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Margaret Dongo speaks on Zim politics, current affairs



PROMINENT war veteran and opposition activist Margaret Dongo (pictured), who crossed into Mozambique at the age of 15 to join Zimbabwe’s armed liberation struggle, says she walked a difficult path in the war and later as a female politician after Independence.

In a long interview with The NewsHawks (check out Twitter and Facebook pages), Dongo speaks on a whole range of issues, particularly the role of women in local politics, the difficulties which they face and the state of the country.

In many respects, Dongo is a pioneer. She joined the liberation struggle as a teenager at 15. In August 1995, she became the first person to challenge election results against a Zanu PF candidate in court and won her case.  She became an independent MP.

Dongo was born in the 1960s into a family of seven children.

Her father was a builder and her mother a peasant farmer. 

 At the age of 15, she joined Zimbabwe’s war of liberation, and fought alongside her sisters and brothers for Zimbabwe’s independence, but also first and foremost to free the women in Zimbabwe from the bondage of patriarchy. 

 After the struggle, she co-founded the Zimbabwe War Veterans’ Association to give voice to excombatants who were marginalised after the war. 

 She entered active politics and for many years served as a Zanu PF central committee and MP. In the 1995 elections, she was the first and only person to challenge vote-rigging successfully, and went ahead to win the subsequent run-off as an independent MP.

 While in Zanu PF, she was a member of a number of parliamentary committees, including the Public Accounts, the Committee on Indigenisation, and was chairperson of the Local Government portfolio committee. 

She served in Parliament for 10 years before becoming the first woman to head an opposition party in Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe Union of Democrats. 

Throughout her life as an active politician, she has remained focused on improving the lives of women. It has not been easy.

Society is still deeply patriarchal and not willing to easily reform. At a personal level, she believes in the power of self-actualisation, and has invested in her own personal development through education, including pursuing a master’s degree in Public Administration at Harvard University.

She currently coordinates a voluntary development programme to uplift the lives of women and children in the rural areas through projects that are sustainable and make a real difference in their lives. — STAFF WRITER.

*This article was supported by the Canadian Embassy in Zimbabwe in partnership with the Centre for Public Interest Journalism (The NewsHawks)

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