightmare kind of life and are even asking themselves if the majority age act should not be moved up to 25 years. “Our children who are supposed to be adults at 18 cannot even buy themselves freezits but are expected to pay head tax. Their lives have been stolen and their parents are ghosts”. Tinechinangwa ngatishandirei pamwechete! Silenjongo asenzeni kanyekanye! Where there is a will there is a way – WOZA has the way. We need YOU to walk it with us! Join WOZA by sending your application letter to P.O. Box FM 701 Famona Bulawayo. Tell us who you are and why you want to join WOZA. Write in any local language. Send us a self-addressed with postage stamp for us to send your Sisterhood Promise. Once you have signed this and posted it to us we will send you your membership card in the second self-addressed and postage paid envelope. We will then bring you into our WOZA family.

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