Women can – but who believes that?

The Zimbabwean conducted a series of interviews to establish whether women were truly at liberty to choose political candidates of their choice in the recent general election.

Raramai Mhlanga from Domboramwari in Epworth, Harare.
Raramai Mhlanga from Domboramwari in Epworth, Harare.

Annie Bhaulen from Makaha village in Mudzi, Mutoko believes women were not at liberty to choose the candidates they wanted to.

“On voting day, one enters the polling booth alone but whoever we vote for is someone who would have been discussed within the home. My family, definitely led by the man of the house decided on the candidate that I voted for on election day,” she said.

Tatenda Chisipo from Mbare in Harare echoed the same sentiments and said she was forced by her husband to vote.

“It is something that we discussed and my husband influenced the candidate that I voted for. It is true that you are on your own in the polling booth but the truth of the matter is that there are strings attached to you and when you make your choice, those strings are very much visible,” she said.

Obert Guchutu from Seke in Chitungwiza said that culturally, men still make the decision and much as women may want to change that, it is highly likely that when they are within the confines of the home, women subject themselves to their husbands.

“Cultural barriers are a reality and most women are bound by these, even when they are making political decisions. There is need for more male engagement to ensure that women are given the space to support each other into decision-making positions,” he said.

Tafadzwa Nkiwane from Zengeza in Chitungwiza said: “Men rule. This is why women fail to vote each other into office. I will tell my wife who to vote for and that is what she does. It is the sad truth.”

Raramai Mhlanga, who comes from Domboramwari in Epworth, said failure to change men’s perception from the current reality to that of “women can” would see a reduction in female parliamentarians in the next 10 years.

“This special provision in the constitution is valid for only 10 years and I foresee a future where women will relax and say ‘we have made it’. But in 10 years’ time, they will be back to square one because men want power and they will do everything to stay in power: including winning the hearts of female voters,” he said.

Post published in: News

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