Saturday, March 31, 2007


I was about to sign off on my column for this week when new information landed in my inbox. Someone told me that a new Zimbabwean pressure group has been formed in Toronto and it is called the Empowered Women of Zimbabwe (EWOZ).

It is late at night here in Canada and its my deadline, so you will forgive me because I do not have enough details about this spanking new organisation except that it is chaired by a fellow journalist, Irene Mazvita Mlambo. I am not sure yet what the organisation stands for but I promise to let you know next week when I get a chance to talk to the chairlady or someone in the group.

For years Zimbabwe has been losing thousands of its professionals to other countries who have readily accepted them as value added to their economies. One such country is Canada where Zimbabweans, although they are relatively fewer than other nationals, are already making their mark in various professional sectors.

This did not escape the eye of the Ontario provincial ministry of labour which is repealing its labour laws to enhance the integration of foreign trained professionals into the economy.

The ministry has especially sought the input of Zimbabweans “because of their high level of education and professionalism” to draw up a new law that will be used in future. This naturally makes us Zim-Canucks proud but our pride is tempered by knowledge that this kind of recognition would have been more meaningful were we at home and being accepted by our own government. Anyway, as this process progresses, I will be updating you.

There is nothing that is more fulfilling than to have someone take your criticism as constructive and try to do the right thing. In the past I have been “trashing” the Toronto branch of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). I have said, factually, that they are ineffective, disorganised and directionless.

Well, I see some change already. On Saturday I attended a meeting they called with Liberal Member of Parliament, Keith Martin, who has been fighting a lone battle to have Mugabe indicted as a war criminal by the Canadian government. Martin has lost that battle so he is seeking Zimbabweans to give him the numbers he needs to relaunch the effort.

So, in Saturday’s meeting, the MDC supporters pledged to back him by marching on the Zimbabwean embassy in Ottawa on April 16th as a way to draw Canadian attention to Zimbabwe’s plight.
The last time they demonstrated here in Toronto, they sang Ishe Komborera Africa and told bystanders that it was the national anthem of Zimbabwe. When I and other people told them that Zimbabwe’s national anthem had long changed to Simudzai Mureza WeZimbabwe/Pakhamisa iFlag yeZimbabwe, they argued that it was a Zanu PF song. So, I was pleasantly surprised on Saturday when it was announced that MDC members were learning the actual Zimbabwean anthem which they had now accepted to be theirs as Zimbabweans.

One member asked MP Martin to lobby the international community to allow Zimbabweans in the Diaspora to vote. Martin rightly answered that this issue is a constitutional matter that only Zimbabweans could determine.

However, that point was, to me, a sign of foresight on the part of the member. Some of us have long argued that if Mugabe could be forced to allow exiled Zimbabweans to vote and then make sure the elections were monitored more tightly than before, then this time next year, we could be talking of a new regime in the country. Food for thought.

Watch this space.


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