By Wisdom Mumera
The country’s all-male Presidium has divided opinions across the political divide with politicians and the public clashing over the gender choices of President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
On Thursday Mnangagwa’s two Vice Presidents, Constantino Chiwenga and Kembo Mohadi were sworn in to complete a triumvirate that has no female.
The move has however divided opinions with some politicians questioning the seemingly gender insensitive move.
Writing on social media, MDC-T Secretary General Douglas Mwonzora cast a cloud on the appointments.
“While congratulations may be in order for Chiwenga and Mohadi has @PRESIDENT_ED spared a thought about gender balance within the presidium? @Wamagaisa #thisflag #tajamuka,” he questioned.
However others were not convinced about Mwonzora’s sincerity and accused him of throwing cheap political shots since his own party has no gender balance in the Presidium.
“Most parties are not really ready to accept that women actually deserve their place on the high table, Alliance is also guilty of this fact. Have you thought of it that way?” Gilbert Navonika, the UK/ Europe Interim chairperson of Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF) said.
Tanzania based political analyst Maxwell Saungweme was equally dismissive of Mwonzora’s attack against Mnangagwa, accusing him of hypocrisy.
“Don’t post while drunk mukoma. MDCT presidium is male dominated and the only woman there, Dr Khupe, has been scandalized and assaulted by males for airing her opinion.”
Mwonzora, however, refuted the accusation and said ‘there is no President of the alliance. There is the alliance presidential candidate. Each president still remains the President of his party.”
Others were however of the opinion that the whole argument for gender parity in political appointments is an archaic form of equality
“Sorry, we don’t need opportunists fighting our battles! Neither do we need females appointed to the presidium to give a false illusion. Feminism is not about appointing a figurehead for optics but about equal opp. for equal talent. If it’s not there yet in ZANU it’s not there!”, said one Lorine Magdeline based New Jersey, US.
Peter Goredema concurred saying the issue should be about service delivery and not mere gender balance.
“Good point, but are we after gender balance in every tier, or gender balance in the overall team, or gender balance at the point of delivery, or gender balance by not requiring gender specification on the CV?
Others pointed to comparisons in other countries as benchmarks for the best way forward.
“Why should this even be a presidential decision? Such a position should be by election, check our neighbour, SA, or the rest of the world. Secondly, why do we even have 2 vice presidents, why does MDC T have 3 of them, surely this can only fuel factionalism,? said Tsungai Kavhiya.
The issue of gender balance has remained divisive with the ruling party Zanu PF constantly dithering and busing the matter to suit pending factional inclinations.
The previous highest female appointee Joyce Mujuru was elevated as a buffer against Mnangagwa’s ascendancy and later removed when she was seen as a threat to former President Robert Mugabe.
The most recent push to have a female in the Presidium was again a mere selfish drive to push in former First Lady Grace Mugabe and not a wholesome political agenda.
The opposition has not fared better with the biggest opposition to support MDC-T having Vice President Thokozani Khupe the highest placed female whilst fringe opposition National People’s Party, has Joyce Mujuru as the leader.
The country’s paternalistic culture has proved resilient against true gender advancement and changes towards such appears distant.