IT is said a cat has nine lives because of its ability to land on its feet no matter how hard it falls. This may be a myth, but the same can apply to humans, especially politicians.
By Lulu Brenda Harris
The world of politics is rife with ups and downs, setbacks — from lapses in judgement to serious misdemeanours — but there are examples of candidates and office-holders who survive them. In this case it applies to one Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga.
Once again, Misihairabwi-Mushonga has found her way into Parliament as a MDC-T proportional representative for Bulawayo, under the quota system that reserves 60 seats for women in the National Assembly.
She and Mildred Reason Dube are the only two candidates from MDC-T that made it into parliament following the July 30 elections.
This development will no doubt surprise her detractors who thought her political career had finally ended after a full-out with the Welshman Ncube led MDC.
But no matter what some may think of her, Misihairabwi-Mushonga has had a fascinating political career and from the look of things, will continue to make headlines.
During the government of national unity discussions in 2009 and the constitution-making process consultations, the MDC led by Welshman Ncube was the only party that deployed a woman and she was one of the chief negotiators.
In 2013, Misihairabwi-Mushonga survived MDC’s dismal electoral performance and by a stroke of luck was one of the party’s five candidates, who made it to Parliament.
She was the MDC proportional representative for Umzingwane in Matabeleland South. Her appointment was no easy feat though. She faced resistance from fellow party members and even some of the constituents did not want her as their representative.
As a senior member of the MDC, Misihairabwi-Mushonga served as the party’s secretary-general, but after a fallout with Ncube, she was reduced to an ordinary card-carrying member.
This year, she was dropped by the MDC and excluded from the list of candidates representing the party in the MDC Alliance.
Despite the fact that no formal communication was made by the MDC about the decision to drop her, Misihairabwi-Mushonga insisted she was not bitter.
However, she did step out from the party and said her goodbyes, thanking the MDC for nurturing her politics.
“For all the differences I may have had with some people in the party, this is one party that allowed me as a person to grow in many areas of what has become my political experience,” Misihairabwi-Mushonga said at the time.
After that, she became close to MDC-T leader Thokozani Khupe, who was a victim of sexism and violence emanating from senior members in the main opposition party.
Misihairabwi-Mushonga said she could not relax when another woman was under attack so she had to support Khupe.
She ultimately became Khupe’s chief election agent in the former Makokoba MP’s bid to become the first female Zimbabwean president.
The outspoken legislator does have a knack for courting controversy.
In 2014, Misihairabwi-Mushonga once rubbished politicians in Matabeleland, referring to them as “useless condoms” who had sold out the region.
In 2015, she took a baby to Parliament, carried sanitary wear and used second-hand panties to express her points on issues affecting women.
She was once ejected from Parliament when she crossed the floor apparently to beat up fellow legislator, Justice Mayor Wadyajena.
Misihairabwi-Mushonga has also said that children should not be given their father’s surnames, arguing there was nowhere where it was written that one had to assume the man’s name.
In the same year, Misihairabwi-Mushonga publicly disclosed she was suffering from clinical depression and panic disorder.
“It is not a dark secret. It is true that I was diagnosed with clinical depression and panic disorder for which I am under medication,” she said at the time.
“This is common in people who have gone through trauma. I went through trauma. I went through many things, including that whole process of inheritance battles when my husband died.”
She has continuously urged women to deny their partners sex ahead of elections so that they go to vote.
In the run-up to the elections, she told women not to put on panties while casting their votes.