Latest News Editor's Choice


Opinion / Columnist

In reponse to Cde Rutanhire's Sunday mail article 'Mujuru exposed'

28 Aug 2016 at 16:00hrs | Views
Dear Rutanhire

Iam a 30 year old Patriotic Zimbabwean. Since Iam so patriotic, let me start by reminding you sir that Sally H Mugabe was the first female to be buried at the national heroes shrine 12 years after our independence. Ratio of males to females in Zimbabwe is 52%:48% in favour of females. Would it be a bad thing to have such a ration representation in our heroes' acre? Maybe, maybe not. Maybe women don't deserve it after all, maybe women never contributed much to deserve heroism, maybe its because of the name of the shrine which is heroes acre and not heroines? Maybe our history needs rewriting? So many question and few answers.

If ever the liberation war had casualties, then women were the worst affected of all. It is the POVO, led by women, at homes that carried the burden of feeding and protecting the gun carrying Cdes. It is the women who made sure they cook for Cdes, they sing for Cdes and above all they tip the Cdes about the activities in the village. Most males who remained were either too frail, too young or in prison to be at war front. Some able bodied men who remained worked in towns for the livelihood of their children even for the supply of drugs and cigarettes to the Cdes. It is the women in villages that carried the life of Cdes and that of Zimbabwe in their hearts, and minds. It is the women in the villages who were kingpin Captains and they could make or break a large group of guerrillas with a slight form of misinformation.

The war terrain its self was too physical and rough in nature. It was a place where everyone was a law unto themselves. Most men felt that the war payment was the sex they could get from any woman at any time. Statutory rapes and other forms of abuse were very rampant during this time. Most children born during that war time do not even know their fathers. While both the female and male chimbwidos ran the errands of informing the guerrillas, the female counterparts had an extra role of being sexual objects of perverts and paedophiles masquerading as Vakomana or oGwa.

No reports were made at this time because that would have meant your whole family, if not the village, being burnt down in a massacre. Most parents gave their daughters up to this sexual exploit just so they could protect themselves from the Guerrillas who apparently had lost the values they were taught in Mozambique and Zambia that they are the fish and masses are the water. According to Mao teachings, these Guerrillas, who had gone rogue on rules and regulations of combat, had sole responsibility to protect the masses and that specifically the women, children and other vulnerable members of society. No wonder the war of liberation took so long to complete. Do you remember the song "Ndzira Dzemasoja"? there is a clear pround line which taught you to respect your sexual organs enough to give them sabbatical leave from engaging in adultery in which ever form.

Despite all this abuse, brave ladies chose to go straight to the training camps outside the country. The sole aim was to train combat war and free Zimbabwe. Those ladies that found themselves in the training camps had an extra war to fight. A war they were not even prepared for. A war of gender
profiling. While their male counterparts were send for training by the Male Commanders, they(female cadres) were divide up in a scramble for Africa style amongst the male commanders. Their excuse was that the war was too physically demanding for women to be part of it. They were quick to forget that it is these same women who carried the lives of freedom fighters in Zimbabwe by their daily updates. The forgot that it is the same women who gave birth, raised these same male commanders who now feel that women are weaker than them.

As if that was not enough, women had another extra war of nature. It is a known fact that women have their monthly periods and some actually get so sick for 3 days of so. Sending women to the front would, amongst other issues such as hygiene, be a security risk. An attack occurring during that vulnerable moment in their monthly cycle would be fatal to them. Sanitary pads were a scarce thing especially in the front. At Camps sanitary wear was supplied by UN aid and Christian care organisations that came in to teach women about hygiene and how to protect themselves from unwanted pregnancies. Having been sent to the front, these women would have been faced with fighting three wars again: one against sexual predators at night, who would be their own cdes, Two against Ian smith soldiers during the day who will be bombarding them with launchers, three: fighting the intense period pains when they come, if they are not impregnated already from the sexual assaults.

Despite all this, we have women who braved it all . Though abused sexually and verbally (being called a prostitute of the camp or Hure raShef) they braved it and bit the bullet. They paved their way, despite men drooling over their backs, breast and all, they defied all odds and defined their own paths. Most were sexually abused along the way. Some were suppressed because they dared challenge their male counterparts. The few that rose in the ranks didn't go to prominence because of the male chauvinistic mentality that controls the African men mind-set.

Education wise, most women had not even completed junior education back in Zimbabwe, and at training camps they were refused the opportunity to go and learn. Most men were given scholarships to train in china and Russia. Women were expected to look after children at training camps. Come independence, the government of the day appoints the academically qualified males into ministerial positions. While men were selected on merit into government, women who had merit were not even considered unless they gave in to sexual advances of those in leadership position. Those who braved the onslaught from men and were put in government were not given significant posts. They were put in posts where their decisions were limited.

Though we celebrated our independence from white oppression, women were still to get their independence from male chauvinist. Women once more had to fight the war of being in government though they could neither read nor write. Their will and love for Zimbabwe pushed them to match their technically and academically equipped male counterparts toe to toe. Women had to do triple duty: Raise the war children whose fathers they didn't know; Go to school and further their education and Lastly be involved in the running of the country. Men also had three wars to fight, one: be involved in running of the country, two: pick which women to sexually victimise in party structures, three: find means to make one's self rich through corruption.

During the war, people like Runaida, Margret Dongo, Oppah muchinguri, Sithembiso Nyoni, Thenjiwe Lesabe found themselves thrown among the wolves. These wolves instead of seeing cdes, saw liabilities in women. They made sure women must not be given leadership positions as men because "women could not lead men" in their minds. In party structures it was the same song. In 1961, Out of 14 ZAPU national posts , only 1 female Jane Ngwenya had a post of women affairs for obvious reason. This gender segregation even continues in 1963 when all Zanu national posts had males only. The mentality was that women are inferior to males and are good for nothing sexual objects.

Instead of fighting women who went to war and braced it all, sir Rutanhire may we give a moment of silence to the children whom women were forced to abort to cover rape cases in the camps, moment of silence for all miscarriages that occurred due to continued sexual assaults and STI that our women were forced to endure, moment of silence to the women who said no to the abuse and were killed as Vatengesi/Abathengisi, moment of silence to women who could not stomach the abuses and committed suicide during the war, moment of silence to women who lost their marriages due to the war abuses, moment of silence to women who upto today cannot tell their children who their real fathers are. Moment of silnce for women heroes whom the government of the day thought it wise to ignore upon their death eg Lesabe.

When we are done please let's stand up and give standing ovation to the ladies who during the day were the eyes and ears of Guerrillas, during evening were the vocal entertainment, singing to the Guerrillas, and during the night were sexual stands of the same Guerrillas who smeared them with STIs day in day out. Let's give standing ovation for ladies, despite all this, decided to let bygones be bygones and concentrate on building Zimbabwe with no hard feelings since 1980, a standing ovation for the ladies who single handlely raised fatherless children from daily rapes that happened. Standing ovation for women who breast fed while scouring for cover in thick of air raids.

Sir Rutanhire with all due respect, since you went to war front sir, in the same breath you used to denigrate women while hiding by name of Joyce Mujuru please tell us your role in the abuses. Help us understand how many girls you raped during the war, how many ladies you sexually assaulted, how many fatherless children you left. After that please give us a rundown of all war sexual escapades of all our male leaders. After that then ask yourself who the victim was and who the victimiser was. In the same breathe ask yourself what that exposé would have achieved. The same men who abused women during the war want to bring the evidence of the sexual assault so as to blackmail and shut the women up with it.

Hope no one is using you sir. However I still wonder sir, is this how Zanupf through you Cde Rutanhire, pays the women for their sweat? Can zanupf stoop so low or it was your own idea to undress ladies who sacrificed their youth and beauty for our freedom? Sir Rutanhire, Joyce represents your daughter, your wife, your sister, your mother, your granny. She represents all the heroines in your life. Cde Joyce Mujuru is not the main victim here. The main victim is your sister, mother, wife and granny out there. The main victim of your publication is not Joice, but its every
female counterpart that you work with. Its every female you have in your life. The bullets of undressing you think landed on Joyce Mujuru apparently hit even your own Female boss(es). Wonder what you think your female bosses had to do to get the promotion, your daughter had to do to get a job, your wife had to do to get her business moving. Wonder what you expect your female subordinates to do to get a job or promotion. I wonder. Hope you understand Sir that the problem is not OUR MOTHERS AND SISTERS BUT YOUR MINDSET. One thing that makes Mujuru a heroine is she achieved what most men and women could not go through and survive. After your detailed research on Runaida, please don't forget to give us your own detailed war victims account too.

My fellow Cde, just know that, WATHINT' UMFAZI, WATHINT' IMBOKO. Kuyeza nakuwe.

It pains the most that today we still find the same men who abused women in the past who want to come to us dangling used condoms as evidence that the women they slept with are no longer virgins hence must not be leaders.

Thank you.

Mangosuthu Mbele

Mangosuthu Mbele can be contacted on +263773461120
Source - Mangosuthu Mbele
All articles and letters published on Bulawayo24 have been independently written by members of Bulawayo24's community. The views of users published on Bulawayo24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Bulawayo24. Bulawayo24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

Subscribe

Email: