WASHINGTON — Zimbabwean women from across the political divide and civil society set aside their political differences Friday for an inter-party indaba and a peaceful protest march through the streets of Harare to denounce political violence.
They met at the Crown Plaza Hotel in Harare before marching to parliament where they gave a petition to senate president Edna Madzongwe.
The women from the three political parties in the Government of National Unity, President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and the other formation of the MDC led by Industry Minister Welshman Ncube, declared zero tolerance to political violence.
They vowed to spread the message to women at grassroots level and urge them not to vote for known perpetrators of political violence.
The women also denounced the death in Headlands, Manicaland Province, last Saturday of 12-year old Christpower Maisiri, son of an MDC-T official. He was torched to death in a suspected arson attack.
The MDC charges that Zanu-PF supporters were responsible for the attack. But police say they are still investigating.
The women also voiced their concern at a recent incident in which a Zanu-PF parliamentarian, Sarah Mahoka of Hurungwe East, was assaulted in a case of intra-party violence.
Zanu-PF Women’s Assembly secretary Oppah Muchinguri told VOA that violence must be condemned and urged the media not to tolerate hate speech.
Sibongile Masara, secretary general of the MDC-T Women’s Assembly, said Zimbabwean women are tired of violence, adding perpetrators should be arrested.
Thandiwe Mlilo, chairperson of the MDC formation led by Welshman Ncube, said the women from the three political parties have agreed that they will do all in their power to ensure violence is removed from Zimbabwean communities.