A video of a group of foul-mouthed and medieval-minded group of men unashamedly attacking and stripping an innocent woman in broad daylight left me stupefied and embarrassed to belong to a group of people called men.It is puzzling how a group of supposedly right-minded men could blatantly summon the willpower and energy to undress a vulnerable woman, bastardise her dignity and cause physical injury in the process.
One is left convinced that these travesties of men were incited by skewed tenets of some unwritten chauvinist jungle laws that dictate that men are above women and thus should decide how women dress or behave. What humbug!
Such display of medieval behaviour should have jostled clear-minded legislators to ponder better legislative interventions to protect women from being constant prey to such social scums.
But, surprisingly, some legislators unfathomably took the opportunity to politicise the matter by playing the blame game, instead of suggesting practical solutions to stamp out the criminal behaviour of such men.
The Daily News of December 31, 2014 reported that the MDC-T legislator for Harare Central, Murisi Zwizwai, heaped the blame for the attack on the poor woman on Zanu-PF saying: “Zanu-PF should demobilise rank marshals who are extorting money from kombi crews and harassing women. It is the burden of Zanu-PF that these characters are flushed out of the termini. It is important for Zanu-PF to appreciate that women have a right to wear as they please.”
So, the burden of dismantling the decades-old social myths that men should impose their will on women has squarely been placed on Zanu-PF’s doorstep, the MDC-T has distanced itself from seeking practical and legal solutions to the menace of men attacking women.
It is disappointing that the same people we have elected to make laws and come up with policies that must protect our women and children are ducking their electoral responsibilities only to resort to childish political tactics of blaming their rivals for any arising challenges.
I guess Zwizwai is now getting his sleep after apportioning the blame to Zanu-PF. For him, the problem has been solved! He has played his part!
No Mr MP, you have not resolved anything but you have instead deferred an opportunity to institute legislative measures to fight the abuse of women by men. You are in fact playing puerile politics with the fate of women.
Revealingly, Zwizwai is not the only legislator or politician in the MDC-T to be insensitive to the plight of women as the party leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, has been fingered in a number of sex scandals that revealed an inimitable disregard of women’s rights.
Zwizwai’s colleague and former Mabvuku MDC-T MP, Timothy Mubhawu, once made atrocious claims that: “It is against God’s principles for men and women to be equal.” Mubhawu made the debasing comments while contributing to debate on the Domestic Violence Bill, now law, which sought to impose stiffer penalties on perpetrators of domestic violence.
He said: “I stand here representing God Almighty. Women are not equal to men. It is a dangerous Bill and let it be known in Zimbabwe that the right, privilege and status of men is gone. I stand here alone and say this Bill should not be passed in this House. It is a diabolic Bill. Our powers are being usurped in daylight in this House.”
Mubhawu also horribly said that the Bill should look at the way women dress, because “some of the dressing by women is too inviting.”
Clearly, his gothic reasoning evenly resonates and founds expression in the conduct of the touts that attacked the poor woman at the Fourth Street bus terminus.
The same dark-ages sentiments were also echoed by another MDC-T apparatchik and Senator for Chikomo, Morgan Femai, who not so long ago outrageously suggested in Parliament that women should have their hair cut and dress shabbily to reduce their attractiveness as part of measures to curb the spread of HIV.
Addressing parliamentarians during an HIV/AIDS sensitisation workshop, Femai said: “What I propose is that Government should come up with a law that compels women to have their heads clean shaven like what the apostolic sects do. We have never heard that those people are promiscuous, so the women should have their heads shaved. They should also not bath because that is what has caused all these problems.”
Despite Zwizwai trying to apportion blame on the mini-skirt imbroglio on Zanu-PF, it inescapably appears that the trait of resenting the dressing and appearance of women exhibited by the Fourth Street touts has traceable traction within some legislators in the MDC-T. They belong to a cabal of men who want women to look unattractive, failure of which they want them whipped into line, literally or otherwise.
Utterances by Zwizwai and company not only betrayed their disinterest in coming up with measures to protect women, but also demonstrated the tendency by MDC-T legislators to stray away from sanctions-induced challenges facing the people only to dwell on the blame game or grapple with downright peripheral issues.
We have not forgotten about the MDC-T Senator for Matobo, Sithembile Mlotshwa, who proposed in Parliament that Government should come up with laws that ensure that people have sex once a month and that compel men to be injected with drugs that reduce their libido.
As if this was not telling enough, she went on to suggest that prisoners be given sex toys to quench their sex needs.
Considering that prisoners, due to sanctions, are facing critical food, medicinal and transport challenges, how could a whole senator, who is supposedly an elder in society, prioritise the provision of sex toys on the starved inmates?
Truly, this goes on to prove that the MDC-T has a bunch of legislators who besides being engrossed in matters of blame game are wholly interested in matters far removed from the daily needs of the people. Such calibre of legislators like Zwizwai are a disservice not only to their constituencies but to the nation at large.
It makes one realise that when MDC-T politicians irritably throw the punch line “we are the only game in town”, they mean the blame game, to which they are indisputable champions.
Next time the MDC-T functionaries should understand that women and children need legislators who come up with measures that protect them and not leaders who slyly want to get political mileage out of their plight.