We write in reference to a cartoon by the Chronicle cartoonist Musapenda on the Chronicle of 4 February 2016.
We need to put it on record that whilst appreciating that Musapenda as an artist has artistic freedom, it needs to be considered that:
1. the issue he poked fun on, the issue of high failure rates in Matabeleland is a serious human and children’s rights and development issue which cannot be trivialized in such a manner;
2. It is tribally insensitive and wrong for Musapenda to infer that the people of Matabeleland and Midlands fail school and excel in prostitution as depicted by his prostitution like characters. Please bear in mind that we are aware that Musapenda uses such skimpy attires to depict prostitutes in some of his cartoons;
3. This cartoon by Musapenda also comes at a time when the people of the region are complaining of Shona teachers in Matabeleland and have observed that it is their presence that contributes to failure rate of the region. Musapenda being Shona himself seems to be enjoying our calamity and this makes us believe the Shona have a well calculated and structured plan to violate our rights and laugh at us.
Based on the above facts, we feel Musapenda did not only abuse his artistic rights but also violated the rights of the people of Matabeleland and Midlands especially their right to dignity.
We as an organization that exists to protect and promote human rights in the region therefore requests that:
a) Musapenda be expelled from continuing to serve as Chronicle cartoonist because Chronicle is the region’s paper and the people of the region cannot be insulted through their medium,
b) Chronicle management issue an apology to the people of the region on this,
c) Musapenda also issue an apology to the people of the region on this.
We hope to our concerns and issues will be addressed for the sake of the dignity and rights of the readers of this Chronicle paper who use their hard earned cash to support the paper and pay Musapenda’s salary.