State Media|Women should grab opportunities in previously male-dominated fields including driving public service vehicles, and stamp their authority as equally gifted, First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa has said.
She decried the low representation of women in business, politics and a host of other areas and said it was time women came out of their shells and prove that they were able-bodied.
Women, she said, must apply themselves fully in all the things they do to achieve results.
Yesterday, Amai Mnangagwa obtained a Class One driver’s licence after undergoing a training course which she said was a big challenge to women adding that she decided to acquire it during the month of March which celebrates achievements by women globally.
This was after she had also taken her defensive driving course from the first session to the eighth, diligently and made sure she mastered the concepts through asking questions and reading.
The First Lady effortlessly reversed the 65-seater bus, engaged her gears and took off and braked with ease just like any other competent driver.
She drove from the Vehicle Inspectorate Department (VID) yard into the Harare central business district (CBD) with ease under the instruction of her examiners who acknowledged her competency and awarded her the licence.
Yesterday’s test came barely a week after Amai Mnangagwa launched the country’s first ever driver safety training programme in conjunction with Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe (TSCZ) targeting women and youths as part of broad-based measures to reduce carnage on the country’s roads.
The First Lady who is the patron of the National Transport and Drivers Association (NTDA) said she was leading other women by example.
“I usually want to talk about things that I do and lead from the front. I want people especially women to see that these things can be done and it will not be difficult for me to encourage them. Women are able to compete for jobs that are done by men despite their biological make up.
“We are worried by the spate of road accidents countrywide and I am convinced women can play a big role in reducing these,” she said.
The First Lady said her door was open to all women and youths wishing to acquire defensive driving certificates and driver’s licences to improve the quality of driving on the roads and curb accidents.
She said she was willing to share her story with them and show them the way.
This comes amid reports that the Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (Zupco) had recorded 22 accidents, three of which were fatal and claimed 13 lives.
After a retest of all the 113 Zupco drivers, only 64 passed the first time and the rest were being subjected to theory and practical tests. Those that fail to make the grade will have their contracts terminated.
Mr Tatenda Chinoda and Mrs Tsungai Mukwaiwa from the Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe took the First Lady through a vigorous defensive driving course.
TSCZ acting managing director Mr Clifford Gobo who was also present throughout the whole process said it was encouraging to have senior members of society and people who are in leadership positions taking the initiative to promote road safety.
“We have always said defensive driving is important. Secondly, we have been restricting it to public transport drivers, but now here is a private driver who is also taking the initiative, so it will be a challenge to other members of the leadership.
“We are going to take her as an ambassador and then she will also challenge other people in leadership to come forward and participate in this activity,” he said.
A manager at Easy-Go Driving School through which the First Lady acquired her Class One licence, Mr Edmond Usayiwevhu said they were excited to have taken the First Lady through the theory and practical training.
“Today, we have experienced our First Lady going through defensive driving certificate training which has given us an insight into how you protect other road users, how you protect yourself as a driver, how you take care of your vehicle and ensure that there is maximum road safety on our roads. She also did very well on the road during the class one road test,” said Mr Usayiwevhu.
He said the First Lady did her driving lessons with Easy-Go Driving School.
Mr Chinoda said as TSCZ they were privileged and honoured to have had Amai as their student for the defensive driving course.
The instructor said they had not minimised any standards for the particular course and the First Lady had taken it all through from session one to session eight.
“She passed the exam that goes with that particular course and was certified as a defensive driver. After all, when it has started with the First Family, other families at provinces, the ministers, the members of parliament must take this example and do the course. We need to preserve the lives of our people by taking the initiative as people who use the road,” he said.
VID depot manager, Mr Onesimo Bumhira who was the driving examiner said the First Lady deservedly got the Class One licence saying she observed all road rules and competently drove her way throughout the city.