Saturday, 19 November 2016

MUJURU : ZIM RIPE FOR A FEMALE LEADER

ZIMBABWE People First leader Joice Mujuru yesterday said Zimbabwe was ripe for female leaders in both politics and business, and encouraged them to break the gender barriers.

Mujuru said this while contributing to a Cross Political Women’s Dialogue at the British Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Catriona Laing’s residence in Harare, where women in politics, business and civic society were dialoguing on gender empowerment.

“It is important that women throw away their political differences and work together to support each other to attain leadership positions,” she said.

“I have worked with men in government and I discovered that they are not different from us women. And all I can say to women who want to enter politics is that they only frighten us with their beards — and that’s all.”

Mujuru said some men used divide-and-rule tactics on women to ensure their grip on power.

“Men enjoy getting mediocre people around them because they know that if they bring in those that can perform better than them, they end up losing the political game. They think the political platform is theirs,” she said.

Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, Mabel Chinomona, said the political arena was tough for women due to lack of financial influence and gender stereotypes. “When I was appointed Home Affairs deputy minister, my marriage ended up in divorce because my husband felt he could not be led by a woman. Women also fail to support other female candidates, and the fact that men have money and can buy votes also places them at a political advantage,” she said.

Women in Politics Support Unit executive director Sakhile Sifelani Ngoma said women in different political parties needed to dialogue to buoy their hold on leadership roles.

Women Affairs minister Nyasha Chikwinya said there was need to create a quota system in local government elections to get more women in councils.

Veteran opposition leader Margaret Dongo said women needed to deal with the political system which had divided them and demand quotas in all spheres including indigenisation.

Harare West legislator Jessie Majome weighed in, saying the problem bedevilling women was failure to demand electoral reforms to ensure there was a level playing field. Educationist Fay Chung added there was need to go to the grassroots to convince people to ensure they supported capable women to lead. newsday

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