MDC Vice President Thokozani Khupe has savaged President Robert Mugabe saying the nonagenarian has robbed the nation of its dignity and has run the economy down so badly that many Zimbabweans now live as vendors and beggars.
Addressing hundreds of MDC supporters at a belated International Women’s Day celebrations in Watsomba on Saturday, Khupe said the 92-year-old and his deeply-divided Zanu PF are failing to provide basics, apart from implementing ruinous policies that are costing women their lives while giving birth.
“We are told to pay for maternity services…why are we being punished for performing a national duty? If anything you should be paid for giving birth, that is what other countries do…currently 15 women die daily during child birth. This is unacceptable,” Khupe claimed.
With more than 80 percent of the country’s productive sector jobless Khupe, who is passionate about maternal and child health, said in Zimbabwe “ almost everyone is now imprinted poverty on their foreheads”.
She said the admission by Mugabe that government has lost $15 billion in murky Marange diamond operations means his government owes every Zimbabwean at least $1 000.
“Mugabe said we lost $15 billion meaning the Zanu PF government owes each and everyone here $1 000. If you have a husband and seven children then your family is owed $9 000,” Khupe opined.
Speaking at the same occasion the MDC women’s assembly president Lynette Karenyi said in the wake of a devastating drought government should not distribute food aid on partisan lines.
We are not advocating for lawlessness but hunger will force you to grab the available food…we are saying food will not be distributed if only Zanu PF members will benefit.
“As MDC women we are only celebrating our womanhood because there is nothing we have in hand to be happy with,” Karenyi said.
An emotional Karenyi added that women in Zimbabwe have to watch helplessly the children they struggled to send to school being thrown on the ever-growing jobless heap.
“We have now been reduced to a nation of vendors…our children have been reduced to vendors after graduating from university. Zanu PF has utterly destroyed our country,” she said.
The party’s Manicaland provincial chairperson, David Chimhini said while the MDC has managed to have all its envisioned women empowerment provisions in the new Constitution, there is delay in aligning existing legislations with the new supreme law.
“All our positions were adequately captured during the Constitution-making process as we essentially wanted women to take up seats in Parliament, assume leadership positions in government and even take up traditional leadership positions.
“The only problem now is the constitutional provisions are not yet enabled through the enactment of relevant pieces of legislation,” Chimhini said.
Chimhini also bemoaned what he felt are entrenched stereotypes that cast women as inherently inferior to men as another huge impediment to equality.
“Unfortunately, some men are yet to appreciate women as full and equally capable human beings,” Chimhini said.