WOMEN ARE NOT BABY-MAKING MACHINES
Recent statement by Zimbabwe’s head of state, Robert Mugabe blaming women for failing to conceive and boost Zimbabwe’s population are unfortunate and are coming from a person who is out of touch with reality or ignorant of what the real issues are. He seems to be playing the blame game as he is used to when things go wrong, just as he blames the west or the MDC for the things that his government has failed to solve. Now to try and blame women who are the majority of the few people left in Zimbabwe is rather unfortunate especially coming from a man of his stature.
Mugabe is trying to run away from the real issues that are causing the population to dwindle which are there for everyone to see. There are various factors that are causing the country’s population to dwindle, but Mugabe has failed to tackle them or he has caused the situation. Some of the factors that has caused Zimbabwe’s population to dwindle are:
- The HIV/AIDS pandemic
- Poor or no Economic growth
- Social or political factors.
Looking at the above factors, one is tempted to conclude that all these factors are not by nature but they are man made and the government is to blame for at least ninety-nine percent of these causes. And it is Mugabe and his Zanu PF party who has been running the country for the past three decades and the policies that led to the economy failing to grow, people migrating in millions, political chaos and poor social policies are a product of Zanu PF. The HIV/AIDS pandemic has been allowed to wreck havoc and play its part in population reduction because of non-availability of medical care.
If we look back in the past decade, our economy has been in a decline because of mismanagement, poor policies, corruption and incompetence, all that are characteristics of the Zanu PF regime. When the economy started to decline, people were forced to migrate to other neighbouring countries or other continents to seek for greener pastures or do menial jobs just for them to be able to look after themselves and their families. When they went, they went with their professional skills and also some took their families, but some left them behind and some haven’t been able to reunite and families were broken and one-parent families are also a common feature in Zimbabwe at present. So how can a family multiply in a one-parent family? Those who went with their families are multiplying there wherever they have been given the right environment to multiply without the fear of an unknown future for the children born. Then came the Zanu PF madness after 2002 when they started the political persecution of anyone perceived to be anti- Mugabe and pro-Tsvangirai. Never under estimate how this has affected the movement of Zimbabweans around the globe. The number of people who have been forced to flee from Zimbabwe because of being Zanu PF opponents is just unbelievable. Zimbabweans are dotted all over the globe, why? Because they have got different political views, different political affiliation, or different political opinions towards Mugabe`s regime. People have been killed, prosecuted, persecuted, tortured or displaced for having different political views and have all been forced to start new lives in some foreign land and some have become citizens there and are boosting other countries` population.
The Mugabe government has failed to provide basic healthcare for people to be able to live longer than 37years for men and 34years for women, which is now the average life expectancy for the majority of Zimbabweans. As a result of poverty, women have been forced into prostitution just to be able to have a plate of food for their children. This prostitution has contributed to the high rate of HIV/AIDS related deaths. The Mugabe government has done nothing to control this pandemic that has wrecked havoc amongst its population. HIV/AIDS is a virus that in other countries people are living with and leading a near normal life, but in Zimbabwe, the available medication is a privilege for the few, hence people are dying early because of limited access to medication or sometimes unaffordable healthcare. The Mugabe regime is giving priority to defence budget ahead of education and healthcare as recently confirmed by one opposition cabinet minister that the Ministry of defence is spending seven times more than the Education department responsible for some eight thousand schools and sports.
Mugabe should not expect women to just produce babies as if they are baby-making machines. Those children need a future. They need education, healthcare, jobs and a stable tomorrow, but in our country these are not guaranteed, they are a privilege for a few and the majority face a bleak future. Mugabe needs to know that it is his policies, poor management of the economy, which lacked vision for the future that is forcing people into having smaller and smaller families, as they cannot afford to look after more than what they have. Young people are even afraid to start their own families because they are afraid of the unknown future. Everyone knows that Zimbabwe has got enough resources to be able to sustain more people than they are at the moment, but the wealth is in the hands of a few of Zanu PF cronies, so Mr President you can encourage your colleagues and their wives including yours to have as many children as you want and boost the population figures as you can afford.
Gushungo gone are the days when the number of wives and children you had signified the amount of wealth you posses as children were used to till the land and produce as much as you can.
BY Frazer Muzondo.