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Trying times ahead

The passion that drives my vision is like fire in my belly. I want to see a world in which the dignity of human beings is continually reinforced at the individual, interpersonal, community, national, regional and global levels. My vision may sound ambitious but it does not take much to see the suffering of another and it does not take much either to do something, albeit small to begin making a difference in their lives. That is why I am a human rights defender. I fight for my rights and the rights of those around me. I know that single-handedly, my efforts cannot solve the problems of the world, but adding my voice to the voices of those fighting many causes across the globe definitely does. However the reason I want to become a Voices of Our Future Correspondent, comes down to my beautiful nation-Zimbabwe.

In 2008, Zimbabwe experienced one of the worst spells of politically motivated violence that had ever been experienced since the bloodshed of the liberation struggle. These were the most tightly contested Parliamentary and Presidential elections since independence. Those who could not garner support through peaceful campaigns; explaining to the nation their proposed policies and how these would benefit the greater majority chose to use the barrel of the gun and baton sticks to drive people to vote for them. They were in the minority; the majority of Zimbabweans wanted a peaceful election that would bring them a leader with the people’s interests at heart.

I was among groups of civil society actors that observed the elections, assessing the pre and post election environment as well as moving from one polling station to the other on the day of the polls. The operations I participated in covered Mashonaland Central, Midlands and Manicaland, 3 of the 10 provinces in Zimbabwe and included trips into the rural areas.

It is one thing to be told about the experiences of the victims but seeing the dejection, terror and grief on the faces of victims is something different altogether. Some had had their homes torched, most had deep wounds from the attacks and beatings they received, mothers were separated from their children and old women lost their teeth. Women, young and old were assaulted, some raped in front of their husbands, sons, brothers and children. In some cases the perpetrators raped both mother and daughter, one after the other. The reasons for all this terror was that these people had made a political choice to vote for the party they believed would bring them the change they hoped to see.

Later on in the year, working at the Research and Advocacy Unit, an NGO in Zimbabwe in collaboration with WITNESS, we produced a video documenting the experiences of women victims of politically motivated violence http://www.witness.org/campaigns/partner-campaigns/zimbabwean-women-affe.... The video pushed the government of Zimbabwe to admit that politically motivated violence against women is a terrible crime and to lobby them to take measures to ensure that this would not recur. That campaign has been ongoing and has yielded some positive commitments from the Ministries of Health, Women Affairs, Legal and Constitutional Affairs and Social Welfare to devise a strategy to anticipate violence against women in election times. It is yet to be tested how deep these commitments run.

Zimbabwe faces yet another election in 2012. The possibility that the same violations that took place in 2008 will recur is high because none of the perpetrators of the violence have been punished. Instead they move around with impunity. Some of them are even in the habit of going back to their victims to torment them with threats that elections are coming and the women shall get what they have coming. The grassroots are mostly affected because political violence is usually concentrated in the rural areas away from the prying eyes of the media, the diplomats and the majority of NGOs. The chance to become a Correspondent gives me a voice, to raise the voices and the plight of other women during a crucial moment in their lives. VOF gives me the power to be the eyes and lips of these communities and I hope I can be that.

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Comments

DDMCFARLANE's picture

Eloquent words

Dear MaDube, Your eloquent words have said it all. I hope your passion continues to burn, that you stay safe and continue your fight for your "beautiful nation - Zimbabwe".

DD

ddmcf

MaDube's picture

Thanks DD. It is always

Thanks DD. It is always uplifting to know that there is a community of women out there who support me in what I believe in and are there to lend a helping hand. I pray for safety and the safety of all the women in the coming elections. Thank you once again.

Beverly Rose's picture

Dear MaDube, First of all,

Dear MaDube,

First of all, thank you for your passion and courage in striving for social justice. As I read through the comments, it is obvious you have quite a following - and no wonder! You are an eloquent writer as you speak for those who cannot.

The situation you described of the elections was horrific. The use of violence to attain what you want is atrocious. I live on a small island in Hawaii, USA, where those in power use threats and intimidation to secure what they want. Granted, it has not escalated to violence and on a scale of 1-10 for atrocity,what you describe is beyond 10. But the point I want to make is that we must all have the courage to speak out against injustice. some never will, as here where I live, for fear of losing their jobs or their house, but empowering each other is critical.

May you be protected and guided as you continue being a voice for Truth. Wishing you much success - as well as safety and joy.
In peace,
Beverly

MaDube's picture

Dear Bev, (if I may call you

Dear Bev, (if I may call you that?)-thank you for your support. Thank you for your good wishes too because I will need them, we know many who lost their lives for speaking out in my country but I believe God shall keep me safe. I also decided to start a blog in July this year where I write on different aspects of social justice so if you ever find time please make a trip to www.madubesbrainpot.wordpress.com and do share your views on my views :-)

Stash's picture

Where is the like button when

Where is the like button when you need it? When there are 54 comments that absolutely say what one wants to say but cant because it has already been said...sigh...MaDube, you make us 'Zimmies' proud. The world should see this, this is exactly why Zimbabweans are judged for being passive; they are threatened and often made to go through this...

MaDube's picture

We should ask Rachael,lol

Thanks Stash. I have been reading about the things that are already happening in Zimbabwe. I read about a group called Chipangano from Mbare who are already terrorising people ahead of the 2012 elections. Why won't some people realise that violence never solves anything. It only creates more problems.

Tari Andrea's picture

It runs better and better..

Dear MaDube,

I waited for so long to read your vision and here's the Day! I may not an expert as you but i truly believe that you are really a Great woman. You are visionary, you inspire many people here and share your own experience in a beautiful way, tough it seems so scary :( especially for the victims who had been hurt. I love the way you overcome problems and kindly happy have a friend like you. Be better each day, brings impact is your way!

Warmest,

Tari
Indonesia

--
M&E of The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria
Indonesia

"Be the change that you wish to change." - Mahatma Gandhi.

MaDube's picture

Thank you

Thank you Tari. Your name sounds so Shona, we have girls and boys named Tarisai or Tarirai which means "to gaze" or "look" and these names are often shortened to Tari.

Thank you for your support, for reading my story and urging me on.

Best,
MaDube

Fungai Machirori's picture

You are right!

In the run up to the elections, Zimbabwe definitely needs voice to tell it like it is. I am behind you on being selected as a VOF because that's what you are my dear! Thanks for speaking up x

from today i live out of my imagination
i am more than my yesterday
tomorrow i plant a new seed
nothing that lies behind easy
nothing that is ahead real
my within is all i have today
*Napo Masheane*

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