By Charmaine Makayi
HARARE – Young Women Alliance (YWA) gathering under the banner #YoungWomenforChamisa campaign dismissed allegations from politicians, ordinary citizens and gender activists that Chamisa made a sexist statement which degraded women during his U.K rally. Addressing his supporters at his rally on Sunday Chamisa commented that President Emmerson Mnangagwa can marry his 18 year old sister if the Zanu PF manages to win just 5% of the votes in the upcoming elections.
Doug Coltart described it as a ‘sexist joke’ whilst gender activist Linda Masarira said Chamisa’s degradation for women should never be tolerated. Yesterday in Harare a small group of women were demonstrating against Chamisa’s ‘sexist’ statement.
However some women activists have dismissed the allegations as a mere hyperbole, speaking at a press conference held today at Media Centre, MDC (Welshman Ncube) deputy secretary Cecilia Chimbiri said, “we note the political spin of a hyperbole statement made by President Chamisa at a U.K rally by political mal-contents who wish to abuse public sentiment for selfish end and for their political expediency’’.
The YWA pointed out that members of the public should not be made to shift their attention from the real issues affecting the nation such as extreme poverty, corrupt and incompetent systems which have intensified to child prostitution and marriage.
#Shevotes2018 coordinator Maureen Kanemaunga who was chairing the event said President Chamisa’s statement was taken literally when it was intended to be a hyperbole .She further says, “I believe in the vision of the new Zimbabwe he (Chamisa) wants to bring and together as young women if we unite it is possible. We think that Chamisa’s vision speaks to what we want’’.
During the press conference the women emphasised that they are committed in their efforts to safeguard the rights of women and the girl child and would never take lightly political utterances that undermine women.
‘‘However in this case it is clear that President Chamisa views the issue of marrying off his sister as impossible, archaic and unthinkable in the same way that it is impossible; and unthinkable for one Emmerson Mnangagwa, a man associated with dark episodes of our history such as Gukurahundi and the 2008 terror campaign instances where women where rapped, maimed and killed to garner 5% of the vote in a free and fair election’’ says Cecilia Chimbiri.
As young women who have suffered in extreme poverty and deprivation under Zanu PF, Young Women Alliance focuses on reclaiming hope and dignity by mobilising each other to vote in numbers and make sure President Chamisa wins resoundingly in the coming elections.
Political Scientist Mr Bekezela Gumbo on his twitter handle commented that, “But you know the kind of every day vowing understood kumusha uko. It is more proper to say vowing than betting. That vow is contextually understood in the area where Chamisa made it as it’s like ‘inkomo ingazala umuntu’ in IsiNdebele. Something that will never happen.’’