Nicola Watson – working for a country free from racism

“Women’s issues have always been at the core of my heart. In 2007, I joined a group of other concerned people running a shelter for abused women called The Haven. This is a secret place in town where we counsel and rehabilitate abused women,” said Watson, who has been helping women in Mpopoma’s high-density suburbs to set up small business ventures making candles and floor polish.

Nicola Watson  – taking women’s issues and an anti-racist message to parliament.
Nicola Watson – taking women’s issues and an anti-racist message to parliament.

“Funding was sourced for this pilot project as a way of empowering women, most of whom are feeling the pinch of company closures in the city. If funding permits, our intention is to introduce the project to other suburbs in the city,” said Watson.

She vowed to take the fight for women’s rights issues to parliament.

“Parliament is a learning curve and I am still learning how to promote the rights of women and democracy in parliament. While in parliament, we need to acknowledge that we are a minority and any issue we raise needs an ultimate buy-in from the majority,” she said.

Commenting on the de-industrialisation of Bulawayo, Watson observed that most of Bulawayo’s economic challenges were a result of the demise of the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ), as well as perennial water shortages.

“NRZ is the backbone of not only Bulawayo industries but industries in other parts of the country as well. It is imperative that the challenges facing the company should be addressed as a matter of urgency. Water is also a key issue in the revival of the city, which means the Gwayi-Shangani dam needs to be completed as soon as possible,” she said.

Watson, who sits on the parliamentary portfolio committees on foreign affairs and education sports and culture, was quick to add that progress was being hampered by reverse racism.

“I am not sure, given the reverse racism that is practised in Zimbabwe, that I will be able to achieve much as an MP, but would hope that, as we are all in fact Zimbabweans, my colleagues and I will be allowed to constructively contribute to debate and formulate policies for our constituents who voted for us,” she said.

She said that she is against the discrimination of citizens based on colour, tribe, creed, gender or race.

“Our biggest problem in this country is that we tend to categorise and divide citizens as whites or blacks, Ndebeles or Shonas. I am a Zimbabwean citizen because this is my motherland. We need to move forward as a country and can only do so without these isms that divide us,” said Watson.

Watson, who was born in Bulawayo, joined the MDC in 2000 as a Hillside branch member and rose to the position of Bulawayo Central Ward Five chair. At the split of the united MDC, in 2005, she was elected district treasurer for Bulawayo South constituency. She is currently the party’s Bulawayo province treasurer.

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