Women agitate for a better deal in Zim

HARARE - Former Vice President Joice Mujuru yesterday led women from various opposition parties calling for their increased participation and representation in both Parliament and the government after next year’s make-or-break national elections.

The campaign comes weeks after opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai and Mujuru signed a much-talked about memorandum of understanding, in preparation for the formation of a fully-fledged opposition alliance which will take on President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF in 2018.

Uniting under a campaign dubbed #Hervotewins2018, the initiative seeks to empower women to vote for each other in next year’s elections, as well as participate as candidates in the watershed plebiscite.

Speaking at the launch in Harare, Mujuru said women should stop playing second fiddle to men.

“A woman has to be independent and responsible at the same time. We have to play the same role as men, but the problem in Zimbabwe is in the implementation of reforms.

“Even if a woman is put in a leadership position, you will find another woman coming to destroy the gains of the other.

“What was said in the national Constitution should be implemented regardless of which political party one belongs to,” she said.

“If you become a leader, check whether you are following the guidelines set out because if not, you will deprive other women of getting the same opportunity. If you become a bad female leader you give men the leverage to use that against other women.

“Right now, we are complaining about everything ... but we forget that we make mistakes from the start. What we do from the beginning will determine the outcome of whatever it is that we are trying to achieve.

“When we go and choose leaders, do we really understand what we are supposed to do?

“Choosing one woman over another does not mean you despise them, but simply that those women may have better qualities for the job at hand. By choosing the right woman you ensure that you get quality for your vote,” Mujuru added.

Yesterday’s event was attended by representatives from the MDC, the National People’s Party, Renewal Democrats of Zimbabwe and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), among others.

Speaking at the same gathering, MDC vice-president Thokozani Khupe said the electoral playing field should be levelled in next year’s elections.

“Zanu PF had it easy while the MDC struggled because of so many hindrances, because the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) ignored our pleas.

“Now we want to be given the voters roll in electronic form before the elections to afford us ample time to go through it, and to see whether everyone is registered.

“Although we have a very high literacy rate, the statistics for assisted voters are shocking. While there may be people who need to be assisted, we want them to be helped by either a family member or a friend.

“We do not want the police or members of the army to go into the voting booth with anyone,” Khupe said.

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