Saturday, 24 March 2012

Stop the Commodification of Women

24 March 2012

The Committee of the Peoples Charter (CPC) notes with great dismay a reported and unfortunate incident in which a male drummer was ‘rewarded’ with a wife for his artistic exploits in Hurungwe. This unfortunate exchange of a human being in return for artistic performance was reported in the Newsday of 24 March 2012.

It is the CPCs firm view that Zimbabwean society should never tolerate the objectification or commodification of our country’s female citizens. This is regardless of whether it was a cultural practice of the past or even of present day communities. No culture or religion that exists in contemporary Zimbabwean society must be permitted to treat women as commodities for exchange. 

Even where the woman consented to such an inhumane transaction, it cannot be viewed as an honest process since it goes against the spirit and letter of the democratic principle that all men and women are equal before the law and in society.

Given that Zimbabwean society is conscious of the history of exploitation in the colonial era where the forced labour system of ‘chibaro’ was utilized with impunity, this reported exchange of a human being for a service is distastefully reminiscent of such oppression. 

Further still, it is a sad reminder of the general practices of the tragic ‘African slave trade’ where powerful chiefs exploited their own citizens and sold them to European and Arabic slave traders in return for trinkets and cheap alcohol.

The CPC calls upon the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development, the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare to urgently act to redress this unfortunate development. The reparative action must include advising the families concerned that it is undemocratic and against moral norms and values to trade human beings in return for a commodity or service. Further to this, the relevant local authority must make it clear that such exchanges are patently criminal and similar to those of human trafficking.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Government should not politicize hunger in the face of famine


7 March 2012

The Committee of the Peoples Charter (CPC) regards the recent statements by the Minister of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation , Dr Joseph Made, on the 2011-2012 rainy season's drought situation in Zimbabwe as a serious cause for concern.

Dr. Made is reported in the media as having sought to blame Finance Minister Tendai Biti for the current situation in which the inclusive government finds itself ill-prepared to tackle the food security crisis that is facing millions of Zimbabwe.

 It is the CPC's view that such political blame games are distasteful attempts at the unnecessary politicizing of the serious national food crisis that a majority of Zimbabweans are facing. 

It is a sad development that too often government ministries or departments have sought to play such political blame games with each other while millions of Zimbabweans face the scourge of famine.

 It is a well established fact that Zimbabwe is scientifically known to have a drought prone climate and therefore any failure to mitigate the same is indicative of the collective failure of the government of Zimbabwe to govern in the best interests of its own citizens.

It is therefore imperative that the entirety of the inclusive government act in unison to tackle the challenge that Zimbabwe faces as a result of the projected poor harvest of the 2011-2012 agricultural season. This would entail an immediate departure from politically partisan narratives about what could have caused greater parts of Zimbabwe to receive poor to inadequate rainfall.

The inclusive government must prioritize  the urgent completion of the remainder of the crop assessment exercise in order to establish a comprehensive drought mitigation strategy in consultation with local civil society and international donors. 

This must be done in tandem with the rolling out of an urgent holistic and non-partisan food relief distribution programme aimed at protecting vulnerable rural, peri-urban and urban households from the negative socio-economic effects of famine.

 All of these processes must be done with full public knowledge as to the state of progress in order to prevent illness and death due to negligence of the people of Zimbabwe by the inclusive government and relevant stakeholders.

The CPC also insists that all the three parties in the inclusive government are not only collectively responsible for the poor response to the pending famine, but will be found liable of betraying the interests of the people of Zimbabwe should they decide to politicize hunger in the face of famine.

CPC Media Committee

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