“We endorse your candidature. We are saying: stand in the next election and rule forever,” Zanu (PF) Secretary for Women’s Affairs, Oppah Muchinguri, was quoted by state-owned media. “Your work cannot be compared to that of anyone else. Do not leave us.”
Declaring Mugabe the party’s sole candidate for the next elections and asking him to rule Zimbabwe forever is a stab in the back for the thousands of women and men who have endured violence from Mugabe’s Zanu (PF) party over the past decade. By making such a declaration, Muchinguri was effectively silencing the majority of women who live in the rural areas and who bear the brunt of Mugabe’s vicious attacks
Declaring Mugabe the party’s sole candidate for the next elections and asking him to rule Zimbabwe forever is a stab in the back for the thousands of women and men who have endured violence from Mugabe’s Zanu (PF) party over the past decade.
Mugabe is now synonymous with violence. He once said he had ‘degrees in violence’. Mugabe is currently in power by default. After having lost the 2008 presidential election to Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai, he unleashed violence on the electorate resulting in 200 mostly MDC supporters killed, several others injured maimed, tortured and displaced from their homes.
Thousands of women and girls were raped. There have been no reparations. Any decent help has mainly come from well wishers outside the country. The women struggle daily with the physical and psychological scars of their abuse. This is despite that Zimbabwe is signatory to the Convention of the Elimination of all Discrimination Against Women (Cedaw). Some of the women in the Zanu (PF) Women’s League go around the world talking about Cedaw yet say nothing about their leader, Mugabe who uses the army, central intelligence officers, party youth militia and war veterans to instil fear, torture and kill innocent people. It is therefore shocking to hear Muchinguri calling for life presidency for Mugabe.
Mugabe and his right hand men in the army and police have deliberately ignored violence by refusing to persecute the perpetrators who still roam freely and continue to issue more threats to defenceless citizens despite the setting of the Healing Organ.
Women constitute the majority of the population in Zimbabwe. The majority of these live in the rural areas where Zanu (PF) maintains a stronghold. The women have been cowered into silence. They have been threatened with denial of food and have been labelled sell outs for unseating Zanu (PF) political heavyweights by voting for the opposition. They do not have a voice. It is their urban counterparts like Muchinguri, who live in airy homes in Borrowdale, who make decisions on their behalf. It is very clear that Muchinguri is singing for her supper.
Zimbabwe’s constitution making process is currently on hold in Harare and Chitungwiza due to violence. The process has been characterised by violence in most parts of the country while in some areas people have been threatened with death if they utter a word, especially in areas where army personnel have been planted.
If Mugabe is for the people then Zanu (PF) should let nature take its course. The constitution making process should be completed properly then a referendum held under peaceful conditions before a free and fair election so that people once again choose a leader of their choice.