Women organisations' silence slammed

HARARE - Organisations representing women have come under the cosh over their silence on issues affecting women, who of late have been on the receiving end of political violence and police brutality.

While women’s groups in the country have often harped and made noise on events taking place in other countries such as Nigeria, they have not spoken strongly against President Robert Mugabe’s government, observers said

In 2014, women movements in the country organised a march against the abduction of more than 100 Nigerian schoolgirls by Islamic militia group Boko Haram but when political activists like Linda Musarira were arrested and mistreated, while in remand prison, the organisations did not raise a finger.

Last week, Musarira was released from prison after spending more than two months behind bars for allegedly causing public violence in Harare.

While in prison Musarira was ill-treated and at one point appeared in court in leg irons.

Women for Women national chairperson Maureen Kademaunga said it is very disappointing that women’s’ organisations have remained silent while such injustices occur.

“I think that the women’s movement has become complacent and compromised and are not paying attention to the issues of the constituency that they purport to represent. Issues of poverty, economic marginalisation, corruption are issues that directly impact on women,” Kademaunga said.

Bulawayo East legislator Tabitha Khumalo said women’s groups’ have been conspicuously silent yet they claim to be the champions of women’s’ rights.

Khumalo, who was beaten by police during a demonstration recently, said it is high time that rights groups speak with one voice and stand up against State terror.

The outspoken legislator, who is also asthmatic, has also been in and out of hospital because of the after effects of the teargas that she was doused with.

“Female activists are not doing it for personnel game or fame but because they are fighting for the whole country. We are going to be stigmatised by society because in our culture women’s bodies should not be exposed yet we have our shirts torn and our bodies bruised by beatings.”


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