THE ATTACKS directed at MDC secretary-general Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga following her election into Parliament by destructive, shallow-minded retrogressive characters, should not be viewed as an attack on her as a person, but as an attack on the entire feminist movement in Zimbabwe and the continent.
Ngqabutho Nicholas Mabhena
It is a clear message by male chauvinists that they will brook no female authority in their male-dominated political world.
Here is a woman who by all intents and purposes deserves to be celebrated, but is instead being persecuted like a rabid dog by the very people she has ably represented against all odds; the very same people whose cause she is championing in Parliament.
Misihairabwi-Mushonga deserves not just by right to represent Matabeleland South in the National Assembly, but also by merit.
She has the brains, will, passion, tenacity and ability to get the people’s views heard and addressed and hence must be allowed to do so to the best of her abilities. She, together with the other legislators we have in Parliament, deserves support not because they are women, but because they are able.
She has, despite these unwarranted barbaric and humiliating attacks, demonstrated her dedication and passion for the Matabeleland cause as a national question by stating in Parliament last week, her bold intention to move a motion to have the national Parliament moved to Bulawayo, in itself an important step in spreading our national symbols throughout our country to engender a spirit of unity in diversity and equality.
It is public knowledge that during the tenure of the inclusive government, Misihairabwi-Mushonga, as the only female negotiator in a group comprising six men, gave hope to millions of equality-seeking women in Zimbabwe who had all along been led to believe that they did not have what it took to participate in the top ranks of decision-making of our country simply because of their gender.
She demonstrated the strength of a woman and gave confidence to all women that leadership and issue articulation was for all human beings.
Today Parliament has more women members compared to other parliaments in the region.
Others are yet to be sworn in as members of the provincial councils (if ever President Robert Mugabe decides to respect the Constitution), thanks to Misihairabwi-Mushonga.
As genuine MDC cadrés, ours is not a struggle to get elected into parliament for individuals’ prosperity, but to change the material conditions of ordinary Zimbabweans.
When the opportunity does present itself for us to be in Parliament, we must take it and use it to uplift our communities.
However, those that have joined the MDC to use it as a ladder to get to Parliament as an end in itself or for purposes of personal gain are in the wrong movement.
We are clear that our movement is not a means to employment hence we congratulate those who have resigned from the party to seek work elsewhere.
After its dismal performance on July 31, the MDC has been prompted to go back to the drawing board and prepare for 2018.
And as we do this, we will continue to capacitate women and ensure that they are not used and abused by chauvinistic men as political pawns for their egocentric, petty and personal political agendas.
Our task therefore as we move forward is to ensure full participation of women in our movement and the respect of those that have been elected to lead us like Misihirabwi-Mushonga.
We totally reject the notion that in this day and age some men with over inflated egos will arrogate themselves the right to speak on behalf of women, purport to lead the struggle by women as if our female colleagues were infants.
Ngqabutho Nicholas Mabhena is an MDC, national executive council member writing in his personal capacity