Members of ParliamentWomen In Politics

Meet the MP| Miriam Mushayi| Kuwadzana| MDC

By Michelle Chifamba

Kuwadzana Constituency legislator Miriam Mushayi (MDC- Alliance) is a champion for the rights of women, children and people living with disabilities.

Mushayi says she hopes to use her role as a legislator to empower as many young women as possible.

“I want to be able to look back and see women who have been empowered and becoming informed citizens. I seek to amplify and empower the voice of women because I believe an educated and empowered woman creates a better tomorrow,” she said.

The legislator added that although she represents Kuwadzana, the role of a legislator is to represent the whole of Zimbabwe adding that problems faced in her constituency are also the same problems faced by people in other areas.

“So as I will be lobbying and advocating for the people of Kuwadzana and coming up with mitigating strategies to their challenges I will also be taking a step towards building a better Zimbabwe,” she said

Winning the node to represent the people of Kuwadzana in the National Assembly is one of her greatest milestones and she regards the constituency as her family.

In addition, Mushayi says as she carries out her duties in her
constituency she does not belong to any political party but is a representative of the people.

“An MP belongs to a political party before elections, and once elected you belongs to everyone. I am working with people in my constituency and there are no political party lines.”

Kuwadzana Constituency includes Kuwadzana Extension, Kuwadzana 5, 6, 7 and Kuwadzana Phase 3 is a high-density constituency and some of the challenges faced in the include high levels of youth unemployment and there are also a lot of child-headed families.

“As a way of empowering youths in my constituency I have supported a soccer league that trains youths to become sports enthusiasts. I want to be able to look back and see some of the youths that we have supported through the soccer league reaching greater heights and be able to qualify into the
national team.

“For women, I have also created self-help programs that use low-cost resources. We have been conducting trainings in soap, dish-washing
liquid and candles making among many other things and these projects are helping women to become self-sufficient,” said Mushayi.

Apart from the socio-economic challenges that affect people in Kuwadzana Constituency – there is also the issue of water.

“The City of Harare has been rationing water for a long time but this year the situation has become worse- making it a national issue and Kuwadzana is not spared. Women, in this case, are at the receiving end because in most cases they are tasked with the burden of looking for water.

“I have been working with some community members to come up with strategies that could be used to mitigate the perennial water problems and one of our strategies included embracing the concept of water harvesting especially during the rainy season.”

The legislator believes more women should occupy positions of leadership as that would help when women’s issues are being debated.

“In terms of access to health care and water, women are more affected and we want to advocate for the inclusion of more women in the local authority because I believe that if we can get a quota of women in the local government we will be able to discuss and find mitigation strategies on
most issues that affect women,” she said.

According to Mushayi, critical issues of service delivery are discussed in the local authority but women’s voices will be very few.

Apart from women’s issues, Mushayi has been fighting for the upholding of the rights of people living with a disability where she is using Parliament to push for the Disability Bill.

“One of the key things that we have noticed is that most of the public institutions in Zimbabwe are not disability friendly. The issue of public transport is a contentious one, the government has provided the Zupco buses as an alternative transport that is supposed to lessen the burden for commuters but those buses are not disability friendly.

“It is critical to lobby and advocate for the rights of people living with disability because their lives matter and they have to benefit from the nations resources. I have engaged Zupco to discuss on how best the issue of the people living with disabilities can be resolved so that they can equally
access the service. It is a continuous process but we will continue to engage,” she said.

In terms of political history, Honourable Mushayi says she has been active since the formation of the MDC in 1997 adding that she is one of its founding members and that she has held several positions within the party.

One of the positions that she held include being the first Secretary for Women’s Affairs, and now a Member of Parliament.

She says, “Being an MP for Kuwadzana has given me the opportunity to understand that women’s rights, children’s rights and citizens’ rights need to be well represented in Parliament.

“Women can make a difference by participating in decision making positions that further the resolution of women’s issues.”

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Daniel Chigundu

Daniel Chigundu is a journalist in Zimbabwe and has been practising since September 2009. He used to be the editor for The Business Connect (newspaper) in Harare, has his own website Tourism Focus which is biased towards the tourism sector. Daniel is also working with Magamba Network as news editor for their project called Open Parliament where they do live coverage of Parliamentary activities on Twitter and Facebook. He is currently the secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Parliamentary Journalists Forum, is a member of Zimbabwe Small Broadcasters Association and a board member of Digital Communication Network. He holds a Diploma in Communication and Journalism from the Christian College of Southern Africa (CCOSA), a certificate in Youth leadership training from the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), a certificate in Citizen Journalism from Magamba Network and is currently a first-year student at Zimbabwe Open University studying for a Bachelor of Arts Honours in Ethics and Organisational Leadership.

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