The entire executive committee of the Bulawayo chapter of the Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCZ) has resigned citing alleged marginalisation of women in the region by the national body’s secretariat in Harare.
WCZ national coordinator Netsai Mushonga confirmed to NewsDay they (secretariat) had received a resignation letter from the Bulawayo chapter committee, but was not keen to discuss “the issue in the media”.
In a letter dated June 14, addressed to the coalition’s board of directors, the Bulawayo chapter leaders accused their secretariat of cutting communication links with them for over two years.
The letter, which was also copied to the secretariat, cited lack of ownership and participation by Matabeleland women in the coalition’s activities as some of the reasons for the pull out.
Part of the letter reads: “As a result of these concerns, the Bulawayo committee has taken the decision to resign with immediate effect.”
“We wish to reiterate that as individuals, and in our work, we are deeply committed to women’s rights and women’s organisations in Bulawayo. We will continue to work for the empowerment of women and to defend women’s human rights through appropriate structures that promote the leadership of women through participation, respect, transparency and democracy,” the women lamented.
They further alleged there had been “no written or formal communication from the secretariat for at least two years” and as a result women from Bulawayo failed to attend important meetings and workshops, including the annual general meeting.
“As a coalition representing women’s organisation, this is gender insensitive and discriminatory,” the women said in the letter.
“Finally, the committee is concerned that the coalition is not committed to a human rights-based approach, which seeks to ensure participation, empowerment and leadership of the members. The coalition does not promote participatory practices, but instead adopts the top-down approach,” the letter said.
Pressed for comment, Mushonga only said: “We were actually in Bulawayo and after the meeting we had with the membership there, we left our response with them and maybe some of them are yet to see the letter. We responded to them. I don’t think it’s such a public issue that it should be discussed through the newspapers,” she said.