Is Zim ready for woman president?

HARARE - Four women politicians are seeking to be elected as president on Monday, notching firsts in a year boasting a historic number of female State House contenders.

The four women face a tough contest in a race with 18 male candidates. They are running against entrenched incumbent Emmerson Mnangagwa and main opposition leader Nelson Chamisa.

The four are former vice president Joice Mujuru leading the People’s Rainbow Coalition, former deputy prime minister Thokozani Khupe of the MDC, Melbah Dzapasi of #1980 Freedom Movement Zimbabwe and Violet Mariyacha of United Democratic Movement.

According to the Women in Politics Support Unit (WiPSU), just 15 percent of the more than 1 600 candidates fighting for Parliament, council and the presidency are women.

WiPSU says women demand a seat at the high table.

But are Zimbabweans ready for their first female president?

Aspiring independent Member of Parliament Jessie Majome said she does not see a woman winning the presidency on Monday.

“Sadly, the women candidates have not been able in my view to get national traction and national appeal.

“The two well-known ones have not decrypted their profiles to the same level as the main two or three leading male candidates. A tremendous amount of work needs to be done to launch women into State House,” Majome told the Daily News on Sunday.

Political commentator activist Edna Masanga believes a woman can be a president in Zimbabwe if people shelve their archaic belief that only men can make strong leaders.

“I want to be optimistic but I don’t see us getting a woman into office in this particular election, but it is encouraging to see that we have at least seasoned women politicians running for office this year.

“But again, we know they have been verbally abused and denigrated by male opponents just for seeking power and that denigration is a microcosm of the general attitude by our society towards women who seek power,” said Masanga.

Media practitioner Tawanda Mudzonga said Zimbabweans are not yet ready for a woman president.

“People still fundamentally believe that women will govern along the lines of the stereotypical characteristics that people assign to them.

Until that change, nothing will change.

“Witness that essentially Robert Mugabe’s downfall came about because of the threat of his wife — a woman — becoming president. That is the reason why we finally got rid of that dictator after so many years.

“So, no, I don’t think people have the mindset that would allow them to accept a female president,” said Mudzonga.

She added that there might be a possibility if the woman was older — say in her 60s.

“Then she might be accepted as a politician without focus on her gender. Gender is tied up in sexuality and people’s assumptions of weakness or strength.

“But an older ‘respectable’ woman, such as Mujuru may not be subject to the same prejudice.”

Comments (1)

Anyone with potential can be a President of the Republic. Tikafunga tichidaro tinenge tarasika. Hatisati tava na President mu Zimbabwe , a leader not a ruler. Good Luck to Amai Mujuru , T. Khupe , etc.

Duke of Matebele - ImvuKayibalwa Palace - 30 July 2018

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