Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Why Invest in Zimbabwe?

A friend has to make a presentation to potential investors on the opportunities for investment in Zimbabwe today. She asked me to outline what sort of case I would make if I were in her shoes. Tough call, but I said I would have a go at it.

The first reason I would put forward at to why that investment in Zimbabwe makes good sense is that I have chosen to invest my own life and that of my family in the country. That was a choice and we have not regretted for one minute. We are making the kind of investment in Zimbabwe that is essential if it is to eventually become the sort of country it has the potential to be. I am working to restore the rule of law, respect for human rights and the sanctity of private property, freedom of expression, freedom of opportunity and a market driven open society. A society where every child has the opportunity to reach for the skies if she chooses to do so.

Are we going to get there, of course, it is only a matter of time. Those who oppose those principles are on the wrong side of history and will ultimately lose out. I do not share the views of the Afro pessimists and believe that Africa is in fact metamorphosing into the continent with the greatest potential today.

Zimbabwe epitomizes that scenario. It has one of the best climates in the world; it may be affected by global warming but two thirds of the country is predicted to be moister although the rest will be drier. Its people are hard working and entrepreneurial. It is the richest country in natural resources per capita in the world with several minerals in world-class quantities. Its tourist potential is virtually untapped. Commercially and from a logistics perspective it straddles the heart of southern Africa. Industrially it is at the center of the largest concentration of mineral resources in the world and has access to markets that now encompass some 250 million people.

Zimbabwe probably has the most open and free economy in Africa – there is no exchange control, no limits on what you can bring in or take out. We have no price controls and the labour market is regulated but dominated by negotiations between organized labour and management. We have a good banking system that is highly competitive and a stock market that is growing and able to serve the need for raising local capital.

The immediate short-term opportunities are associated with the fact that we are emerging from a lengthy period of conflict – associated with a serious and protracted economic collapse. This means that real assets – land and buildings, strategic enterprise and facilities are available at a fraction of their global value. It is estimated that asset values will have to rise five fold before they reflect their real value in today’s global economy. Assets; will never be as cheap or accessible.

Unlike many other countries in conflict, we have not been shooting at each other and Zimbabwe still presents a sound infrastructure and great living space. This is no Somalia and is surrounded by countries, themselves emerging from conflicts and collapse but now exhibiting rapid growth and considerable stability.

Then there are specific opportunities – we are potentially a world-class gold producer. We have numerous gold properties that all need investment on a significant scale and present opportunities for substantial returns. Our potential is for a number of large mines and gold sales of perhaps 100 tonnes a year or some $4 billion per annum.

Our platinum resources have already attracted many world-class players – Implats, Angloplats and others. Altogether some $20 billion is being invested in what is now recognised as the most accessible and low cost platinum mines in the world. Link that to the other metals that are associated with platinum and you get the potential for PGM sales in a few years time that will exceed $6 billion a year.

ESSAR has invested in the steel industry and claims that it will be exporting over a million tonnes of steel a year in twelve months. Associated with the steel industry, Zimbabwe has billions of tonnes of high quality iron ore and coal and it is only a matter of time before we see the establishment of bulk ore facilities off the Mozambique coast to take exports from this part of the world to the markets of Asia.

Spain receives some 60 million tourists a year. Southern Africa some 15 million tourists this year. Despite its natural resources, the weather and tourist hot spots, Zimbabwe barely scratches the surface. Our potential is to capture at least a 20 per cent share of regional tourism and therefore rapid growth is possible. Plans are afoot to invest some $3,5 billion in the Victoria Falls area. The three Trans Frontier Parks constitute the largest contiguous conservation area in the world with the greatest diversity that is available anywhere.

If you put all of this together, there is huge potential in all spheres, retailing, support services, financial services, industry, mining, tourism, telecommunications, IT and even in areas such as medicine and higher education.

Do we have problems? Sure, who doesn’t? But we are working through them bit by bit and the outcome eventually will be a great place to live, raise a family and make money.

Would I delay to make sure that the future I outline above is secure? Perhaps but in doing so I would be forgoing the very real opportunities that are available to the brave few today.

Eddie Cross

Bulawayo, 30th July 2011


Saturday, January 1, 2011

Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country- J.F.K. Kennedy

The post-transitional political dispensation requires selfless politicians who answer the call for public service not out of the pursuit of personal glory and wealth but the desire to contribute towards the advancement of our people. Equally so, it demands an active electorate whose mandate will be to hold these public leaders accountable.
The duty to move the country forward rests on man and women whose moral character is molded by recognition of our fiduciary responsibilities as ward councilors, mayors, legislators, and public servants. The principles of transparency and accountability should hitherto be utilized to maintain trust amongst the citizenry.
Not only does this duty rest on the elected but on those who elect. It is a right of those who elect to reserve the right to express confidence or lack thereof of the individuals whom they elect through any legal mechanisms at their disposal. According to section 23 of the amended constitution number 19, “every citizen will have the right to free, fair, and regular elections for any legislative body, including a local authority.”
Since this writer is a human services professional, it is only proper to tackle this issue from that perspective. Prior to independence, Zimbabwe has had its own form of local governance system headed by the chief ably assisted by the “Dare” and the advent of colonialism ushered in a new era of local and national administrative structures comprising of rural and urban councils as well as the parliament and the cabinet. The office of the chief which has existed until this day has somewhat continued with the role of providing a safety net for the deserving poor through the “Zunde ramambo” concept and solving civil matters. On the other hand, urban and rural councils as well as the legislature and the executive brought in a western dimension of governance whose prerogative is to administer the affairs of the council, parliament, and government. Simply put, rural and urban councils have to manage public works, provide water to residents, and acquire and alienate land for council and state purposes (Urban Councils Act: 29). The Zimbabwean parliament and executive have the responsibilities of making laws and administering them respectively. The judiciary interprets, applies the laws, and ensures their constitutionality.
Supreme to all the matters discussed above, through the constitution of Zimbabwe every citizen enjoys the rights and protections to the following: protection of right to life; protection of right to personal liberty, protection from slavery and forced labor, protection from inhuman treatment, protection from deprivation of property, agricultural land acquired for resettlement, agricultural land acquired for resettlement and other purposes, protection from arbitrary search or entry, provisions to secure protection of law, protection of freedom of conscience, protection of freedom of expression, protection of freedom of assembly and association, protection of freedom of movement, protection from discrimination on the grounds of race, etc.
The foregoing leads us to the issue of upholding those rights. While activities of parliament have been in the public domain one cannot say the same about the workings of the executive. Understandably, the dominance of ZANU PF in both local and national politics from 1980 to 1999 was the reason for this politiburo veil of secrecy in running the affairs of councils, parliament, and the executive. During this period, local and national public leaders became indispensable regardless of their failures in providing and managing resources. However, the advent of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in 1999 somewhat lifted that veil leading to horrendous expositions of corruption, incompetence, and misgovernance. A cursory look at our laws indicates that there are guarantees for the protection of human rights and the advancement of the people of Zimbabwe in all spheres of life, however, this writer will argue that there is a dearth of selfless individuals who will implement the laws and work for the positive development of our nation. In other words, the culture of corruption is thriving contributing to Zimbabwe’s underdevelopment.
I contend that transparency and accountability needs to start from ward level up to the executive branch of government. The management of human and material resources by these public bodies has to indicate that there is transparency and accountability through the utilization of the committee system as enshrined by the urban council’s act and the Zimbabwean constitution. In the same vein, citizens need to actively engage these public servants through a robust community organizing strategy which utilizes these committees and regular hearings. Management of community and national resources is not only a prerogative of those elected but also of those who elect.
Currently, Zimbabwe is being governed by the GPA document which recognizes and accepts and acknowledges that the values of justice, fairness, openness, tolerance, equality, non-discrimination and respect of all persons without regard to race, class, gender, ethnicity, language, religion, political opinion, place of origin or birth are the bedrock of our democracy and good governance. It is a transitional mechanism which has to elapse after a new constitution is in place and substantive parliamentary and presidential elections are held and is not a guarantee for the attainment of economic and political stability. While many pundits focus on our legal framework, I argue and emphasize that mechanisms are not enough without selfless, dedicated, and committed public servants and a proactive electorate which holds these public leaders accountable.
Charles M. Mutama is studying a PhD in Human Services at Capella University, USA.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Maputo mayhem not just about food

'This strike is about the hike in prices, but more than that, it's about injustice. In Mozambique there is injustice, which should not exist in a country where people are at peace."

The view of 34-year-old Maputo resident Albino Mkwate explains the intensity of the protests that hit the Mozambican capital on Wednesday. Ordinary Mozambicans are up in arms, not just because of the high cost of water, fuel, transport and bread, they feel that they are being ignored by the government.

At least four people died after police opened fire on demonstrating crowds with rubber bullets and live ammunition. Some residents put the figure at 13. Angry groups stoned security forces, who deployed bakkieloads of men and armoured vehicles. Maputo residents woke on Wednesday morning to whispers of roadblocks, no public transport and closed schools.

Text messages were circulated the day before, encouraging people to join the strike in response to the high price of essentials. Mozambican law requires a licence to stage public protests. In the past the leaders of illegal demonstrations were arrested and jailed, said Fernando Veloso, the director of Canal de Mozambique, a local newspaper.

"The people were scared. And for the first time, today, they were not afraid," Veloso said. By 8am a haze of smoke had risen over the Mozambican capital from tyres burning in the streets, as reports came in of rioting in suburbs and townships just outside the city centre.

On the Avenida dos Acordos de Lusaka smoke lay thick on the road, as crowds marched with grim purpose and gunshots rang out in the distance. Horatio Antonio showed the bandages on his arm and chest where he was hit with rubber bullets while walking his daughter to school.

Holding the turquoise pellets in one hand, he spoke passionately about how the price of bread had risen "extortionately" in the past month. The price of bread rose 13% on Wednesday, while electricity and water costs also increased.

Last month fuel prices soared, an increase partly attributable to the government's efforts to maintain prices at non-market rates during the 2009 election year. Between July 2009 and 2010 the government spent $105-million (R765-million) on fuel subsidies, according to Veloso. Protests against the cost of fuel in early 2008 turned violent, with six killed.

On Wednesday the Mail & Guardian saw police firing at the protesting crowds. A man was shot through the wrist by a rubber bullet; another, with bloodied legs, was carried to the kerb by fellow protesters.

Someone began shouting that a child up the road had been hurt. Thirteen-year-old Elio Rute lay prone on the pavement, his schoolbag by his side. Protesters complained about injustice and unfairness and of a government that does not listen to its people.

In an interview on state television Interior Minister Jose Pacheco called the protesters "outlaws and criminals", while President Armando Guebuza called for people to turn in the instigators. By early evening smoke was still rising from the barricades of burning rubbish, as looting broke out again.

Every vehicle in the combat zone had its windows smashed. Ambulance sirens could be heard heading for the general hospital as the sun set. Clashes took place in at least seven different suburbs around Maputo.

After Pacheco's statement text messages began circulating asking protesters to "go on". Despite a partial return to work on Thursday, clashes between police and demonstrators continued in the streets of the capital.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Three Out of Four Zimbabweans Living in Poverty, Hungry; Many of Them AIDS Orphans

Factors driving Zimbabwe's high poverty rate include the country's large population of children orphaned by the HIV/AIDS epidemic, said a spokeswoman for the United Nations Children's Fund on Monday following last week's release of a report showing 78 percent of the population impoverished and much of it hungry.

UNICEF released alarming data showing 78 percent of Zimbabweans living in “absolute poverty." The agency said more than half Zimbabwe's estimated 13.5 million people live under the food poverty line with some 3.5 million children chronically going hungry.

The report said a burgeoning HIV/Aids pandemic has killed many breadwinners, leaving a large numbers of families headed by children and 55 per cent of the population living below the food poverty line meaning they are unable to meet their most basic needs.

For a closer look at poverty in the country, VOA Studio 7 reporter Sandra Nyaira turned to UNICEF Zimbabwe spokeswoman Tsitsi Singizi and Christian Care National Director Forbes Matonga.

Singizi said food availability has improved since the country's unity government was launched in February 2009 – but poverty remains widespread.

"Our research shows that one in four children in Zimbabwe is orphaned by HIV/Aids related deaths and vulnerable," Singizi said. Beyond their inability to meet material needs, many orphans and vulnerable children are exposed to exploitation and forms of abuse.

UNICEF, WHO And Health Ministry Move To Contain Zimbabwe's Measles Crisis

Moving to contain the spread of deadly measles throughout Zimbabwe, the Ministry of Health, the United Nations Children's Fund, the World Health Organization and other organizations will launch a major immunization drive in May aiming to reach all children in the country under the age of 14.

UNICEF Zimbabwe spokeswoman Tsitsi Singizi told VOA Studio 7 reporter Sandra Nyaira that measles has reached crisis levels, obliging Harare and its partners to step up efforts to stop its spread.

Many rural communities in eastern Zimbabwe have seen emergency clinics set up as was done to fight the 2008-2009 cholera epidemic.

Singizi told VOA Studio 7 reporter Sandra Nyaira that while officials are not declaring a measles epidemic just yet, the situation is very bad countrywide with cases reported in 55 of the country's 62 districts.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Harare Residents Trust Community Watch

Mbare Report:
Shawasha Hostels‐
The True Story
10 April 2010
Produced by Precious Shumba, the Coordinator of the Harare Residents’ Trust
Email: / 0912 869 294
Mobile: Mr Arnold Mangezi‐ Vice Chairman Mbare Residents’ Trust‐ 0733 543 928
Rosemary Madamombe‐ Committee Member 0912 804 565
Samson Mutsadyanga‐ Committee Member 0915 873 356
a. To highlight the plight of Shawasha Hostel tenants in Mbare
b. To recommend ways to address the challenges facing the hostel tenants.
The Harare Residents Trust (HRT) undertook this tour on Saturday 10 April 2010
following widespread reports by tenants who have attended residents’ meetings in
Mbare, at Mai Musodzi Community and Stodart Gym Halls. The delegation comprised of
the HRT Coordinator Precious Shumba, Kadoma Residents Association (KRA)
Coordinator Mrs Shorai Domingo, Mr Arnold Mangezi, Vice Chairman Mbare Residents’
Trust (MRT), Mrs Rosemary Madamombe, MRT Committee Member, Samson
Mutsadyanga, MRT Committee Member and Rudo Mudeyi, the MRT Treasurer.
The tenants’ problems range from inadequate representation by their elected
representatives, poor service delivery, high water bills and unaffordable rentals, as well
as deplorable living conditions tenants have endured for a long time. The challenges of
burst sewer pipes has been resolved by the City of Harare following the laying down of
bigger pipes, replacing the archaic pipes that had constantly burst, spewing sewage all
over the place. During this tour it emerged that City employees who earn monthly
salaries to provide cleansing services in the hostels have not been doing their work. In
separate interviews with City council employees, it was established that each block at
Shawasha Hostels is serviced by two employees who have to clean the flats, particularly
the toilets, the bathrooms and the surroundings to ensure they conform to the expected
minimum standard health regulations in terms of urban regulations and the Public
Health Act.
Sadly, these workers have not serviced the community as expected in terms of their job
descriptions. Tenants claimed that the workers lacked ‘seriousness, commitment and
lack tight monitoring’ owing to ‘politics’ whatever that meant. On further enquiry it
emerged that some of the workers were improperly recruited as they were employed
through their political superiors in higher authority which renders the supervisor
powerless to exert his authority on them. It is said that these workers are constantly
shielded from scrutiny by their influential handlers.
Some of the workers come to work late and leave very early, usually from 8.30am until
around 11 am, meaning they receive their full salaries which they have not earned.
The focus of this report is to explore the opportunities arising from this crisis for the City
council, the Ministry of Local Government, Rural and Urban Development and other key
stakeholders. From observations made during the tour, interviews with some City
workers and speaking to tenants, it is apparent that the major challenge compounding
the health crisis at Shawasha Hostels is the inaction of the City authorities in the
departments that oversee all carpentry and plumbing work.
For how else would the authorities justify the continued delay in the partitioning of
male and female toilets, leaving men and women to almost share the same toilet, with
superficial demarcations that directly undermine Zimbabwe’s cultural values. According
to some officials, these requests for the purchase of all plumbing and carpentry items
were made a long time ago but there is lack of commitment to address this situation.
The threat to the health of around 7 000 tenants cannot be overemphasised.
This report critically looks at the living conditions, water supplies, hygiene in Shawasha
Hostels and makes recommendations, informed by the expectations of the tenants.
The HRT expects that the City of Harare, the Minister of Local Government, Rural
and Urban Development will take this report seriously and attend to the issues
affecting tenants living in Shawasha Hostels, and other hostels in Mbare. The
situation as observed during this tour was pathetic. Human waste filled the passages
and dirty stagnant water covered the floors of the bathrooms and toilets. While this
situation has been made know to the authorities, still no action has been taken. Each
block at the hostels has six toilets and six bathrooms.
During the tour, the HRT observed the status of the hostels and the living conditions
of the tenants. Interviews were conducted with tenants in all the hostels, mindful of
the need to be gender sensitive. Focus group discussions were held with
representatives of Mbare Residents’ Trust (MRT), tenants and some City of Harare
employees during and after the tour.
a. Situation
There are 12 blocks of flats constituting Shawasha Hostels, each floor has 28
housing units, and there are three floors. In each housing unit, there are seven
people crammed in one room, making an approximate total population of 196 in
each floor. When they were built during the Rhodesian era, these flats were
meant to contain single male employees of local industry, while their wives
stayed in the rural areas. They were expected to move out once they decided to
stay with their families.
People reportedly slip all the time and get injured when they take their baths
because the floors have become slippery. There is no cleaning taking place
despite tenants making monthly payments to the local authority. Below are key
observations made during the tour;
• The toilets are unclean, human waste is everywhere on the floors
• The bathrooms have single taps functioning. The bathroom floors are flooded
with dirty water. On the other side of the bathrooms are sinks, which have
mostly collapsed.
• The taps on the sinks have ceased to function. Women were observed
washing plates in the filthy sinks, while their feet rested on human waste
scattered on the floors.
• In Block 1, C‐Floor, the sinks have fallen, the floors are water logged, and the
stench nauseating and the whole place is an eyesore.
• Cast irons have become rotten and there is unending leakages. Thick pastes
of human waste and dirty water leaking from the C‐floor, pours into the sinks
in B and A floors, making the sinks horrible to use, but the tenants use them
anyway. There is no choice. In some of the sinks it was observed that the
tenants have placed some buckets to try to minimise the splashing of human
waste but they overflowed.
• The toilets in all blocks, in the C‐Floor have knee high cardboards dividing the
female and male toilets, rendering privacy non‐existent.
• There are no lights in the corridors and at night there is always a looming
threat of muggings and rape to girls and women.
The C‐ Hall in Block 9 Hostels:
• The C‐Hall in Block 9 is occupied by nine tenants relocated from Block 4
Matapi flats which were burnt down on 5 January 2009 following an
electrical fault. On 9 January 2009, the victims of the fire were allocated
open spaces in the C‐halls in Blocks 9 and 10 at Shawasha Hostels. Prior to
the burning down of part of Block 4, Matapi Hostels, these tenants lived in
addresses ranging from C53 to C70. But despite not staying in their burnt
down quarters, the tenants have received statements from the City of Harare
indicating they owe the local authority amounts ranging from US$825 to
above a thousand dollars. It remains a mystery how they have calculated
these figures when these tenants have been without adequate
accommodation for nearly 15 months. For example, Mr C. Makasu of C65,
Block 4 Matapi, of Account Number 192004371000007 has received bills
indicating the following figures, stretching from October 2009. October‐ 586,
November‐ US$630, December‐ US$675, January 2010‐ US$724, February
2010 – US$774, and March US$825.
• These tenants in the hall face multiple problems.
• The tenants have sub‐divided the hall into nine housing units, using
cardboards. There are averagely nine people in each cubicle they call houses.
• The situation is the same across other C‐halls at Shawasha Hostels with
people sub‐dividing the halls into housing cubicles where an average nine
people share one room. Block 8 C‐hall is the only exception because it burnt
down three years ago and has not been repaired.
• Tenants in these C‐halls face another hurdle in their attempts to have a life.
Rats are breeding fast and destroying what remains of their personal
• Ceilings are falling in and leak heavily during the rainy season.
• Windowpanes are all broken and they have to endure winds throughout the
day, worst at night.
• Lice and mosquitoes have become a common menace.
• Electricity cables hang loose above the sub‐divided shacks, and there is
potential for fire breaking out, in the case of a short circuit.
• This situation with electricity has spread to the surroundings of the hostels
with members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police who patrol during the night
allegedly beating up people returning to their workplaces at night, especially
in Machingura Street, nearby. The HRT heard of how the police have waylaid
residents going or returning from schools.
• Within the hostels’ corridors, drug abuse is rampant with teenage boys and
men, including some women engaging in orgies of sex, capitalising on the
darkness. This has led to unwanted pregnancies and subsequently to risky
backyard abortions, creating health complexities among the victims.
• Used condoms are daily removed from the corridors. This might be traced
back to the issue of conjugal rights by married couples and partners. While
this could be attributed to prostitution, the tenants also believe that some
desperate couples decided to have their sex in the corridors and return into
their sleeping quarters afterwards.
b. Water Supplies:
The tenants in Shawasha Hostels face constant water shortages. In the A floors
across the 12 blocks there is only one tap functioning out of the six available.
People who want to do their washing have to wait till around 10pm to midnight
in order to get some water. This is difficult for tenants who live in the C and B
floors who have to climb down and up those stairs to fetch some water for all
domestic purposes. This places a burden on the aged who still live in the hostels.
Residents have to fetch water from the A‐floor so that council employees can do
the cleaning of their bathrooms, toilets and sinks. If tenants fail to provide the
water, there is no cleaning that takes place because the city employees refuse to
fetch the Water on their own.
The hostels’ tenants have an added responsibility of fetching water from the Afloors
to the other floors in order to have their places cleaned. However, the
challenge is that the cast irons that should be linking the whole water and sewer
system to the main sewer pipes have blocked, rendering all cleaning activities
The clogging of the bathrooms and toilets is attributed to the negligence of the
tenants, who constantly pour bones, cloths, sand, cotton wool and pads.
c. Response:
Recognising their living conditions and the failure by the local authority to
provide them with a clean living environment, the tenants, led by Mrs Rosemary
Madamombe, a tenant in Block 9, have set an example in Block 9. They now take
turns to clean the walls, the bathrooms and toilets, and the floors have been
regularly scrubbed to remove any dirty.
The Mbare Residents’ Trust (MRT), through the initiative of their Vice Chairman
Arnold Mangezi and Committee Members Rosemary Madamombe and Samson
Mutsadyanga and their adviser Tawanda Nyahuye, has come up with an initiative
dubbed ‘Chenesa Musha‐ Mbare’. This initiative’s objective is to;
• Mobilise resources to constantly clean the hostels and transform people’s
lives in all hostels in Mbare. These include sweeping brooms, gloves, repair of
sinks, sub‐dividing the toilets, purchase of taps, cleaning detergents,
respirators, gumboots, and repainting of the inside and outside walls. The
tenants have established cleaning teams that will oversee the whole
initiative, meaning they want to take an active role in the whole exercise.
• Make the City of Harare and other key stakeholders aware of the situation.
They seek a partnership that endures the test of time.
a. Women’s Rights:
According to Mrs Madamombe, the situation has been worse on women.
Relatives have ceased to visit them in the hostels due to the living conditions.
The dirty is overwhelming. In a representative situation, there is the father, the
mother, three teenage boys, two teenage girls, extended family‐ three more
males and two more females, primary school kids‐ boys and girls, totalling about
nine people, sharing one room. In the same room there are two other families
with approximately equal number of people, making the room accommodate an
average of 16 people. However, each family receives a bill from the City council
giving them the same room number as an official address, but with their
respective names. From the viewpoint of the City of Harare, they expect to
receive a total amount of around US$360 from the same room, from the average
four families sharing the room.
Husbands and wives, or partners no longer can have their conjugal rights as and
when they desire to. From the focus group discussions, it also emerged that
unfaithfulness has become the order of the day, putting the families at a higher
risk of HIV/Aids infection and other sexually transmitted infections. The women
accused their men of sneaking to other women for sex. The problems arise once
the men want their conjugal rights. The women said they cannot have sex in a
room full of people. Even when the children and other adults have gone to sleep
it is still a challenge to really enjoy your sex with your husband, Mrs
Madamombe said. Even if you just proceed to do it, there is always the risk that
your husband’s young brother, your child or young sister might wake up and
witness us in action.
‘It is un‐African to do that. We are now being beaten up by our husbands,” said
Mrs Madamombe. “There is no way any woman would accept to have sex with
her man in a crowded room unless you have become very desperate.”
If the woman refuses to have sex, the women said they are accused of infidelity,
forcing these ladies to simply go against their values, having sex in the same
room with your adolescent children.
Like the majority of the women in the hostels, they do not make reports to the
police in terms of the Domestic Violence Act. There are varying reasons they do
not report to the police‐ the husband is the breadwinner, if one makes the bold
step of making a report, the police allegedly demand bribes in order to withdraw
the charges.
Instead of houses being private sanctuaries for married couples, they have
become prisoners of hope as they struggle to preserve their marriages, and to
contain the rising anger against each other. Tempers flare easily, the tenants said
about their relationships, raising the stakes for domestic violence monitors.
The girl child has been devalued. She has to endure witnessing her brothers and
parents taking turns to close eyes while they changed clothes. The kids are
witnessing their parents beating each other up, psychologically impacting on
their lives. In one case, a 12‐year old boy raped seven girls aged from six to nine
years in Block 10, Shawasha Hostels. When the girls’ parents made an official
report at Matapi Police Station, they were told that ‘children living in those
circumstances usually do that kind of thing” and nothing else was done to
address the situation.
Women now face constant harassment from their husbands owing to several
issues. They are usually accused of infidelity if they delay returning from fetching
water downstairs or Mukuvisi River if the situation is desperate enough.
This has left most marriages on the brink of collapse in the hostels. Occasionally
one witnesses couples seated in the open grounds nearby outside their hostels
just to have a quite time to talk about their private issues alone.
b. Maintenance of Hostels:
The council has abandoned its responsibility of repainting the outside and inside
of the hostels. Council employees used to be available to monitor how tenants
behaved around the hostels. They also closely monitored how the women doing
dishes did it, preventing them from using sand, as it blocks pipes. Tenants caught
misbehaving were constantly reminded of their terms of occupancy of those
rooms, with threats to repossess their houses. The rentals were affordable in the
past but now the charges have gone beyond their incomes. For a long time, the
City of Harare has not devoted any resources towards the maintenance of the
hostels, and years of neglect have affected the piping system, the walls, the sinks
and general orderliness. Walls across all the hostels, the interior and exterior are
written all sorts of things like: Zanu PF chete, Vote Savanhu, MDC Ndizvo, Hatidi
Uchapa, marara panze. Graffiti is everywhere.
Matapi 14 9, 120 people
Nenyere 13 7 644 people
Shawasha 12 About 7, 056 people in all the hostels with
588 on an average of 7 people in each
housing unit per block. There are about 28
housing units in each floor. There are three
floors on each hostel
Mbare 9 2 400 people
Matererini 10 2 500 people
The residents in Shawasha Hostels deserve better. There is nothing being done to
suggest that the City of Harare has taken the necessary steps towards addressing the
concerns of the hostels’ tenants.
• The overcrowding can only be overcome if the City of Harare or Central Government
provides land for these tenants to build their own houses.
• The Carpentry Division at City of Harare should urgently sub‐divide all the toilets to
clearly separate men and women.
• The corporate sector can provide 108 brooms, 60 litres of toilet cleaner every month for
each of the 12 blocks, 36 pairs of gloves and gumshoes per block, floor polish, paint for
all the blocks,
• Residents to provide all labour in this initiative as long as these materials are available.
• To hold civic education seminars for all tenants so that they understand their
responsibilities towards their community infrastructure, on health and environment.