Joice Mujuru, Thokozani Khupe and Lucia Mativenga yesterday graced the ‘women in politics’ meeting hosted by member of parliament, Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, in Bulawayo. The meeting was set to encourage women to support fellow women in politics.
Mujuru was representing the National People’s Party (NPP), Khupe, her new party splinter MDC-T while Mativenga represented People’s Democratic Party (PDP) as the recently appointed vice president.
Speaking at the event, Khupe emphasised the objective of the meeting.
She said, “This is a sisterhood movement for women and we are not here to form a party but to urge women to support other women in politics because we understand what women want and what they are going through in society.”
The leaders took turns to appreciate the girl child and the women who support each other in politics regardless of the parties they represent. They urged women to stand up for each other and defend each other for a better Zimbabwe.
“We have suffered in the hands of men politically, verbally, physically and emotionally. Our names have been dragged in the mud and we have been shamed and humiliated. And this is our time to show the world we are sisters and are united for one cause as women,” Khupe added.
Mativenga echoed these sentiments.
She said, “I rebelled against oppression from men and I am here to encourage you the women to allow yourself not to be oppressed too.”
She also thanked the ladies for taking time to come out in numbers to support other women without questioning each other.
“Politics is for women too and the only place that is written for men only is a lavatory, meaning we are here to stay and race with you,” she added.
Misihairabwi-Mushonga expressed how putting aside political differences among women will bring an impact in the upcoming elections. She also applauded Bulawayo women for coming in their numbers and booed the Harare women who came in small numbers when they hosted the women in politics meeting in the capital.
“Presidential elections are not for men only but for women too. It may come across as if I am encouraging women to rebel against the males but I am here to help you see that we the females make up 52% of the population and if we unite and support each other we are able to have leaders voted into power by women for the women,” Misihairabwi-Mushonga said.
“I encourage women to go to the polls without underwear on and whenever they feel a strong urge to opt for a male representative on the ballot paper, they should flip up their dresses or skirts and check if their genitalia is male or female. And if it is female, then vote for a female,” she added.
Misihairabwi-Mushonga was uncensored and very unapologetic about her views on how men have destroyed the economy and how they continue to make the country a wasteland owing to their egos.
She continued to emphasize on how every political party should have the same number of women as much as men for it to be called a political party and that she will personally request it to the House of Parliament.
Mujuru’s address also bordered along the lines of equality and how the economy has succumbed under the leadership of men.
She said, “It is funny how we as women are being sidelined and bullied by men but we keep remaining strong afterwards. Our resources have been looted and the $15 billion from the diamonds still has not been accounted for. This is a clear indication that men are greedy and look out for their own interests and because women are nurturing creatures and will always put family first, it is guaranteed that this nation will be safe in their hands.”
There were however concerns on whether there was a hidden agenda to this meeting.
An unnamed attendee from the city said, “I am not quite sure of what this ‘sister sister’ meeting is meant to do for the women of Zimbabwe. I personally think these women are singing a battered woman’s song on how men keep oppressing them and not showing they are better than men. We have seen powerful women like the late Margaret Thatcher take on chauvinists during a time where the British government and people did not support a ‘petticoat government’, but because of what she was offering the people, she was voted into power and did not disappoint.”
Memory Moyo, a citizen of Bulawayo was also in support of this view.
“As Zimbabweans we need change and this looks like child’s play. Men are born of women, and women raise and groom the boys to become men. Yes, the men have disappointed us but it is a woman that has disappointed as a mother. My view about this ‘sisterhood’ get together is more like a show to the men who kicked them out of their parties and if these women were powerful, their presence in Bulawayo and in the men-led parties would be felt,” she said.
Representatives from ZANU-PF did not attend the meeting due to the party’s emergency Women’s League conference held yesterday in the capital.
The event was thronged by a large number of women from different walks of life and political parties wearing their party regalia or ‘pink and black’, the women in politics colors.
Efforts to ask Khupe on her brawl with Nelson Chamisa in relation to her previously echoed sentiments about “women being powerful than men” were fruitless as the nature of the event did not give room for a question and answer session.