Mugabe says few women educated enough to be ministers

via Shock as Mugabe says few women educated enough to be ministers | SW Radio Africa by Nomalanga Moyo 13 September 2013

There has been an angry response to President Robert Mugabe’s condescending remarks regarding the near-absence of women in his Cabinet.

On Wednesday, just after swearing in his new appointees, Mugabe implied to journalists that the three women he included were all he could manage, as there were not enough educated women to choose from.

Only Oppah Muchinguri (Women’s Affairs), Olivia Muchena (Higher Education), and Sithembiso Nyoni (Small & Medium Enterprises) made it into Cabinet.

“Give us the women. This time we did proportional representation, but there were just not enough women. Women are few in universities. It’s no longer necessary to do affirmative action; it’s free for all,” he said.

“Education is for all now. It is mixed. The yield is the same. It is no longer necessary for us to have affirmative action. Let women contest alongside men without any preferential treatment,” Mugabe told the press.

Mugabe further said that despite the affirmative action efforts aimed at promoting women’s access to education, women had not utilised these opportunities and “simply failed to emerge”.

But women’s groups say they are disappointed with such an attitude, especially coming from the country’s President who should know better.

Writing on Facebook Betty Makoni, founder of the Girl Child Network, said: “To think our President today says that after 20 years of sweating in schools we are not educated as Zimbabwean women is shocking.

“I think giving most political cabinet positions to men is like a father who treats boy children better than girls. Zimbabwe might be amongst countries with the highest number of educated women,” she wrote.

She went on to say that with this attitude boys grow up with a negative feeling towards women and women end up seeing themselves as inferior.

Responding to Makoni’s post, former broadcaster Lydia Mavengere said: “I get the feeling he (Mugabe) doesn’t like a good sensible argument or challenge from a woman. As a result he chose the few he perceived to be the least antagonistic. For men like that, it also helps them live in their comfort zone where women are seen and not heard.

“But we all know Zimbabwean women are great, featuring amongst the most educated most hardworking and most resourceful,” Mavengere said on Facebook.

In yet another comment posted on Facebook, feisty feminist-activist Everjoice Win said she couldn’t care less about Mugabe’s appointments.

“Please don’t ask me for comments, or ask me to get engaged. I never cared why Hitler didn’t have women in the leadership of the SS. I did not lose sleep over the lack of women in the 5th Brigade when they massacred my mother’s people in Matebeleland.

“I certainly am not going to care now how many are in that Retirement Home Inc Cabinet,” Win added.

Speaking on behalf of the umbrella Women’s Coalition, Virginia Muwanigwa told one newspaper that member groups were disappointed that the composition of the Cabinet disregards the new constitution.

She added: “We are particularly disappointed because it is not just about the Cabinet, but what the Cabinet represents in the lives of people of Zimbabwe.”

Speaking to SW Radio Africa Friday Merit Rumema, of the Zimbabwe Women Lawyers Association, said they were disappointed that Mugabe had actually reduced the number of women in Cabinet.

“We had hoped there will be more women this time considering that there is a pool of 60 extra women to choose from as a result of the parliamentary quota system.

“The new constitution also makes provisions for the inclusion of technocrats in parliament and so in terms of capacity there is enough of that in parliament.

“Some of the women have been parliamentarians for more than 30 years and surely they know what they are doing and can head ministries.

Rumema said it was “abnormal” to have just three women in the Cabinet, adding that the President had demonstrated a lack of commitment to the various international agreements he signed on gender equality and equity.

“The regional protocol on gender, which the president signed, says there should be 50-50 representation of women in key roles by 2015 but just two years before this year, this is the kind of Cabinet, and situation, we find ourselves in.”

Rumema said ZWLA was in the process of compiling a list of all the educational qualifications of women parliamentarians, to prove to Mugabe that there are enough educated women to head ministries if that is the criteria.

Rumema was also cynical about the ministries that Mugabe had reserved for women, saying they were “soft” portfolios that lack clout.

“Without taking anything away from the women, as women’s groups we would love to see a woman heading the finance, or legal affairs ministries for example because they are capable. You begin to wonder whether this is patriarchy at play, politics or attitude,” she added.

Kumbirai Mafunda, of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights said Mugabe had insulted women

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 13
  • comment-avatar
    Kevin Watson 7 years ago

    It’s very simple, intelligent educated women do not support Zanu PF and Mugabe, so of course there aren’t many to be appointed as cabinet ministers. It’s quite apparent that honesty and intelligence aren’t requirements to be a male member of Mugabe’s cabinet.

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    Sekuru Mapenga 7 years ago

    What utter nonsense! There are plenty of highly educated and competent women in Zimbabwe.

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    Tjingababili 7 years ago

    RUBBISH!

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    Sibangilizwe Lethube 7 years ago

    Firstly mugabe is liar as he is claiming that there are few educated women.Age is showing to take its toll on mugabe as he is contradicting with what he says during the campaign meetings.It shows that he is a liar and he has failed to provide education to the women of Zimbabwe except 3.In this case he has to go to Hague because that is a big abuse of women in Zimbabwe by mugabe and his party.

    Secondly leadership has got nothing to do with the degrees.Why is it mugabe has failed to run a small country like Zimbabwe yet he and his cabinet have plenty of degrees.According to your party policy we don’t need Western influence and policies, why then do you turn around and say your women are not educated yet they can speak and write Shona and Ndebele.
    It is quite clear now that ZBCTV is just a propaganda to brainwash people. Buda pachena mugabe we need a change.

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    Beside he(the president) said it himself that this cabinet wasn’t about how educated u are but how zanu and for how long have u been with them and I am sure there r so many women who would qualify to be in the cabinet based on that crateria….

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    furedi 7 years ago

    Sorry, good women of Zimbabwe you do not deserve that type of insult.There are enough women to fill a whole cabinet and do a better job than tired crew of psuedo men that were appointed. The problem is that all women with brains do not dance kongonya clad in dresses with Bobs image on their backsides.

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    Mike Patterson 7 years ago

    If Mugabe was really a man then he would have had more ladies in his parliament.

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    Dokotela 7 years ago

    As we have often seen on ZBCTV, the Zanu women are always wearing material with Mugabe’s face, singing and dancing for him, on their knees as he passes by, and now they are annoyed that he sees them as just that, praise singers and people who worship him, with no ability to be anything meaningful. He doesn’t expect educated people to behave like you do, full-stop.

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    george shava 7 years ago

    MUGABE IS AN IDIOT AND SENILE. HIS ELECTION CAMPAIGNS ARE MASTERMINDED BY WOMEN THEN HE TURNS AROUND AND VOMIT THIS RUBBISH. THIS AMBIVALENCE IS EXPECTED OF MUGABE AND HIS CRONIES. MUGABE WAKE UP TO REALITY ALL EDUCATED ZIMBABWEANS DO NOT SUPPORT YOU THUS SIMPLE AS THAT

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    Mr president you can do better than this, hw can a father utter such words publicly. i think he ddn’t mean what he said

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    imvi dzechembere 7 years ago

    Kongonya hakusi kufunda, vakafunda havaite, pakadaro vakafunda vacho havasi vebato remukuru. Apa imbwa yarohwa nomupi wanga wakavigwa. Hezvoka imi vekongonya isu zvavapachena kongonya ikongonya inobva kune vasina njere. Apa madzimai hapachina chokuchema nokuti imvi dzechembere dzaonekwa mutsvina yebere. Chiri mumusakasaka chazvinzwira. Idi iniwo ndawana zivo, chokwadi kongonya kunhandare yendenge inobva mudofo gaba rinocheka zvake kuti vasvinu vadye?

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    Changamire Leo 7 years ago

    I DONT THINK THOSE WOMEN WHO DANCE KONGONYA FOR THE MAJESTY WHEN HE IS AT THE AIRPORT ARE HOLDERS OF DEGREES.MUGABE IS RIGHT THAT LEVEL HEADED WOMEN DO NOT SUPPORT ZANU PF.