HomeOpinion & AnalysisVIPs’ handling of domestic issues demean women

VIPs’ handling of domestic issues demean women

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THE undignified manner in which Mary Mubaiwa was treated by her former husband, Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga last Friday as well as the police siege on suspended High Court judge Justice Erica Ndewere on Saturday have brought to the fore the abuse of women by powerful political leaders that should not go unchallenged.

On Friday, Chiwenga assigned soldiers to dump his estranged wife’s property taken from the couple’s Borrowdale Brooke mansion at her Eastlea offices in Harare.

The property, which included plates, clothes, blankets and kitchen utensils, was left strewn at Mubaiwa’s offices. Mubaiwa was not at the offices when the property was dumped.

The two’s divorce is still pending before the courts, which should determine how they aught to share the property.

One wonders why the VP rushed to dump Mary’s household goods at her offices before conclusion of their divorce case in court. To make matters worse, this came at a time Mary was hospitalised.

Chiwenga was supposed to treat his estranged wife with respect. He is the Vice-President of the nation and should lead by example.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa also failed women by withdrawing suspended judge Justice Ndewere’s VVIP security at a time her alleged misconduct case is yet to be concluded.

Surely both Mnangagwa and Chiwenga should show respect for women if they want the nation to take them seriously when they talk of women’s rights, gender equality and equity.

Zimbabwe is not only a signatory to the Beijing Declaration of 1995, the Protocol to the African Charter on Women’s Rights of 2003 and the Sadc Protocol on Gender and Development of 2008, but it is also signatory to the international human rights frameworks for women’s rights.

The country has ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) of 1991. CEDAW is regarded as the women’s Bill of Rights, compelling States to review their legal systems to end discrimination against women.

The law also compels States to establish institutions to protect women.

We cannot be a nation which is signatory to such key international conventions that seek to enforce respect for women and talk about gender parity, but have vindictive leaders who have a poor judgment of issues and use emotions and State security arms to trample on women’s rights.

Mnangagwa and Chiwenga as national leaders are naturally expected to lead by example in the way they perceive women in general.

The other time we had Vice-President Kembo Mohadi reportedly wielding an axe against his estranged wife, Tambudzani, as they fought for property during divorce proceedings.

Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi is currently embroiled in a messy divorce with his estranged wife, Florence, where he is alleged to be using his alleged lover from the sheriff’s office, to falsify information on returns of service.

It would appear our leaders have a negative perception on women and that could probably explain why Mnangagwa has appointed few women into his Cabinet.

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