Former vice-president Joice Mujuru is the face of a new campaign by female politicians in Zimbabwe for more participation by women in national elections ahead of next year’s polls.
the big interview BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
The Women Electoral Convergence (WEC18 ) held its inaugural meeting in Bulawayo last Friday where leading Zimbabwean female politicians spelt out the group’s vision.
Our senior reporter Nqobani Ndlovu (NN) spoke to Mujuru (JM) about the initiative and National People’s Party (NPP) preparations for the forthcoming elections. Below are excerpts of the interview.
NN: How significant is the WEC at this point in time as we approach the 2018 elections? What is your message to women?
JM: We are meeting because we are tired of women and girls being concerned about social matters only.
We want our numbers to speak for us, be it in Parliament, business or civil society organisations.
We want to promote each other. We want to be involved in clean politics of the land.
We can only achieve that if us as women are not fragmented. We are for the 50/50 quota.
NN: What is the message that you are taking to the women as WEC?
JM: All that we are doing, we are doing it as a group, as women.
We are still working on the roadmap on how we should tackle these and other issues for the benefit of women.
But generally, the message is that women must also be in positions of authority, and to achieve that we need a buy-in from men.
We cannot go it alone, we need their support too and we cannot antagonise them.
NN: If the electoral reforms that the NPP and other parties have been talking about, and crying that they are implemented are not put in place before the polls, will the NPP boycott the elections?
And do you have any queries with the way the Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) tendering process was done?
JM: That is not an option [boycotting]. As a party, we are in these talks for the coalition to work on how best we can have the electoral field levelled, but boycotting is not our strategy.
I know there are some, especially the youth who might feel the need to boycott by not voting, or not registering to vote for next year’s elections.
That’s very wrong. There is no need to boycott elections, for whose benefit, for the benefit of those that have hurt everybody?
Our approach is to ensure we have a level electoral ground, to have a free and fair election next year but already, we have seen signs that show the elections will not be free, signs that rigging is already taking place.
There are things that show there is vote fraud. We are seeing those.
It’s not necessarily about the tendering process, but we want to be consulted as well.
We don’t want a system which benefits one party, disenfranchising other parties. It raises a lot of questions. All we are saying is that the process has to be fair and transparent.
NN: Can you please elaborate on your party’s logo?
JM: It is a bridge. We believe we are the bridge to a better future, to say let us now go to the new land that we want to enjoy.
And we are saying, if there are bad things we have done, encountered, can we not leave them behind as we cross the bridge and only cross the bridge with all the good, and our desires to a better life.
*Mujuru refused to answer more questions, especially about the proposed coalition with other opposition parties ahead of next year’s polls, referring them to her spokesperson Gift Nyandoro.
However, Nyandoro had not responded to the questions by the time of going to print despite promising to do so by midday yesterday.