By Tendai Rupapa and Sibongile Maruta
The July 30 harmonised elections are a call to safeguard the country’s freedom, integrity, respect and dignity, virtues that Zanu-PF fought for leading to independence, President Mnangagwa said yesterday. Addressing the Zanu-PF Women’s League National Assembly meeting at the party’s headquarters in Harare, President Mnangagwa urged the nation to vote wisely and safeguard the country’s liberation history.
This was his first engagement with the Women’s League National Assembly since his inauguration in November last year.
“Tavekupinda mumaelections edu zvakakodzera kuti tese mumwe nemumwe nehutungamiri hwatiri kubva pasi kusvika kumusoro tive neshungu dzekuti musangano wedu uhwine maelections atakatarisana nawo. Maelections iwaya ndiwo anochengetedza the freedom which we fought for, ndiwo anochengetedza the dignity which we fought for, ndiwo anochengetedza the respect which we fought for, ndiwozve anochengetedza the integrity which we fought for, ndiwo anochengetedza gwara remusangano nerevolution yedu,” he said.
“This constitutional meeting is also timely as it provides us a platform to discuss and share perspectives on various key issues that pertain to women in our party and the country in general. It further affords us an opportunity to reflect on the state of the Women’s League as well as plan together in preparations for the 2018 harmonised general elections.”
“I urge us, in our respective provinces to play our part to encourage all party members at every level to shun violence, intimidation and hate speech. Let us through our speech and actions ensure an untainted spotless and disputable thunderous victory for our party.”
He said Government was cognisant of the need for gender equity in decision-making positions.
“Our Constitution, the foundation of our legal system, states that every woman has full and equal dignity of the person with men and this includes equal opportunities in political, economic and social activities.
“While recently others have disgracefully disrespected and mocked women, in Zanu-PF we have nothing but respect and admiration for our female comrades and the women of our nation. The men and women of Zanu- PF together liberated this great nation. We pressed for freedom and progress together but this will have less meaning if men and women are not on a truly level playing field,” he said.
“I note with grave concern that not many women offered themselves for selection as party candidates under the first-past-the-post system. I am equally troubled that of the few who contested, many were not successful due to several reasons, including alleged vote buying and outright manipulation of the process by male cadres.
“Let me assure you that going forward, the party will not accommodate conduct which curtails the right of people to freely choose its leaders. There can be no glass ceiling for women. There shall no longer be traditions or stereotypes, that women are inferior to men in any way,” he said.
MDC Alliance leader Mr Nelson Chamisa in on record as mocking women. He has also not treated women politicians in his party with dignity and respect as evidenced by the manner he wrestled power after the death of Mr Morgan Tsvangirai.
President Mnangagwa urged the Women’s League to develop innovative strategies to mobilise other women from every sector of life to ensure greater participation of women in every area of national governance and development.
Cde Mnangangwa took a dig at the former Women’s League boss Mrs Grace Mugabe for soiling the image of the league.
“The perception created by the former women’s leader that of hate speech before crowds should not come back again. My Government calls upon you to also promote good family virtues grounded on our African ubuntu/hunhu ethos,” he said.
“My Government has put into motion various economic strategies that will see more opportunities, growth and productivity in the agriculture, mining and manufacturing sectors. I am fully cognisant of the need to implement strategies and mechanisms that move our society in general and women in particular from a position of limited opportunities to wider prospects, stability and self-sufficiency.”
President Mnangagwa said he was aware of the land barons who were defrauding home seekers of their land especially women.
He said he would soon publish their names.
The law would also take its course.