Dream of a female President in Zim

WHEN Joice Mujuru became the first woman Vice President of Zimbabwe, she became a shining example and beacon of hope for many Zimbabwean women who thought finally they would have a female president in the country.

But it was to be the same old story of “so near yet so far” as she was unceremoniously fired by President Robert Mugabe from both government and Zanu PF.

While women politicians have been pushed into government posts courtesy of Part 3 Article 12 of the Sadc Protocol on Gender and Development which says: “parties shall endeavour that, by 2015, at least 50% of decision-making positions in the public and private sectors are held by women, including the use of affirmative action measures as provided for in Article 5.A” — occupying the presidency posts has remained a dream for many.
After firing Mujuru, Mugabe blamed women for failing to measure up to presidential tasks, hence painting a gloomy picture of another woman rising up the political ladder although in recent months his wife, Grace (although she denies it) has exhibited some muscle to wrestle the presidency.

Mujuru, on the other hand is mooting launching her own party, People First through which she can also become the first female president.

While the only two female heads of State in Africa, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Malawian President Joyce Banda have committed to using their positions to improve the lives of women across the continent, what are the chances of a female president in our lifetime?

Harare West Member of Parliament and MDC politician Jessie Majome said anything can happen in Zimbabwean politics and Zanu PF is not the Alpha and Omega of the country.
“It is possible to have a female president at any time. In politics there is nothing that is cast in stone, there are no forms or patterns that are set.

“The dynamics of Zimbabwean politics are more material so anything goes. Look at what happened in Malawi, they suddenly had a female president out of the blue, who would have imagined?

“Zanu PF is not a determinant of the process, they have always manipulated the system and results so that they win, but they are not the all and all. They cannot dictate what happens in Zimbabwe forever, they are not God,” she said.
Majome added that people have been hit with Zanu PF propaganda for so long that they think what the party says is the only way to go.

“As Zimbabweans, we need to shake ourselves out of the depression of being ruled by one person and one system. This is part of Zanu PF’s propaganda. They have made people so depressed that they can’t see anything else save for what they want.”

Majome does not believe Mugabe’s assertion that women have failed because of his fall-out with Mujuru.
“Yes, Mugabe said women had been given a chance and wasted it, but he has a very dim view on women, surely we cannot listen to what he said.

“It is not everyone who has such bigotry when it comes to women and there are women who are interested in running for president.
“Even voters have different views and it is not like we are in the Middle East where in some countries women are not allowed to ride motorcycles. We are a different country where everyone is equal,” said Majome.

Bassist and singer Edith WeUtonga believes the chances are high for a woman president one day. “I would not speak for the masses but I believe if the opportunity is availed I think it could happen, it is possible.

“I would not give it a timeline as you cannot tell God plans to do, it can happen today, tomorrow or even in four years’ time.”
Playwright, author and filmmaker, Tsitsi Dangarembga said Zimbabwe has to define what a president is first.
“We need to agree on what a president is in order for us to agree on whether we can have a male or female one.
“We need to go back to the drawing board and see what we perceive leadership to be in the country. If we do that we can agree on whether we have a person suitable to be president, male or female.”

Innocent Ndibali from Zimbabwe Unemployed People Association commenting in the media on this issue says our Constitution guarantees that all mankind is created equal.
“I am of the view that men, and women are created equal and, since all men and women are created equal, women deserve a chance to be President. I think women can make just as good choices as men.

“I think as a woman she is just as smart as a man and deserve a chance to be the president because women have been good leaders in other countries for years. Other women have been successful at running states and even countries.”—Sharon Muguwu

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