BY LORRAINE MUROMO
THE Zimbabwe Gender Commission (ZGC) has called for the immediate release of MDC Alliance MP Joanah Mamombe from prison, while bemoaning increasing cases of incarceration and torture of women at the hands of State security agents.
Mamombe was arrested together with Cecilia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova for violating COVID-19 regulations.
The MDC Alliance MP has been struggling with her health while in remand prison and was last week forced out of hospital back to remand prison by State agents.
But ZGC said the arrest and torture of female politicians was impeding women’s participation in politics.
“We are concerned that the violence allegedly directed at women leaders is likely to discourage women’s participation in politics and decision-making, which the commission has been actively promoting,” ZGC chairperson Margaret Mukahanana Sangarwe said in a statement yesterday.
“We, therefore, urge the following upon government, political parties, and law enforcement agents, media, respectively to publicly declare commitment to upholding constitutional provisions in dealing with alleged criminal conduct and conduct an investigation into circumstances surrounding the case in a transparent and accountable manner to curtail speculation.”
She added: “We reiterate our call upon all Zimbabweans to adhere to the guidance provided pertaining to the national lockdown and co-operate with security actors that have been deployed. We also advise all public and private institutions to be guided by the Constitution on how to respond to those who fail to conform to COVID-19 and other guidelines.”
In a joint statement, the Women’s Academy for Leadership and Political Excellence (Walpe) said these heinous acts were with no doubt an indication that women had no place in politics.
“All these brutal acts of repression further close the space for women to effectively and fully participate in politics. As women’s rights organisations, we thus call on the government of Zimbabwe to unconditionally and immediately release Hon Mamombe and all other political prisoners,” Walpe said
“For Honourable Mamombe, her release is urgent given her deteriorating health condition which requires specialist attention. We also call on the region and international community to raise their voice on the illegal detention of Mamombe and other political prisoners.
“As Walpe, we hold that the charges show that the government of Zimbabwe is weaponising COVID-19 to close democratic space.”