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Inside Track:Can women force reforms through sex strikes?

If Zimbabwe’s nationalists had waited until now to recruit people to wage the fight for liberation, they would have failed dismally.

Report by Grace Mutandwa
The selfless spirit that existed during the 1970s when the war of liberation was fought no longer exists today. I am certain in the 1970s women’s clubs could have called for a sex strike and many women would have heeded the call. Today some might agree but will quickly go back on their word.

 
In 2009, Kenyan women locked their husbands out of the bedroom to express their frustration with the lack of co-operation between the country’s two parties in the coalition government. The wife of Kenyan Prime Minister, Ida Odinga, led them. Kenyan politicians could not live without sex even for a few days, so they got talking.

 
Recently, Togolese women also decided to withhold conjugal rights from their husbands to force out President Faure Gnassingbe who fraudulently came to power in 2005. Led by civil-rights lawyer, Isabelle Ameganvi, the Togolese women used the sex strike to propel the men of Togo to take to the streets and demand the president’s resignation.

 
Speaking to girlfriends this week about the possibility of Zimbabwean women doing the same to push for a stakeholders conference to discuss the draft constitution, push for a referendum and also demand the promised reforms under the Global Political Agreement (GPA), I was left with the sense that our women are not that selfless.

 
One friend said she was hardly getting enough sex as it is and was not about to forego the little she was getting. Two said they were in the process of successfully negotiating a “Shilubane” and joining a sex strike would jeopardise their chances. Apparently following the sexual revelations of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his South African former lover, Nosipho Regina Shilubane, the girls have now decided that sexual dalliances per day numbering more than two will now be called “Shilubanes”. Nosipho’s story has left many men with performance envy and the women demanding more from their men.

 
I tried to reason with the girls that while “Shilubanes” might be quite exciting, they should be more concerned about the quality not quantity. I also tried to entice them by suggesting that starving the men for some time might get us the reforms we want and also turn their men into raging bulls when they eventually make it back into the bedroom — they would get both the reforms and the Shilubanes — win-win if you ask me.

 
One friend is not getting anyway, so she was all for it but was not sure she could resist the temptation if someone came along during the strike.

 
The girls were also worried that their men would go and pay for it or find some women who would willingly supplement their daily rations because they were not really interested in matters of how we are governed.

 
Some people might not believe in using sex as a tool to get things done but it might be the only non-violent tool women can use to prob the good men among us to stand up and be counted. We all take sex for granted until it disappears off the plate then we get quite obsessed with it.

 
Both good and evil men love sex. The men who perpetuate evil constitute a very small number of men. We should take advantage of the many good men who feel helpless but would really like to rid the world of evil and would also like to see us all live in a democratic and free society by giving them something to fight for.

 
Lock the bedrooms and tell the good men that unless they fight for our reforms, they will not get any honey for two or three weeks. I tell you, despite all the arrogance some of our men show, they will crumble in less than three days.

 
The problem with my suggestion is that if a woman leads this sexual starvation revolution, as a woman should, there will be many who will want to know if the woman is married. If she is single then she will be accused of wanting to destroy marriages. This is exactly what happened to the Togolese activist!

 
But, the truth is, you do not have to be married to lead a sex strike. The reality sometimes is that some single women actually have more sex than married women. Any single woman who is willing to put her moments of ecstasy on hold for a good cause should be applauded and supported.

 
Walking up and down streets holding placards does not even dent the hearts and emotions of the men who make decisions on our behalf. It might be time to hit them where it hurts most — their trousers.

 
If all women cooperate, it might be a smooth non-violent protest, unless of course some rogue men decide to rape their women. No policemen can arrest you for refusing to give it up!

 
Last year Colombian women in the town of Barbacoas launched the “strike of the crossed legs” to get their government to build a road to their town. After a few months the government gave in, so keep it in mind. Sex can be used not just to destroy but also to build but we all have to have the willpower to forgo it for sometime and maybe, just maybe, we might achieve our goals.

 

How to deal with prostitutes

In both Kenya and Togo, women negotiated with prostitutes and were quite willing to pay them for disrupting their business. Prostitution might be evil but it is still some women’s livelihood so they would need compensation if we were to do it here.

 

Withholding sex can still produce the desired results

If Zimbabwe’s nationalists had waited until now to recruit people to wage the fight for liberation, they would have failed dismally.

 
The selfless spirit that existed during the 1970s when the war of liberation was fought no longer exists today. I am certain in the 1970s women’s clubs could have called for a sex strike and many women would have heeded the call. Today some might agree but will quickly go back on their word.

 
In 2009, Kenyan women locked their husbands out of the bedroom to express their frustration with the lack of co-operation between the country’s two parties in the coalition government. The wife of Kenyan Prime Minister, Ida Odinga, led them. Kenyan politicians could not live without sex even for a few days, so they got talking.

 
Recently, Togolese women also decided to withhold conjugal rights from their husbands to force out President Faure Gnassingbe who fraudulently came to power in 2005. Led by civil-rights lawyer, Isabelle Ameganvi, the Togolese women used the sex strike to propel the men of Togo to take to the streets and demand the president’s resignation.

 
Speaking to girlfriends this week about the possibility of Zimbabwean women doing the same to push for a stakeholders conference to discuss the draft constitution, push for a referendum and also demand the promised reforms under the Global Political Agreement (GPA), I was left with the sense that our women are not that selfless.

 
One friend said she was hardly getting enough sex as it is and was not about to forego the little she was getting. Two said they were in the process of successfully negotiating a “Shilubane” and joining a sex strike would jeopardise their chances. Apparently following the sexual revelations of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his South African former lover, Nosipho Regina Shilubane, the girls have now decided that sexual dalliances per day numbering more than two will now be called “Shilubanes”. Nosipho’s story has left many men with performance envy and the women demanding more from their men.

 
I tried to reason with the girls that while “Shilubanes” might be quite exciting, they should be more concerned about the quality not quantity. I also tried to entice them by suggesting that starving the men for some time might get us the reforms we want and also turn their men into raging bulls when they eventually make it back into the bedroom — they would get both the reforms and the Shilubanes — win-win if you ask me.

 
One friend is not getting anyway, so she was all for it but was not sure she could resist the temptation if someone came along during the strike.

 
The girls were also worried that their men would go and pay for it or find some women who would willingly supplement their daily rations because they were not really interested in matters of how we are governed.

 
Some people might not believe in using sex as a tool to get things done but it might be the only non-violent tool women can use to prob the good men among us to stand up and be counted. We all take sex for granted until it disappears off the plate then we get quite obsessed with it.

 
Both good and evil men love sex. The men who perpetuate evil constitute a very small number of men. We should take advantage of the many good men who feel helpless but would really like to rid the world of evil and would also like to see us all live in a democratic and free society by giving them something to fight for.

 
Lock the bedrooms and tell the good men that unless they fight for our reforms, they will not get any honey for two or three weeks. I tell you, despite all the arrogance some of our men show, they will crumble in less than three days.

 
The problem with my suggestion is that if a woman leads this sexual starvation revolution, as a woman should, there will be many who will want to know if the woman is married. If she is single then she will be accused of wanting to destroy marriages. This is exactly what happened to the Togolese activist!

 
But, the truth is, you do not have to be married to lead a sex strike. The reality sometimes is that some single women actually have more sex than married women. Any single woman who is willing to put her moments of ecstasy on hold for a good cause should be applauded and supported.

 
Walking up and down streets holding placards does not even dent the hearts and emotions of the men who make decisions on our behalf. It might be time to hit them where it hurts most — their trousers.

 
If all women cooperate, it might be a smooth non-violent protest, unless of course some rogue men decide to rape their women. No policemen can arrest you for refusing to give it up!

 
Last year Colombian women in the town of Barbacoas launched the “strike of the crossed legs” to get their government to build a road to their town. After a few months the government gave in, so keep it in mind. Sex can be used not just to destroy but also to build but we all have to have the willpower to forgo it for sometime and maybe, just maybe, we might achieve our goals.

 
For Feedback email: Mudiwa2002@yahoo.com/twitter@GraceMutandwa1

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