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Explain Jenni’s agenda

I HAVE been following the career of activist Jenni Williams, the national coordinator of Women of Zimbabwe Arise (Woza), expecting the newspapers which regularly publish stories about her encounters with our misguided police officers to e

xplain to the public what her agenda is.

All we read are reports about Williams leading some women on marches from Bulawayo to Harare. Then they are arrested and her picture appears in the newspapers. I read that Williams was in London last week and seized the opportunity to address an MDC meeting.

She urged Zimbabweans living abroad to advise their relatives back home to pour into the streets and drive President Robert Mugabe out of office.

I am frustrated by the failure of our journalists to inform the public where exactly Williams is coming from. It was reported that she has been arrested 20 times. What material benefit does Zimbabwe get from these arrests?

I believe these long-distance walks are sponsored by some donor organisation. It is possible that her trip to London was also sponsored. If a woman from Mpopoma presents a proposal to a donor for sponsorship of a Valentine’s Day’s march, will she get the funding?

Most of the poor women who march with Williams know nothing about Valentine’s Day and have probably never received a present on the day.

The sophisticated black women who receive huge flowers on this day of shameless capitalist exploitation are, of course, too smart to march with Williams. How long will it take the people of Zimbabwe to realise that these poor women are being exploited for the donor-funded sustenance of Williams?

How about the donor community, the independent press and organisations such as the gullible MDC? What do women activists such as Thoko Matshe and Everjoice Win have to say? What about the husbands?

I don’t believe Williams has another source of income since she lost her job with the Commercial Farmers’ Union a few years ago.

Did Williams march with any white women to protest against the oppression and racial discrimination by the Ian Smith regime? So what do these poor women get in return for walking? A coke, a bun and painful blisters?

If Williams is driven by a genuine desire to promote the welfare of us — the women of Zimbabwe — let her secure donor funding, but let that money be used to launch some productive project.

Please keep up the good work that you are doing.

Mai Chengetai,


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