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Domestic Violence Bill is just the beginning
Betty Makoni
May 28, 2006

Dear Editor and Ken Mufuka

Africa is known to have fought against many injustices in the pre colonial, colonial and post colonial era but the struggle for women and men to disband and dismantle patriarchy which for years has justified wife battering, rape, forced marriages of girls, polygamy and domestic violence is but one outstanding struggle in Africa. The so many arguments advanced by Ken Mafuka as to why the Domestic Violence Bill should not be enacted is a clear testimony that he is still bound by beliefs, practices, myths and attitudes of patriarchy. Patriarchy does not have a space for women whether they are black or white. When a woman speaks out or attempts to make a breakthrough into a male dominated field she is stereotyped, harassed, jeered at, beaten up and replaced with an African morally correct woman with a subdued voice.

Ken Mufuka is a defender, author and architect of patriarchy. Rape of young girls is happening daily with the youngest rape victim in Zimbabwe aged 3 days. Women are battered, sexually enslaved, maimed and sometimes left for dead, economically abused, murdered and in Buhera four men murdered a woman because she could not breast feed. Violation of womenís rights is now the order of the day and 60% of new infections are with married women in Zimbabwe. If Ken Mufuka is in the US he may be out of touch with the reality on the ground and as such editors of Fingaz should consult widely on facts and figures on Domestic Violence before downplaying ongoing efforts to have the Bill enacted into law.

Zimbabwe may be the only country without a specific act of parliament to protect children ,women and men in the home from domestic violence. I felt really depressed last week at a regional workshop in South Africa to learn most of the neighbouring countries enacted the Domestic Violence Bill and all their women, children and men are living harmoniously in the homes. I would not like to legitimise Ken Mufuka and other defenders of patriarchy by arguing on merits and demerits of the Domestic Violence Bill. As feminists, gender activists, defenders of womenís rights or whatever names people choose to give us we will continue to fight for womenís rights because they are human rights.

For Fingaz, maybe this is time to reflect on whether you want your paper to be a battle field for patriarchy between women rights activists and Ken Mufuka. We need your paper to demonstrate democratic principles by ensuring that you are not used to perpetuate patriarchy which is the worst dictatorship for women in living memory. Last week I followed Mavis Makuniís analysis of the Zuma rape case and I felt the paper has a space for women. Honestly, you need 52% of the population who are women in this country to feel supported in their tortuous journey to freedom.

By the way I am "Muzvare" meaning Princess, from Makoni and Chataurwa na Mambokadzi hachipikiswi, Ken. Domestic Violence Bill is just but one of the million demands from women in line with the Millennium Development Goals. The Domestic Violence Bill is only the beginning as all marriage laws that allow men to have many wives and forbid women to do the same are in the pipeline.

*Muzware Betty Makoni is Chairperson for the Women's Coalition of Zimbabwe

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