http://www.pambazuka.org/images/articles/362/47404flag.jpgWe the under-signed Zimbabwean women, in our capacity as THE FEMINIST POLITICAL EDUCATION PROJECT (FePEP), urgently call for an end to the political impasse that our country is in. Over a week after we voted in the harmonized elections, we note with great dismay that the results of the Presidential elections are yet to be released. The country is in limbo. Violence, poverty, HIV & AIDS and deterioration of social services continue to disproportionately affect women and girls. We voted on the 29th of March for our representatives in Parliament and for a Head of State in the hope that collectively they can address these problems. As citizens we demand to know and see the fruits of our vote, which would affirm our rights to participate in politics.
We call for the immediate release of the presidential election results. But regardless of who wins this elections among the four presidential candidates, it is our view that the country is too politically polarized to move on. Whoever becomes our next President has the Herculean task of bringing all sides together to think nationally, and in the best interests of all Zimbabwean citizens, not just their own party, or personal self interest. We believe that neither Mr Robert Mugabe nor Mr Morgan Tsvangirai is trusted enough by everyone to foster unity and national coherence that will be required to move forward. We strongly believe that this is what is at the heart of the present impasse. Equally we do not believe that a run-off will be in our best interests as women. We are too familiar with the violence that was meted upon numerous of us from 1890 when the colonialists came into our country right up to the most recent elections. Chief among these forms of violence is sexual violence, and it concomitant implication, HIV infection. Zimbabwean women now have the lowest life expectancy world wide because of HIV & AIDS, 34 years. We can not afford yet another pointless violent election that will slice more years off our lives.
We boldly suggest that all political parties and players in Zimbabwe come together in a national Transitional Authority, (TA). The TA should be headed by a person who can be trusted by both ZANU PF and the MDC formations. She or he must not be the leader of a registered political party. The TA will be composed of up to 15 members, ensuring geographic, ethnic, and gender balance. We believe that such an interim authority will provide a moderating voice and can pave the way for a government of national unity that can steer Zimbabwe to a more democratic dispensation, guided by a new constitution.
We therefore call upon the Southern African Development Community, supported by the African Union, and the United Nations, to bring all the parties in Zimbabwe together to discuss a move towards this interim arrangement. In this regard the South African President Mr Thabo Mbeki should continue his mediation role. It is our contention that the people of Zimbabwe are so deeply polarized yet again and can not possibly negotiate on their own.
Our position as FePEP reflects and amplifies the voices of so many women, who are tired of seeing their country torn apart by selfish male egos, the quest for unbridled power, and total disregard for citizens’ rights.
Teresa Mugadzam, Isabella Matambanadzo, Thoko Matshe, Everjoice Win, Shereen Essof, Juliana Manjengwa, Karin Alexander, Janah Ncube, Priscllah, Misihairabwi-Mushonga Revai Makanje
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