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WiPSU condemns violence against woman MP
in Politics Support Unit (WiPSU)
August 31, 2005
Women in Politics
Support Unit (WiPSU) strongly condemns the assault perpetrated against
Hon. Priscilla Misihairabwi by fellow members of the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC). Gender-based violence is a serious violation of women’s
rights and dignity and cannot be tolerated in whatever form or at whatever
level. Women must be treated with respect in both the private and public
spheres. Violence, as it was used in this case, is a dis-empowering tool
and is intended to hinder women’s full participation in decision-making
Women’s fight for
representation in decision-making positions at the political party and
Parliament levels is a tough one. Practices and policies within the system
deter a lot of women from participating. As a nation we must celebrate
and applaud the women who have withstood the trials and tribulations and
made into positions within political parties and Parliament. We must also
appreciate their immense contribution to the development of this country
instead of subjecting them to violence. How does the MDC project itself
as a party that is seeking to build a democratic Zimbabwe when it shows
no respect for women within its own party?
It is our understanding
that youths were involved in the assault. There is a widespread concern
over how the youth have been indoctrinated with a violence mentality and
the assault on Hon. Misihairabwi is a demonstration of how the patriarchal
system regenerates itself by breeding a young generation that believes
in violence against women and does not see anything wrong with it. If
these youths can batter a woman MP, an elected representative what more
their mothers, sisters and wives in the privacy of their homes?
We are saddened by
the fact that MDC appears to be condoning the violence. We had expected
that by now the party would have issued a strong statement condemning
the incident and facilitating concrete actions to ensure the arrest of
the perpetrators and their expulsion from the party. We have not heard
any public condemnation of the assault and that is greatly disturbing.
MDC must come out strongly against gender-based violence if women are
ever to feel secure as members and leaders in the party. Political parties
need to build systems and practices that facilitate women’s political
participation and not hinder it.
We call upon the
leadership within the MDC to follow up on this case so that the culprits
are brought to book. Hon. Misihairabwi should not just be another statistic
or another juicy story for the media. Her case speaks to the lived realities
of women in the public and private spheres. Justice must take its course!
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