By Daniel Chigundu
Seasoned politician and veteran trade unionist Thokozani Khupe who is also the leader of an MDC-T faction says women must vote for women candidates in both primary and general elections as a way of trying to bring equality.
Women constitute 54 percent of Zimbabwean population but have been lacking when it comes to occupying high ranking positions in political parties.
As if that is not enough, the number of women in Parliament has been steadily falling and it had to take the proportional representation clause in the constitution to at least keep the figure at a respectable 35 percent in the National Assembly.
Khupe’s calls come at a time when some women have already fallen by the wayside in the recently held Zanu PF primary elections, casting a dark shadow on efforts to achieve 50-50 representations.
Addressing women at Stuttaford Hall in Bulawayo during the Women’s Election Convergence which was also attended by Joice Mujuru (NPP), Lucia Matibenga (PDP) and Priscilla Misihairabwi Mushonga among others, Khupe said women constitution the majority and they must unite in voting for women candidates.
“We don’t want to be intimidated because we are women, all of us here Mai Mujuru, Matibenga and Priscilla we are being intimidated but we are saying enough is enough, we want this intimidation of women to end today as women let’s arise and say no to intimidation and say not to violence.
“As women we are many and in 2018 our target was to register 2million women but we must be proud of ourselves because we surpassed that target and we managed 2.8 million so as women we are the winners.
“We can take over Zimbabwe, so from today onwards we are supposed to be ambassadors, we are supposed to be preachers of the gospel and the gospel is go and vote for a woman 54 percent of the voters are women, so let’s say women must vote for women. The power is in your hands and if we choose women we will see this new Zimbabwe,” she said.
Women’s rights groups say they want 50 percent of seats in Parliament to be designated for women as they claim they cannot compete at par with males whom they allege are violent and intimidating.
Khupe added that women must stand together if they are to achieve their desired goal even if it means braving intimidation and abuse.
“We must be respected and treated equally, just like any other human being and this is the reason why we are here as women.
“Let’s be united as women, lets stand together it doesn’t matter what type of problems we are facing lets join hands together and remove poverty, until we arrive at our destination and our destination is a new Zimbabwe where everyone is treated equally, we are here because we want to change the lives of all the people.
“We want there to be drugs and doctors in hospitals, we want books in schools, and we want every person to have his or her own house.
“Women carry children for 9 months, I am who I am today because of my mother and you are who you are because of your mother so no one can say women can’t be presidents, that is the biggest insult I have ever come across,” she said.
Pictures courtesy of Linda Masarira
By Daniel Chigundu