Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Harare: Renewed Hope as Strategic Litigation for Gender Justice inches in Right Direction

I must start by congratulating my sisters in Harare for a job well done putting pressure on the police to arrest the tout who undressed a young lady in public in broad daylight. Bravo my sisters. And of course the heroic Magistrate who remanded that tout in custody until 15 January 2015.

That is where he belongs. Inside. With other criminals and now his bullying tactics will be given a real taste of its own medicine.
Already for me poetic justice is taking its course because I know the situation in Zimbabwe's remand prisons is tough. This man is in the right place. Oh my justice is already being served to this one uncivilised man.

Some may say I am celebrating too early, well yes I am celebrating too early because I may not get the chance to celebrate again if the justice system in Zimbabwe slips again when the judgement day comes; so for now I have to make a quick celebration and keep my hope up and wish that history will not repeat itself,that History will not give that rowdy man community service or charge a lousy fine, that history will not repeat itself and let that rowdy man walk scot free, that i wont hear about evidence disappearing or inadmissible in court, that the young lady will have the prosecutor standing by her and help her get justice, that the victim will not herself be put on trial. Those are my fears and for this inch in victory i have to make a quick celebration.

Personally, I am a strong advocate of strategic litigation as a way to accelerate gender justice in Zimbabwe. Stiff penalties that will send a deterrent message to would be offenders and perpetrators. I have always argued for ages, why is that cattle rustling in Zimbabwe attracts an automatic more than ten year custodial sentence and yet violence against women and girls gets less IF they do get justice.

These are the fears I have to contend with until 15 January 2015. Just today on my Facebook page one guy said this; James Mabwe "Yaaaaah sure the law must take its course and woman must dress properly on public its also a lesson to woman out there should wear like woman not like prostitutes. its true touts over reacted but its a lesson to woman out there we are not in Europe but we are in Zimbabwe and we are Zimbabweans we have our on way of dressing"
I am lost for words. They don't want Europe to be copied when it comes to women's dressing yet they eat European food, dress like Europeans, drive European cars, read with and use European language of instruction. It just goes to show how self serving the majority of Zimbabwe men's interests are.

Unfortunately, the story of legislation and laws not working to help women attain justice and freedom is not only a Zimbabwean reality but an African tragedy and I hope that this case in Zimbabwe in particular will help start a much needed paradigm shift towards legally attained justice. Justice which can actually carry a sentence and tangible punishment which will send a clear message that women's rights must not be messed with.

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