“If we cannot live as free men, we will die as free men” – Guest Blogger

Dear Zimbabwe, All Our People,

First, I would like to thank the prevalence of technology that enables us to speechify without standing on a podium which has allowed this speech to reach to you.

If there was a Zimbabwean dictionary of politics, we would add the new word Feya Feya.

The Kenyans have their own political jargon in vernacular. Wananchi means the broad citizenry. Uhuru means Freedom (All Swahili).

The South Africans have Asijiki, which we have borrowed here. Now Feya Feya means democracy plus equality generally.

It is democracy in our own language and lived experiences.

Feya Feya is an expression of our individual and collective longing for freedom and fairness

That is also the theme which runs throughout our new Constitution. Regardless of which province we come from we must see equal prosperity (devolution and equality of the provinces in oneness).

Regardless of our past we are all Zimbabweans now, black or white alike.

Regardless of our social standing we must see the same treatment before the law.

Regardless of which way we look at our national politics we must feel the same comfort to reveal our standing and have the same freedom of speech.

We must have a vote that weighs the same for each citizen. Regardless of where we come from we must be treated fairly at work throughout the country with particular attention to merit.

There should be no doubt both in our minds and in our actions that the natural resources both on and below our land belong to us all today.

I am glad to be a fighter for Feya Feya toward and beyond the 2013 elections.

Even the pre-Independence struggle was a struggle for Feya Feya. Feya Feya is not only a political principle; it is also a social and economic principle.

Borrowing from the most emotional statement from the Mgagao Declaration of our true freedom fighters in Tanzania, in December 1975, indeed, some of whom did not live to see the betrayal and new oppression:

if we cannot live as FREE men, we will die as FREE men.

Today, we accept that we are all equal Zimbabweans.

Indeed, Feya Feya is what we should have lived from day one of our independence on 18 April, 1980. Feya Feya has been delayed, but cannot be denied.

The slogan is forever that: Feya Feya In Our Lifetime! Pamberi ne Feya Feya! Mayibuye iFeya Feya! iFeya Feya Namhlanje!

Sincerely in Support of the National Program of Feya Feya,

Yours Comradely,

Vivid Gwede


Watching from afar: the painful exclusion of a diasporan – Guest Blogger

It’s 13 days before a decisive national election in my motherland – Zimbabwe.

And I’m confronted by the brutal reality that my dream of determining the future of my country and exercising my right to self determination is just that – a mere dream.

Together with hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans in the so called ‘diaspora’ – I’m forced to be a hapless spectator.

I’m forced to ponder on the question: “Where do I stand in shaping my country’s future?”

I’m 100 percent Zimbabwean. A Manyika to be specific. Hailing from Tanda in Rusape.

Honourable Elton Mangoma is my outgoing Member of Parliament while Chief Makoni is my traditional leader.

My totem is Shumba (lion) ‘maSibanda’.

I was born and bred in the capital of the Midlands Province – Gweru.

And I was educated at Cecil John Rhodes Primary School then St Dominics Chishawasha then Thornhill High School and finally the Midlands State University.

I’m fluent in Shona and speak a bit of Ndebele.

I am a Zimbabwean.

Am I not Zimbabwean?

Fortunately or unfortunately (it depends on how you look at it) I am betrothed to an Angolan.

I find myself attempting to fit into a society which is so different from mine.

They drive on the right side of the road, use right hand cars, speak Portuguese, consider lunch their main meal, eat cassava meal instead of maize meal (sadza in my mother language) and have no problem buying meat from what we call flea markets back home.

The differences are so many.

I am called ‘estrangeira’ (foreigner in Portuguese).

Yet, for some reason my government chooses to ignore these facts by disenfranchising me, virtually excluding me from any electoral processes.

The heartfelt musings of a Zimbabwean sharing of her sense of ostracism from participating in the forthcoming elections. From her blog, we invite you to read her story told in her own few words

Let’s make it feya feya and inclusive!

There’s a always a need for fairness – Guest Blogger

…there is always need for fairness – even armed combat has rules! Winning a fight through unfair ways will not earn you respect, or any legitimacy.
Let me give an example: an act like of furious Mike Tyson biting off a piece of Evander Holyfield’s ear in an old boxing match.
Let me ask you: If you would have no problem asking for ‘feya feya’ in an idle card game, from a soccer referee, or gambling with coin-money around street corners, what more in a national harmonized election?
After all, in life, fairness is all we want.
With these words, countrymen, let us have ‘feya feya’ elections!

We are thankful for the Zimbabweans that are speaking up, speaking out and speaking NOW on their desire for free and fair elections – you can read the entire blog on Elections: Zimbabwe, Let’s Embrace ‘Feya Feya’
Let’s make it Feya Feya – just free and fair!

ZEC, we demand feya feya treatment at registration centres – Guest Blogger

I can’t say that I am surprised.
Saddened. Disappointed.
But I am not surprised that ZEC would turn away people who had spent five long hours waiting in queue to register to vote.
At 7pm, the ZEC official in charge of the process walked to the door and addressed at least 150 people waiting in the biting cold, told us that there wasn’t anything they could do for us and that we ought to try again tomorrow.
The person nearest to him was a mother with a baby strapped to her back.
The little girl had been wailing before and her mother had consoled her by telling her that it would soon be over.

From sunset to sundown...Zimbabweans cast long shadows at the ZEC registration centres waiting to register as voters (pic. by Fungai Machirori)

And after five long hours, it wasn’t.
There was an angry outburst with people stating that they weren’t animals to be shooed away like that; some people just shrugged their shoulders, dejectedly stating,
If you don’t want us to vote, then we won’t.That’s what you want anyway.
And then the ZEC official shut the door on all the noise, leaving everyone out in the cold to nurse their frustrations.
But you know what?!
Frustration builds into resolve. Tears on the verge of being shed seep back within and become strength.
It’s taking ZEC at least an hour to register just 10 people.
You are meant to become frustrated, and therefore sulk off never to return to exercise a right which is not owned by ZEC or anyone else!
Manje, I am going back there tomorrow at 6 am, an hour before they open, and I am going to register!
I would advise you all to do the same.

Feya Feya is protection of the voter…

It’s good to know that members of the disciplined forces now have an opportunity to cast their votes in a secret environment because this means that they can vote for any party and person they wish.

The Feya Feya campaign is founded upon 11 Principles (Feya Feya 11) which will be revealed later in the week. Among the Feya Feya 11 is a demand that:

free formation of voter preferences [be allowed to] take place without cohesion, manipulation or intimidation and [ZEC must facilitate] the insulation of this choice through effective secrecy of the ballot.

No more fear for members of the disciplined forces…cast your ballots in SECRET!

It is commendable that ZEC has announced that July 14 and 15 has been set aside as dates for casting of the special vote.

In terms of Section 81C of the Electoral Act, Special Votes are cast by members of the disciplined forces who would be deployed to cover security matters on the day of actual voting by the general public.

What is significant and which is a departure from the past is that the people casting the special vote that is mainly Police and Soldiers will cast their vote into an UNMARKED envelope and deposit it to a ZEC presiding officer in the presence of candidates or Chief Elections agents and Poling agents of all political parties and Independent candidates interested to witness this process.

Let’s protect the voter (whether he/she is uniformed or not); let’s protect their vote through a secret ballot; let’s make it feya feya!

In the past Police and Soldiers would cast their votes in the presence of their seniors and this is no longer the case.

It is the Police and the soldiers (the majority of whom intend to see a ‘feya feya’ free and fair election) that made this submission during the seventh parliament and hence Parly responded by amending the Law, now its their turn to fully express themselves in secret and have their vote remaining a secret.

ZEC has advised that:

All Political parties and Stakeholders who intend to witness the process of special voting from sorting of ballots right up to allocation and counting can contact their nearest ZEC offices, those who want to be accredited as Observers for this process can visit ZEC sub office at Harare International Conference Centre beginning 1 July 2013.

Protect the VOTE. Protect the VOTER. Respect the outcome. Let’s make it feya feya – just free and fair!