Contemporary forms of slavery

Protesters attend a demonstration against slavery in Libya in Stockholm on November 25 — Reuters

Protesters attend a demonstration against slavery in Libya in Stockholm on November 25 — Reuters

Stephen Mpofu
ANY mention of slavery sends the mind racing down memory lane, first to the 15th century when Portuguese explorers began the slave trade from Africa to the Americas, and then in 1865 when slavery was abolished in America.

Now, one might be mistaken to believe that slavery was buried with centuries past, but guess what?

SLAVERY does exist today albeit in different metaphorical forms around the globe, including here in Zimbabwe, as this discourse will attempt to show, thanks to various communication media in the US which recently opened the Pandora’s box to expose sexual improprieties by prominent political, entertainment and media gurus who will now obviously end up on the political and social spikes of history, respectively.

The very penetrating eyes of the media also recently exposed a different form of slavery in post-modern Africa’s Libya where African refugees were seized in that country while on their way to seek refuge in Europe — a continent to which many Africans have been fleeing hunger back home in the immediate past with many perishing in the Mediterranean Sea while en-route to their perceived haven.

According to world media reports, a video of captured refugees being sold exposed the scam with additional information to the effect that other refugees remained in the custody of their smugglers.

The reports by the media say the Libyan slave trade saga has touched off a furore with European countries stampeding into the issue to try to see what solutions are possible in the matter in point, with on this side of the Mediterranean Sea West African countries from which some of the refugees originate seeking ways of improving social and economic conditions to try to stem the plight of their nationals into foreign lands where not milk and honey but ill-fate awaits them.

But the reported slave trading of humans in Libya is not the only scandal that taints Africa’s global image, as political slavery is another mind-boggling challenge that confronts our continent, witness endless political protests, some of them violent, in many countries today against rulers who treat their people as though they were personal property with no rights to enjoy whatsoever.

This situation cuts across democratic principles otherwise embraced by leaders who entrench themselves in power as if though they, and only they, have a mandate from God to govern their countries in perpetuity.

But, of course, God’s will is for good governance, and protests against corruption, oppression, tribal-oriented development policies, et cetera, which often trigger political mayhem in Africa as well as in other countries on the globe clearly point to lip-democracy, and God is certainly not amused by this.

Back to sexual molestations that have seen victims of sex slavery in America coming into the open, one immediately zeroes in on Zimbabwe and is enraged on realising that, while the rhetorical volume against sexual abuse of women has been rising to deafening decibels, there has been no matching action on the ground against the offence.

Reports of rape cases, with young girls also being abused by relatives remain galore, not to mention church leaders as well as teachers who succumb to the urges of immediate, canal desires and sexually victimise female congregants and pupils or employees respectively with promises of various favours or threats on the lives of victims should they report the debaucheries to the police or other, relevant authorities.

Currently trending on social media in this country is a letter to President Emmerson Mnangagwa by an unidentified woman who claims to have been sexually victimised and enslaved by a prominent religious personality – cum prophet, and says further that she knows other sexual victims of the man in question.

The open letter goes on to allege that authorities at a certain police station in Harare along with an unnamed prominent woman were in the pocket of the so-called man of God and turned a blind eye and a blocked ear to the alleged offences.

The woman appears to have been encouraged by a recent turn of events in the country which saw Cde Mnangagwa becoming President after Cde Robert Mugabe resigned the post in a new dispensation guaranteeing freedom of expression, or so it seems.

Victims of sexual abuse in America now coming out in the open without looking back over their shoulders to tell their mind-boggling story appear also to have emboldened the self-confessed Zimbabwean sex victim to spill the beans, apparently in hopes that a massive crackdown would be mounted countrywide to get rid of the devil’s angels hibernating in our society as genuine leaders.

There is no doubt that the lady in question reposes unmitigated faith — as do many, many other Zimbabweans — in the new political dispensation that dawned on us recently, that the new Head of State will demonstrate a no-nonsense stance against any and all abusers of women sexually or otherwise.

The satanic, sexual aberrations under scrutiny above devalue African women who ought to mince-step their way each day along their life journey with their heads raised high knowing full well that they remain in the country’s telescopic eye of Zimbabwe’s laws guaranteeing their security at all times. Thus an imperative and urgent need exists to give the women of this country a bold new voice to help cleanse our society of sexual misfits.

It remains to be seen how the new government will act to rid our society of social, political and economic ills perpetuated hitherto by inverted patriots in order for a new Zimbabwe to accelerate its pace toward a season of joy in a brave new world.

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