Open Letter: The “Curse” of Marry Mubaiwa Chiwenga… “the internet won’t forget”
OFFICE OF THE VICE PRESIDENT MINISTER OF HEALTH ZIMBABWE CONSTANTINO CHIWENGA
CC: H.E EMMERSON MNANGAGWA
CC: ZANU-PF WOMEN’S LEAGUE
CC: AMAI AUXILIA MNANGAGWA
CC: CHILD AND WELFARE ZIMBABWE
CC: ZANU PF NATIONAL COMMISSAR
CC: MINISTRY OF INFORMATION AND PUBLICITY
CC: ALL REVOLUTIONARY LEADERS
RE: Open Letter-The “Curse” of Marry Mubaiwa Chiwenga
First I want to sincerely thank our leaders who played a role in removing the late and former President Robert Gabriel Mugabe. On the 17th of November 2017, you were heroes. The late VaMugabe had said “Only God will remove me” then we saw V.P VaChiwengwa playing God’s right-hand man, that very moment, we all had hope.” Hope for a new and better Zimbabwe, a 2nd Republic that we felt it is what we have been waiting for. A new Dawn, there was hope.
Reminded me of the 1980 hope that the people of Zimbabwe had when we gained our independence. We sang and danced, we had won. There was hope, of freedom, of independence.
We looked back and said “The white man hanged our women, beheaded Nehanda, what an evil act towards women” we thanked the revolutionary leaders for such a great job, for fighting to protect us, we had hope.
Fast forward to 2021, there is Marry Mubaiwa Chiwenga, in the streets with rotten arms and legs, crying to see her kids. I heard what she did and why she is going to court, but Baba Chiwenga, what I see right now pains me and reminds me of other women abused, the Nehandas beheaded, this causes sadness to every woman, the idea or to just imagine being separated from own kids.
Whatever might have happened between you and Marry, it’s no longer about that but the office of the Vice President, Office of the Minister of Health and the whole Presidium. We engage with other world leaders, female leaders involved, how do they look at us with Marry crying out loud for help?
I was and still am one of the people who go all out speaking about Zimbabwe, standing against Sanctions imposed on us, which always brings the question of Human Rights abuses in Zimbabwe. How then do I and others prove that our leaders are not abusing the vulnerable and women when we have Marry all over the internet?
With all due respect leaders, this is no longer about you, but what it says about our country and its leadership. It doesn’t matter anymore what Marry did, it is now all about how you as a leader react to that. We already have the West and others waiting to call us names, why are we giving them weapons to use against us?
It is during the 16 Days of Activism against Women and Children abuse, we want to highlight how the government is protecting and empowering our women but we are meeting with the same response “How are they protecting women when the VP’s wife is all over the internet” We could say “you don’t know what Marry did, she deserve it” but that’s showing fear to all of us, to other women who might want to talk about challenges and abuse they face in their homes.
In 2018 we saw VP and Marry’s arms swollen, months down the line the VP flew to China for treatment and came back all healed and okay. Leaving Marry succumbing to her wounds in the streets, you know what that says about him and leadership? Should we face any challenges or tsunami, the leadership will fly themselves out of the country, leaving us all to suffer and accuse us of being sellouts. hanzi when a leopard is about to eat her cubs, it accuses them of smelling like goats.
One comment on social media gave an example of Tata Mandela & Mama Winnie, “we still don’t know what happened to them, uTata Mandela protected His office, his name, knew Winnie had supporters who will rise to her defence, saw whatever happened should be left unsaid because it’s not in the interest of the public, what we know is just speculation” We are now divided, women scared of the political circles because of what might happen to them. One might argue that but she is free to get treatment in Zimbabwe, if her condition was treatable in Zim, why did the VP fly off to China then?
These are the questions in the streets, these are the questions when we look at his office, why leaders get medical attention out of Zimbabwe but talk about how they are equipping our hospitals but Marry is now representing the truth, representing women who die during childbirth.
Marry resembles a Mbuya (Grandma) or a Sekuru (Grandpa) in Zaka who can’t afford to fly to China. We can go with the sanctions narrative but it sounds off to go that route because well, it’s not the West hindering Marry from going out of the country for treatment.
What are we showing the world? What message are we sending? And to who?
Whatever Marry did, let this case be dealt with caution, she wants to see her kids? Allow her. The internet won’t forget, our kids will come across those pictures, articles written, and the picture painted is how women are treated in Zimbabwe.
We already have cases of women abuse, sexual harassment in political circles, this is adding insult to injury. We can put a stop to this and clean up our name, protect our brand as a country. We are now not sure if this is teaching Marry a lesson or is it showing every woman what can happen to them.
We have few women participating at the political level and we have been told women are not interested but it is these harsh conditions, being used and spit out, sexual harassment, having to use your body to climb the ladder, or the big guys choosing your body over your brain.
When we hear these stories we tend to think it’s all lies but here is Marry, is she a representation of untold stories?
I am writing this as a sister, a mother, a leader, a Zimbabwean who loves her country so much, a voice that wants to see a better Zimbabwe, after removing Va Mugabe. If we keep seeing this, it reminds us of the youth militias, the attacks, we now begin to wonder are we the magororo akanga akakomboredza mudhara wedu?
Is it a case of Old wine in Old wine skins? Some might say This shows no one is above the law and Zimbabwe respect the rule of law, well, comparing everything that VA Mugabe did and what you all are accused of and Marry’s case, come on guys.
I am writing this with a broken heart, pained, hoping and praying that the 2nd 1st Lady’s dignity is restored, not just for her but for the whole country, women. Her wounds licked by flies resembles the suffering of our people, the pus that’s coming out of her wounds an analogy of our fears.
Our leadership are like parents, we should have the freedom to speak to you but right now, seeing Marry going under such public humiliation, reminds us of the Smith era where our people were hanged in public, dogs unleashed on them.
We ask, are we free? Are we independent, what is leadership, is this the same country our fathers fought for? What’s the difference between back then and now?
I hope our leadership will hear my plea, will find a better way to deal with this. It took me a while to gather courage to write this letter. Am I afraid? Yes, if it could happen to Marry the mother of his kids, what will happen to Martha? Maybe death, but is death my biggest fear as a Zimbabwean?
I don’t think so, my biggest fear is living in a country, led by a system that don’t see anything wrong, justifies ill treatment. My biggest fear is the No-Legacy that we are leaving for the next generation.
A concerned Zimbabwean A troubled African A bleeding daughter of the soil
Martha Shumba can be reached on Martha.firstname.lastname@example.org