Women’s rights advocacy group, Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCoZ) has partnered with Masvingo’s female politicians from across the political divide in their quest for a level field ahead of the 2023 elections.
Over the years, women have been fighting for a seat on the decision making table with the 2018 harmonised elections proving difficult for women to break even and make it into the highly toxic political environment.
WCoZ has moved in to partner female councillors and legislators as they target to stand toe to toe with male politicians who have for long enjoyed much of the space in politics both at local and national levels.
Speaking during a virtual Strengthening Women's Advocacy for Inclusive Governance (SWAG) meeting held last week, Masvingo Rural District Council (RDC) Ward 7B councillor, Benengina Mudambiranwa said women’s rights advocacy groups should offer support to female politicians for them to match their male counterparts who usually spoil the electorate during election periods.
“We should get to 2023 ready to take our male counterparts head on. Organizations which work towards women’s rights advocacy must give us support as female politicians as we go around campaigning.
“When male politicians campaign they have a lot of backing and financial muscles and as women we are disadvantaged naturally, so every woman should support any aspiring female politicians in any possible way,” said Mudambiranwa.
WCoZ Masvingo chapter chairperson, Joyce Mhungu said the meeting was an eye opener which revealed an urgent need of support for female politicians if they are to achieve a level political ground.
“What we saw is an urgent need of assistance for women, be it moral or financial support because this is what has been missing on their part. Usually female politicians are financially disadvantaged but what worries us is that women constitute more of the electorate. As an organization we will lobby for women to get some financial allocation from the government,” said Mhungu.
The meeting was also attended by councillors; Virginia Hwena (Masvingo Central Ward 19), Susan Samatanga (Ward 34 Gutu), Sungano Matakanure (Masvingo South Ward 30), Kumbirai Takunyayi (Masvingo RDC Ward 10) and Members of Parliament (MPs); Yeukai Simbanegavi (Gutu North) and Jacob Nyokanhete (Masvingo Urban).
Masvingo city has one female councillor, Alderman Selina Maridza, against nine male councillors proving the gender imbalance in the local authority.
Female parliamentarians occupy 35 percent of the total number of legislators in the country and out of the 270 seats, 60 are reserved for the women’s quota which some women have called for its abolishment, demanding a 50/50 representation.
This has also been the case for aspiring female presidential candidates who have fallen victim of the patriarchal nature of politics in the country.