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Do women know what they want?

09 Jan 2015 at 07:46hrs | Views
Last year I wrote about what various group players in our sad politics can do improve their performance. I particularly looked at the extent to which the youths, the Church and political parties can play important and effective roles in our dynamic politics. I also looked at the similarities between Zanu and MDC T and at why politicians, especially from the opposition parties, are failing to click with voters in comparison to Zanu's ability to articulate its policies.

In politics, I believe we have to be brutally honest with the truth. Without the truth, politics is meaningless to the average activist or supporter. And the truth I have long discovered in politics is that; politics is thrilling and magnetic because of women. Without them, politics is meaningless and few men would even bother getting involved in it! At individual level, most men get political support, guidance and inspiration from women close to them. It is true that if you educate a woman you educate the entire nation.

I think women are better than men, and more effective with groups and in groups. Sadly, our female counterparts do not see the wisdom of this, neither do they appreciate their importance in politricks, or they do but have no political stamina to utilise it. Let me be quick to profess that I have seen our First lady Grace Mugabe effectively take advantage of women's power, despite her brutally mauling another woman. Mnangagwa and crew failed to remove Mrs Mujuru and had to engage other women, Grace and Oppah, to do the dirty work for them.

Women have the numbers, energy and brains to outflank men in politics. However it is surprising they are not there when politics tick and matters. It is surprising that Zimbabwe has once again regressed as we find ourselves with three men minus a woman at the helm of our government, of course, courtesy of Grace Mugabe! What happened to the multitudes that were screaming themselves hoarse with Mrs Mugabe? I did not hear a deafening outcry about the lack of a woman in the presidium. Oppah, Mudzongwe etc? Is there no one other than the now hated Mujuru, among women, who is suitable to lead Zanu, or good enough to be included the presidium?

I have over the years noted that very few women have held significant positions in their parties. Only Priscila Misihairambwi-Mushonga has by her own political stamina held a powerful position in MDC led by Prof. Welshman Ncube. She has consistently overcome all odds to retain her position as party Secretary General. Mai Mujuru was for some years Vice President when she was the darling of Zanu but has failed on her own to outsmart her rivalries, hence is now in the political wilderness. Thokozani Khuphe has been a sleeping passenger in MDC T for donkey years. God help, what does she do in that party as Vice President anyway? Sekai Holland was recently appointed as a provisional leader of the Renewal Team. Other than that, I only recall few notables like Margaret Dongo, Thenjiwe Lesabe, Jane Ngwenya, Ruth Chinamano, Victoria Chitepo. Where are the rest of our womenfolk in politics? Are they there to vote for men or pursue personal economic interests that do not pertain to power and governance?

Can someone tell me why Oppa Muchinguri who has been in politics for so long would just suddenly step down from a powerful position so that a new comer takes her role? Has she no ambition of rising above nursing and massaging some male egos? What do the likes of Theresa Makone want? These women reflect the sad situation of our politics in which most female politicians lack confidence and ambition to rise above their menfolk. Politics is all about loyalty. Maybe our women are not peculiar after all; worldwide I have not seen women in politics being loyal to each other; they are mostly loyal to men. And those men are coincidentally always very abusive to women. Does anyone recall women who were loyal to Thatcher or Gandhi? Did these female premiers do anything significant for the advancement or empowerment of their fellow women?

Women do not like helping each other and are actually good at pulling each other down, as we spectacularly witnessed Grace Mugabe doing to Mai Mujuru. This makes one wonder if women merely and mostly view their effectiveness only as political appendages to quench men's thirst for power? Are women perfect at sloganeering, singing and wearing beautiful attire with their beholding male leaders' faces? Or, are women just groomed and good at ululating waiting to welcome male politicians at national airports? Women need to ask themselves what they really get into politics to achieve.

There is so much abuse of women that would not be taking place in our society if more women chose to be effective and influential in their parties. Maybe this explains why I have not heard women saying they want education to include issues about human rights which I view as the only route both men and women can effectively tackle power imbalance in our society. The law may serve to deter inequality but as long as women are economically dependent on men, we need the input of education to create a culture that respects women's human rights. Would that teaching kids from tender ages about human rights not instill in them the essence of valuing life and others in our culture?

"A token sprinkling of women," is a general universal cry by women worldwide pertaining to their governments having very few or no female cabinet members in influential posts. It is surprising that there appears to be a pervasive feeling especially by the contemporary women that they are treated as mere window-dressing for making governments appear more representative yet women are not given any meaningful posts, let alone the support needed to be effective. Are the same women not to blame as well? I have not seen women coming together fighting for real power in their respective political parties. For example, why did Zimbabwean female politicians in other parties not complain that both our vice presidents were men? Why does it seem like women do not want to see other women at the top, yet are happy for men to do so? If women spoke with one voice, supported each other, would we have seen some of our sisters being stripped naked for wearing 'mini-skirts' in Harare? If women forcefully spoke with one voice and supported each other, would young girls still be getting married off unwillingly to elderly men? Would some powerful politicians still be abusing young women? No! So what kind of female politicians do we need to help change our society?

We need women who are intelligent, focused and formidable in their own right to be able to influence and formulate policies. We need women who support each other, who challenge oppression, violence and have a vision and a keen eye for issues that affect poor women. Female politicians should be able to identify with practical causes that affect society. They should know that society can only change with more women in powerful positions. We can do with women who are aware that their numbers should be used to their advantage and not men's advantage. We want women who are not prepared to sleep with male politicians in order to be up there. As it is said, if we educate a woman society gets educated; but that can only be done if women appreciate their strength which lies in their numerical numbers to vote themselves in power.

I always hear arguments that women value and understand more about the essence of social peace and harmony than men, but then why do they not impose them in politics? Why do women contribute or look aside when violence is perpetrated against others? Why do women not use various gatherings at their disposal to find a common ground to make themselves more effective in politics? Yes, women are better and more effective with groups and in groups than most men. Nearly all gatherings are dominated by women; funerals, burial societies, church congregations, weddings, specific women's social and income generating clubs, not leaving out all those Baby Showers…please use them to change the political landscape of Zimbabwe.

Source - Chris Dube, Political Commentator
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