MINISTER of Regional, Integration and International Cooperation, Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga whose political career typifies nine lives of a cat has bounced back in the national assembly under the women’s quota system.
BY PHYLLIS MBANJE
Sources last week said she was also earmarked for a ministerial post in President Robert Mugabe’s government.
Misihairabwi-Mushonga, who is the secretary-general for MDC, always has a plan to worm her way back into the political play field just when everyone else would have dismissed her as a spent force.
Known for her sharp tongue and uninhibited comments, she managed to grab the national assembly seat amid much resistance from other party members who contested the leadership’s decision to include her name on the list.
Reports suggest that Misihairabwi-Mushonga could be offered a Cabinet post by Mugabe to keep the two MDC formations apart.
The move would ensure that chances of the two bonding and forming a coalition in time for the next elections remain as remote as ever.
Misihairabwi-Mushonga however dismissed the allegations that she would be given a post in Mugabe’s administration.
“That is utter rubbish. I’m totally disappointed to hear such nonsensical reports that have no grain of truth. Right now people should just be focusing on how we can steer this country in the right direction but here they are, busy saying stuff about me,” she fumed. “How can I be offered a Cabinet post when my party is not even represented in Parliament?”
Misihairabwi-Mushonga, who has had a fair share of political and personal misfortunes, decided to take her campaigns to rural Matabeleland South in what many described as a ploy to launch herself back into the political arena after a dismal loss in the 2008 parliamentary elections.
She lost her traditional Glen Norah seat in Harare in 2008.
“She lives here in Harare and so it defies all logic that she would go all the way to some rural constituency in Matabeleland unless she was afraid that she would lose in Glen Norah,” said Paradzai Dimiti of Dzivarasekwa suburb in Harare.
Misihairabwi-Mushonga said she would not dignify that with a response.
“I have said it before, I will not respond to such malicious allegations, it is too disgusting to even contemplate,” she said.
In May this year, reports claimed that some members of the party wanted to pass a vote of no confidence against her.
However, MDC leader Professor Welshman Ncube openly defended her and even backed her nomination for Umzingwane constituency.
Other party members clearly expressed their displeasure insisting that Misihairabwi-Mushonga did not come from Matabeleland and should therefore not stand in that constituency.
Her political career has been mired with controversy largely as a result of her candid statements.
She once referred to legislators from Matebeleland as “useless condoms” who were failing to defend their constituency.
Misihairabwi-Mushonga also came under fire after calling on women to deny their husbands conjugal rights until they had registered to vote for elections.
She first cut her political teeth as a member of Zimbabwe Union of Democrats (ZUD) under the leadership of Margaret Dongo before joining MDC in 1999.
She won the Glen Norah seat in 2000 but after the party’s split in 2005 she remained with the MDC formation.
In 2009, she was appointed Minister of Regional Integration and International Cooperation, in the government of national unity.
However, the same year her social life received a blow when her husband, Christopher Mushonga, an orthopaedic surgeon was viciously attacked by robbers in their Mt Pleasant home.
He later died from the injuries sustained during the attack.
Following his death, there was a protracted fight over his estate and at one point Misihairabwi-Mushonga found herself homeless and holed up in a hotel.
She later relinquished the property under dispute saying she was tired of fighting.