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Zimbabwe and its numerous 'boy-scouts associations'!

08 Jan 2018 at 20:08hrs | Views
President Emmerson Mnangagwa chairs the traditional Monday briefing session in Harare today.
It stank to high heavens just by looking at the pics of the JOC, a meeting held today and chaired by President Mnangagwa: pictures were in Bulawayo24: it was a group of only men, not one single woman was present. Is this our Zimbabwe in the new dispensation? President Mnangagwa's government has three women of more than twenty men in the cabinet. The Presidency is only men! Where are the women in the public sector? Are our government and some other opposition parties in our country missing the targets of UN-Sustainable Development Goals that says: "Ensure women's full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision making in political, economic and public life." There was no woman participation in the JOC today! Here we go!

The government of Zimbabwe is signatory to the sustainable Development Goals. A developing country like Zimbabwe should be sensitive to gender and must walk the talk and commit themselves to their pledges to respect gender balance in public and private sectors. What makes our current government shun the participation of women in the government running of service delivery to the nation? Zanu PF men did not fight for the liberation of Zimbabwe alone, women contributed equally. The women participation was even crucial to the freedom war. How long are we going to be dependable in home environments and never beyond, not in the development of our great nation? When it comes to gender equality in Zimbabwe we lack behind many countries even in developing countries. It would appear as if some lip service is applied here and there to colour gender presence in some of these organisations: public and private. The number of women in public service is seriously underrepresented, it is now very obvious to all that the Mnangagwa government is anti-women; it is misogynistic, gender insensitive despite the cries the public made about the clear lack of women representation in his government of Zimbabwe.

It appears as if a "good woman" is a woman who has to do what our current "First Lady" is currently doing. She visits child orphanages and hospitals country-wide. Her visits would mean that women are only carers and never beyond: never policy decision makers. First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa's gentle actions are applaudable and commendable considering the fact that our former "First Lady" Dr. Grace Mugabe would never buy tomatoes from a vending woman out in the open air. Surely women we can do more than visiting orphanages and clinics. We are just as intelligent as our men folk in Zimbabwe. We demand participation in decision making processes that will transform this great nation by putting women in policy decision bodies and in the private sector. Our current government started on the wrong footing: The SDG's target recommends that: "Deep legal and legislative changes are needed to ensure women's rights and leadership around the world." Our right to participation in the decision making body of JOC are violated by Mnangagwa's government today.

Of late, I watched with gently interest how collected our President Mnangagwa was when he met Australian Ambassador who is a woman. The respect he gave her and her staff, I could not imagine him giving to any of our women in Zimbabwe. It's not only him alone who has a low opinion of women in Zimbabwe in general. This problem is of societal nature, it's culturally imbedded in Zimbabwe to overlook a woman even their mothers and sisters and daughters. But no man can live without a woman: be it a wife, mother, sister, auntie, gogo it goes on. That value-adding intellectual input of women in Zimbabwe is not recognised in Zimbabwe that much. President Mnangagwa needs to know that when he makes foreign visits, he will meet women who are presidents, prime ministers and chancellors of first and third world countries: e.g. Theresa May, Angela Merkel it goes on. When he visits the money lending bodies e.g. World Bank, he will be talking to the World Bank Director: Ma'am Kristalina Goergieva. I am dead sure he will have great appreciation and respect of them, but will do the opposite when he meets some smart, intelligent Zimbabwean woman seeking genuine participation in party and government in his government, evidenced with the small number of women in his government.

This misogynistic approach is not only President Mnangagwa alone: Some political parties have serious problems with women. In MDC-T, it's not clear if the factional fightings are gender- based or tribal inclined. Each fight in this political party projects a complete different dimension of conflict. At best it's better never to comment about the conflicts taking turns in MDC-T because it's easy to find yourself in the wrong side of the show.

In Mthwakazi Party that is contesting for election this year it's just the same, no difference when it comes to women participation at leadership level. In their political rallies no single woman is seen giving a speech; it appears as if that is the men's job that is men's work. In Mthwakazi rallies their photo shots taken will only target men and the speaker and never women in the rally. Well I should be excused if this observation is incorrect; it's just my curious observation. We have so far seen one woman who is also a deputy to the President MRF. Other obvious female participation in Mthwakazi is invisible, never seen. In this party it is obvious that women can never rise up the top and become president, a party in a community that is wholly conservative. In those tribal areas of Mathebeleland, women are in the sense of the word; second class citizens: ask me! To be a good woman in this region one has to accept this secondary role, then she is accepted, and then she is termed a good woman! No radical thinking is allowed. However I have spoken to women in other parts of Zimbabwe who confirmed the same pattern of behaviour of men towards women. Misogyny is a national problem in Zimbabwe.

The turbulence in Amai Mujuru is so murky, could be the gender issues at play that makes her organisation fragile and unstable. When Dr. Nkosana Moyo made his first launch of his 2018 presidential candidacy, there was not a single woman in the panel except the journalist who asked Nkosana Moyo about the absence of women in his panel, but was at the same breath, telling the audience that there will be 50% women representation in his government. Dr. Moyo even forgot to bring his wife to that important launch, bringing his daughter with him would have done the trick. We are indeed still a long way to go when it comes to gender equity whereby women are treated fairly by their male counterparts in Zimbabwe. We are still a long way to go to reach gender equality whereby equal representation in public and private offices. We shall continue to fight for those rights because they are our rights, they shall never be given to us in a silver plate but will give a good fight to get them. President Mnangagwa must know that without the participation of women in government, no fundamental development is possible. Women are the cornerstone of country's development. Women are able people intellectually and practical, they are as good as men but even better in their practical approach, their participation, their contribution to a nation's development should never be underestimated. Wathintu mfazi, wathinti mbokodho! Touch the woman you touch the rock of the nation!

Nomazulu Thata is political activist: politically active in German mainstream politics. She can be contacted Nomazulu.thata(at)

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Source - Nomazulu Thata
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