Dear President Mnangagwa,
I feel the need to open this letter by saying; Women are humans, they share the same rights as men, they deserve same human dignity as their male counterparts, thus equal rights according to our constitution. As a leader you have a moral obligation to direct every citizen to that truth. As we heard towards the 30th of July elections, women’s human dignity must be respected, their lives must be respected above all else, their vote must be respected as equal to that of men, atleast thats the calibre of the leadership that we are looking for in our next president.
The behaviour that we saw on video by a ‘male leader’ from the Marange Shrine where you were over the weekend where he dehumanises women, where he claims that the former president failed because of a woman, that women must never be allowed to lead is deplorable and i can’t believe this was said in your presence and you did not set the constitutional record straight to those misled males who are abusing women at that shrine!. In his words in your presence that male apostolic leader said among other things; “….Chandinokukumbirai chidoko doko ndisati ndagara hangu pasi, chengetedzai zivo inobva pamukuru iyeye, nezvaanoda iye, mukachengeta izvozvo muchatonga nekusingaperi. Mukuru umwe uya wakabvapo, wakakundikana wakarasa mazwi aakaudzwa. Church inoiyi haitenderi kuti murume atongwe nemukadzai, saka makawona simba rekudenga rakapidigura zvinhu kudai, nyangwe mukanakirwa nekutonga musazoregedza simba richienda kumudzimai. Mukaera madaro kutonga kwenyu kuchava kwenhando…”. (I request a small thing before i take my seat, keep the oracle from God, if you do you will rule forever. The former president failed because he failed to keep the instruction. This church doesn’t allow women to rule or to lead, thats why that president lost his power, no matter how you enjoy power never allow a woman to rule over you or get your power from you. If you do that your rulership will be in vein).
Your duty Mr President is to not put your interests ahead of the constitution and the law of our land. Not above the people that you serve. I can understand that at this crunch time politicians can do almost anything to get the vote. For that let me remind you this; Women hold 52% of this country’s vote, and to fail to protect that is telling about how much women are taken for granted and are not respected in this country. Another big voter number to respect is that of youths and men who cannot stand the statements by that abusive Mupositori, a good number of Zimbabwean men believe in equality, thats to add above the 52% that you must respect. How do you seat in the counsel of Vapostori who outrightly violate the constitution in your presence, and you do not correct them? How do we have a president who seats in the counsel of offenders of the law and let them loose like that? Evidently that Vapostori shrine is misled and is abusing women’s rights in their church as they outrightly did and you left that place without addressing that issue why? They are the same people who are refusing children to go to school, who are marrying their daughters young and a president who is promising us a new Zimbabwe allows such utterances to go uncorrected?
The statement of that man is problematic on many levels. Firstly it violets women’s rights, and you allowed that Mr President. Grace Mugabe was instrumental in the fiasco that threatened your survival in the former regime. It must be remembered however that she was being used by a group of greedy men the G40, and in his utterances that Mupositori showed ignorance of the facts and as usual, the blame is given to a woman. Now your own wife Mr President, must not suffer for the lies of chauvinistic males who think it was Grace’s fault. Women in this country cannot keep on being blamed for the sins of men who always use them for their selfish gains. So no, First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa must be allowed to be her own self, whoever comes beyond July 30 as the First Lady must not be compared to Grace Mugabe, but rather should execute her duties being herself.
Secondly the utterances by the Mupositori threatens our democracy in this country, by prophecying over a life presidency that we suffered under President Mugabe, and all Zimbabweans must be bothered by such utterances in favor of a sitting president against our constitutional tenets. Zimbabweans, all Zimbabweans, are the ones who choose Presidents, this problem of presidents who have a liking to be prophesied over including by these dubious abusers of religion is what made us suffer for 37 years. It exposes us to fake prophets who can do anything to push unbiblical doctrine to put their churches on the map, when we all know that in the bible women led, they served their nations! The likes of Deborah, the likes of Esther, the likes of Miriam to mention a few. Thirdly, women have suffered under the guise of religion and in this country this has heightened, and we cannot keep quiet about such disrespect, you owe this country an apology Mr President!
Why is it very important for ZanuPF to always associate with these Vapositori towards elections, and then give them pass and leave especially this notorious shrine to abuse women and children for a whole five years? Why do these misinformed men get to think that they can tell a whole country that women are any lesser humans than men? Why do our leaders expose us to such abuse at the hands of wayward misinformed men, would the love for power be more important than the investment done in this country for women empowerment? If you Mr President have transformed this country and have done right by Zimbabweans over the short space of time you’ve been president why do you feel the need to stoop so low exposing the whole population to this level of ignorance and mediocrity? We are all as humanised and dignified as our leaders and the opposite is true!. When a president exposes himself to such desperation and allows anything to happen at the expense of votes, those they lead also become exposed, and exposed to these Vapositories we were. Over and above the spirit of Ubuntu (human justice and dignity) this country is of women and men, girls and boys who are educated. They can tell good from bad, that they know what they are worth, the kind of words and treatment they should be exposed to, and such kind from the Vapostori is unacceptable in our country and we cannot have a leaders of that level expose us to such level of dehumanisation. We deserve better Mr President, you owe us an apology as women.
Since the beginning of this election campaign, political parties have treated women with the most disrespect and it feels like we are more than 30 years behind with women empowerment. The opposition parties have exposed fellow women leaders to untold abuse, have chased some including founders from positions of leadership simply because this country is too patriarchal and cannot stand assertive women. Since beginning of this year, we’ve had women abused from family level, to public spaces. Elizabeth Tsvangirai was abused by the family of her late husband Morgan Tsvangirai. Thokozani Khupe the rightful leader of the MDC T was elbowed by an imposed leader Nelson Chamisa. Jessie Majome was pushed out of the party she was part of its founding under selfish circumstances. Justice Priscillah Chigumba who is being abused left right and centre by the opposition, dehumanising and derogatory words by the MDC Alliance supporters and any woman who is assertive and is firm in doing their work is called a H***(B****). I personally have been labeled to belong to political parties and foreign governments by fellow male civil society pro-opposition activists because i questioned the abuse of women in the MDC. Basically the current environment and its leadership are doing nothing to protect women’s rights, they are riding on the popularism politics and non is respecting women’s rights.
To have a mature president who goes and seats under a shrine and allow common men to reverse all the gains of empowerment this country has ever achieved, to wipe away the dreams of little girls and young women telling them that they can’t lead is a shame that any president must not associate with. This must be the end of this level of stooping low. This cannot be accepted. Women’s vote must be respected. Women across political parties must demand respect from these men.
On 18 November i went to march, i joined tens of thousands who marched to remove the rule of former President Mugabe who had exposed us women and children to untold suffering and dehumanisation, its not the cheap prophecies that removed a Mugabe junta, it was women and men in this country that said enough was enough! The least we expect from leaders is to be treated as equal human beings deserving of their constitutional protection and realising that women have a right to lead too. It is their job to do so, and not to expose us.
Moving forward we reiterate you owe us an apology to set the record straight Mr President about the rights of women to equality in this country. I personally suggest that all political leaders must be barred from associating with religious groups, or such groups that are compromised whose record are telling of human rights abuses. While this apostolic sect feels good by being able to sale their abusive and oppressive doctrine, these same shrines have been used before to oppress others including you Mr President, so no, in #MyZimbabweDream i do not want religion to oppress me as a woman or a girl. #MyZimbabweDream is one in which religious groups just like all institutions are held to account and are asked to respect human rights and the constitution. #OurZimbabweDream expects leaders to have some moral standards and tell and inform citizens of the law and truth, and holds all subject to law including Mapositori, and leaders must not compromise themselves. Finally for #MyZimbabweDream i want women and men to have the same rights to be ministers of the gospel, leaders in various institutions, just as we have women vying for presidency in this election. I want leaders who promote women and girls rights just like they promote all human rights! I want leaders who do not compromise themselves but stand upright for human rights. You owe us an apology Mr President!
Nyaradzo ‘Nyari’ Mashayamombe is a Citizen of Zimbabwe, a Leader, Human Rights Activist, Executive Producer of IDentities TV Show and Singer Song Writer. Follow on twitter and Instagram; @Nyarimash_IDs