Last week I wrote an article here regarding the Zimbabwe situation when the hashtag #HowTheyRobbedUs was initiated by Phil Chard. I was motivated to write this article after I watched a Facebook video in which Acie Lumumba vilified anyone who dared to criticize Evan Mawarire, Patson Dzamara, Acie Lumumba himself and the rest of the Zimbabwean activists. Acie Lumumba said they were doing this for “us” the people apparently so we should all be grateful, stop analyzing or commenting online and just support them. This did not seem logical to me because I do not see anything being achieved by these activists for “me” in particular. I do not see how any of the current activism going on in Zimbabwe is going to change anything for anyone. I also wrote the article because I was not in support of the #HowTheyRobbedUs hashtag. As I wrote the article, I also expressed my views on Linda Masarira. Even though I used to be a very strong supporter of her, I expressed how I no longer supported her mainly because I thought as a mother her priorities where misguided. Linda has responded to the article and here is her response.
” Hi Jean
I would never expect you to understand because we are living in two different worlds. I have been fighting the Robert Mugabe regime since 2009 and was abducted the same year by state security agents demanding to know who was paying me. I spent three days in a pantry (God knows where). I went for years without a pay day, until it came to no salary at all and to date NRZ workers have no pay day. There is gross violation of human rights in Zimbabwe and no one would deliberately want to get arrested its unfortunate you do not know the conditions of prison cells here in Zimbabwe.
That abduction alert and selfie saved us a lot. Just in case you didn’t know the day i got released from prison other activists were taken practically abducted by policemen in the form of arrests and were dumped in some bushy area after being severely assaulted and injected with a still unknown substance. Itayi Dzamara was taken by police officers in the form of an arrest and is still missing. Just recently Gift Ostallos Siziba was abducted by the police and dumped at Zanu PF hq were he was severely assaulted. Its simple and easy to comment, criticize whilst seated in the comfort of your house. Your criticism wont stop us to fight for justice, democracy and freedom. When i started activism I didn’t start it for you but for my kids because I want them to have a bright future and I will not stop because you think I am putting up a show. Ndini ndakarwadziwa neregime iyi, I have a personal problem with Mugabe and his minions and i will not rest until i resolve. If it means death let it be. I am not a coward, i will not flee to another country. I will fight and I will win and with those like minded Zimbabweans we will re-build Zimbabwe.”
My response to Linda…
Dear Linda. Firstly I want to appreciate you taking time to respond to me woman to woman. I do appreciate it.
I also want to applaud you for saying that you are not a coward to run away from Zimbabwe. I believe your fellow activist Evan Mawarire is. He stirred up the people, started a movement then ran away to greener pastures after spending just a night in the cells. You, a woman, spent 3 months in jail, probably one of the worst prisons in the world, even being put in solitary confinement, but you are still there in Zimbabwe. Among all the activists in Zimbabwe, I consider you to be the bravest. You are true to your cause and you do stand by your word. I may not agree with everything you do Linda, but one thing I can never take from you is your bravery. You are a real trooper, and for that I lift my hat off.
Now going to the other issues you raised, you mentioned that I may not understand what you are going through. However during your time in prison I said prayers for you, I went as far as to sketch a picture of you and wrote an entire article dedicated to you. For me to support you like that means I understood your pain.
But after you came out of prison, my support for you began to waver. I understand all the political points your raised, which I agree with 100% so I wont go into it. I am also hurt by what is going on in Zimbabwe and have supported other activists, especially the woman activist who fainted in court because of hunger. But I believe that when you are a mother , be a mother first before anything else. Like you, I am also a mother of 5 children, and if I am correct I understand we are the same age. I believe even if you are in a war zone, as a mother you do not leave your young children to go and fight the soldiers. I believe the moral thing to do is to be with your children, especially at a time like that. You covering them with love, comfort and security is worth more than you going out to punch the soldiers for their sake.
Linda have you ever noticed how mothers are likened to chickens or hens. When God describes protection from evil in Psalms 91, He tells us that we seek refuge under his feathers/wings. Even though the Eagle is the most magnificent bird in the bird kingdom, the wings that are being described in Psalm 91 are not that of a flying eagle. Rather they are the wings of a humble chicken. We often use the term “mother hen” when describing a protective caring mother. If you study the characteristics of a chicken, when danger comes, it gathers its chicks under its wings. It does not go out to fight the danger whilst leaving the chicks alone. If she leaves the chicks alone, they will scatter and be vulnerable to even other worse dangers. The only priority of the mother hen is to gather and protect her chicks under her wings. The safety of the chicks is only found under the wings of their mother, that is where their security and protection lies.
I listened to one of your interviews with ZimEye in which you were crying after your children were sent home from school and if I remember correctly, you did not even know that their school fees had not been paid. I also read somewhere that when you were in jail, your children were facing eviction from their home. These are only a few of the unfortunate incidents that come to the public attention about what your children are going through, probably the worst we will never know. Your children are suffering psychologically and emotionally from your absence. The trauma they may suffer caused by your absence may be worse than that caused by the Mugabe regime. I understand your passion for change. But my point to you is please, there are times when you have to prioritize. Protesting the Mugabe regime is very important to you and I applaud you. But all things should be done in moderation, especially when there are children involved. I am a woman who loves children too much, I always think of them first. For that reason I can not support what you are doing at the moment, I believe it is wrong because right now as a mother hen, you need to be with your chicks/children. I may be wrong Linda, but this is what I believe.