By Buhle Tshavango
As Zimbabwe’s political landscape is going through massive changes that will be recorded in history and will probably be learnt in school by generations to come, the voice of women politicians has however been loudly silent in this highly spiralling course of events that started last week.
The highly charged political situation has not only seen high ranking Zanu PF members falling by the wayside, but also the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) taking over power from President Robert Mugabe in both the party and government.
However, the silence by female politicians in this tension-laden environment can be felt from all the different political parties as they appear to have restrained themselves away from the ongoing political activities.
Whether this is by design or it’s an unfortunate case of disconnection from the prevailing situation or even lack of platforms to air their views will remain something to think about as local and foreign interviews on the Zimbabwe situation seem to only be featuring male opinion leaders and political analysts.
From the onset of the alleged coup or Operation Restore Legacy, a number of interviews that have been conducted and aired but the voice of female politicians cannot be heard maybe just Honourable Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga who was interviewed on the impeachment issue.
The recent press conference by former Vice President Joice Mujuru did not do any justice to the voice of female politicians as her offering was vague and out of touch with the current situation.
Oppah Muchinguri who a few days ago was publicly supporting the ouster of Emmerson Mnangagwa by the Mugabes has now somersaulted to join the now trending bandwagon of #Mugabemustgo chanters though she has not given her personal opinion to the unfolding events.
Controversial and usually vocal Mandiitawepi Chimene, the soft-spoken Eunice Sandi Moyo and Letina Undenge are among the several women expelled from the ruling party; even so, female politicians from the opposition seem to have gone on mute since the whole coup began, thereby turning the whole process a male-dominated issue.
While political violence has been one of the reasons limiting the participation of women in the political field however the current scenario obtaining in Zimbabwe has been peaceful and there is no excuse for not participating.
As Zimbabwe moves into a new era, female politicians risk having their voice and participation sidelined from this historic process unless they rise to the occasion to demand space in the media through their participation in the core processes of high-level national events.