FIREBRAND Norton legislator, Temba Mliswa, on Wednesday tore into the Zimbabwe Gender Commission, accusing it of being hypocritical after it failed to come to the defence of former Vice-President Joice Mujuru when she was publicly crucified by former First Lady Grace Mugabe.
BY SHARON SIBINDI
Grace accused Mujuru of laziness that did not befit a Vice-President in a vicious character assassination campaign at Phelandaba Stadium in Gwanda in the run up to the Zanu PF congress in December 2014.
She also accused her of witchcraft and prostitution.
Speaking at the Zimbabwe Gender Commission meeting in Bulawayo yesterday, Mliswa said the commission slept on the job at a time Mujuru needed their support.
“I am asking the Gender Commission and you civil society; what did women do when the former First Lady (Grace Mugabe) was insulting other women? What did women do to defend Amai Mujuru when she was attacked by the former First Lady and why were you quiet?” Mliswa queried.
“When the former First Lady insulted the current President, Emmerson Mnangagwa, what did you do about it?”
In response, Zimbabwe Gender Commissioner Margaret Mukahanana-Sangarwe admitted that while the commission was not yet established when Mujuru was victimised, they were caught napping when Mnangagwa was dragged over live coals “because of the situation”.
“When the current President was insulted, what did the commission do?
We deal with both men and women.
We just don’t deal with women.
But what I would want to say is that in the first instance, it was before the Gender Commission was established,” she said.
“But I am not making any excuses.
The other issue that happened and I think that you acknowledged [it] when you spoke, that at some point it was very difficult for the gender commission to do anything because of the situation.”
Mukahanana-Sangarwe, however, said the commission lacked financial backing.
“I think now that we have been challenged about these issues as a Gender Commission, particularly of taking the government to court, we should also note that to take the government or anyone to court costs money and the budget of the Gender Commission is very limited and the budget comes from government,” she said.
The commissioner said it was something that could be further discussed and they needed every woman to throw their weight behind the campaign.
“It’s an issue for all women. It’s not just for the Gender Commission and if a woman is insulted, our expectation is that all the women, in the civil society and the gender commission and all the women should be marching against some of these issues and protest against other women being harassed,” she said.
The meeting was held under the theme “Women Experiences and Perspectives on 2018 Elections and Recommendations for 2023”.