DEPUTY head of the elections desk in the Nelson Chamisa-led Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC) Ellen Shiriyedenga says continuous judgments by the High Court to bar party candidates from participating in by-elections is a major source of frustration to recalled female politicians who have been hoping to retain their seats.
TAKUDZWA GIFT WASHAYA
Shiriyedenga, who is one of the senior female party members in the CCC, said this after High Court judge Pisirayi Kwenda odered the opposition party’s candidates not to participate in a by-election slated for 3 February this year, citing they ceased to be members of the party after being expelled by self-imposed secretary-general Sengeso Tshabangu.
She said women have been have fighting to be noticed in the male-dominated politics and any negative judgment at the courts is a blow to their political endeavours.
“Women have been scrounging on the little they have to participate in these elections and suddenly you have been recalled, suddenly you have been stopped from exercising your constitutional rights as enshirined in section 69 of the constitution,” she said. “It’s frustrating and infringement of our freedom as women.”
Shiriyedenga, who is a member of Parliament for Harare province through propotional represantation, said the recalls in some instances caused depression to women who never thought they would be removed from the ballot through dubious legal routes.
“For your own information, we have had women who were casualties in the past that suffered from strokes and died because of these situations. They bring about a lot of emotional strain, so there is a lot of devastation.”
The firebrand female politician however urged women to continue fighting for their political positions despite dissapointment.
She said the political problems which women are facing in Zimbabwe should be solved by women as no one will come to fight on their behalf.
“The problems that we have in this country are political and, if we shy away from politics and say there is lot of fear and fighting, no one is going to solve those problems for us,” she said. “Women should rise up and challenge the system and claim our constitutional rights as well as our democratic right.”
She also said women should educate themselves for them to occupy political offices which at times requires critical thinking.
“What’s important also is going to school. For you to occupy positions you need at least to have capacity with regards to what you want to do in politics and to be a leader obviously there are some leadership attributes which you may require and they come through going to school,” she said.
High Court judge Kwenda’s judgment barring the Chamisa-led CCC candidates from participating in the forthcoming by-election is not the first of its kind. Last year, other CCC candidates were barred by the same court from participating in a by-election which was scheduled for 9 December.
This affected dozens of female politicians from the party who could not retain their seats after a recall which they described as unconstitutional.
*This article was supported by the Canadian Embassy in Zimbabwe in partnership with the Centre for Public Interest Journalism (The NewsHawks)