Chiredzi women urged to fight patriarch mentality

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Women’s Academy for Political and Leadership Excellency, (Walpe), in partnership with African Women's Initiative in Developing Economies (Awide), is training women in communities to enhance their participation in all leadership positions, local and national.

BY Garikai Mafirakureva

WOMEN in Chiredzi have been challenged to drop the paterfamilias mind-set and take a leading role in local governance.

Many observers say Chiredzi, which is predominantly Shangaan, is still engrossed in a patriarchal way of thinking, resulting in men dominating the political space.

Shangaan is one of the tribes which still believes men only should take a leading role in decision-making processes.

This was revealed during a motivational workshop for young women held last week after it emerged that Chiredzi had no female MPs and councillors.

The workshop, which was held last week under the theme Empowering and Harnessing the Voice of Young Woman and Youths Participating in Local Governance, was facilitated by United Chiredzi Residents and Ratepayers Association (Uchirra) in collaboration with the Women Affairs ministry and Covenant Faith Ministries Church.

Uchirra advocacy officer Bernard Dachi said the workshop was necessitated by the realisation that women in Chiredzi were taking a back seat in local governance issues, leading to gender imbalance in both Chiredzi Town Council and Chiredzi Rural District Councils (RDC).

There are 32 councillors in Chiredzi RDC and eight councillors in the town council — all men.

“We have seen that after the death of ward two female councillor, Jester Muteyaunga (urban) in May 2017, she became the last woman to be involved in the matrix of local government in Chiredzi. It seems women have lost hope of being office bearers in our councils,” Dachi said.

“This is a serious issue that needs to be addressed. We have forty councillors from both urban and rural council, but they are all men. It is not limited to local government even in the National Assembly all four MPs are male except two who only got into Parliament through proportional representation. So our workshop had fifty participants mainly women drawn from ward 1-8 in urban.”

Uchirra programmes officer Constance Chikumbo urged women to take a leading role in local governance.

She went on to highlight that women always suffer due to exclusion from important decision-making roles.