The MDC Alliance Assembly of Women joins the rest of Africa today 25 May in celebrating Africa Day. This is the day when Organisation of African Unity (OAU) was formed which later changed to African Union (AU) in 2001. Zimbabwe is a member of this body where the promotion of International Cooperation with due regard for the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is one of the core objectives.
We celebrate this day with tears on our cheeks as women, mothers and girls of the African continent who continue to suffer economically, politically and socially because of policies and decisions made by leaders who do not want to give us our Democratic space. Africa is dominated by leaders who are dictators and who want to cling on to power through undemocratic means such as election rigging, torturing and silencing voices of dissent, sexually abusing female politicians unlawful detentions and killing of opposition members amongst others.
490 million people in Africa are living in extreme poverty whilst more than 72% of Zimbabweans live below the National Poverty Line (NPL) of which women and girls constitutes a bigger percentage of this.
Women and girls continue to live under difficult conditions where they cannot afford basic needs like sanitary wear, clean environment, sound health delivery system and many more because of collapsed economies due to poor governance and misplaced priorities. Women empowerment and gender equality remains a myth.
We continue to experience abductions and sexual harrassment from security officers who are supposed to be protecting us. The governments have become perpetrators and the AU is silent about all this. It has become a toothless bulldog which cannot protect its citizens from violations of the human rights as witnessed by its quite diplomacy in the case of the trio Joanna Mamombe Cecilia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova which got the intervention of the International bodies and Embassies whilst African Union remained silent.
We are much worried as women when crimes against humanity especially against women just go unpunished and wonder who will actually protect us. Our country is being governed by terrorists who are being protected by the AU leaving the majority of the citizens doubting its sincerity.
This is not the Africa we want. As women we want the Africa that respects women and girls, promotes democracy, allows all freedoms to prevail and promotes free and fair elections, hence we are calling for every women in the continent to resist dictatorship and speak out.
Barbara Gwangwara Tanyanyiwa
Spokesperson- MDC Alliance Assembly of Women