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Female legislators unite

Zimbabwe’s women legislators united under the Zimbabwe Parliamentary Women’s Caucus to cooperate across party lines on gender issues.

The caucus was led by Flora Bhuka of the Zimbabwe African National Union- Patriotic Front with Thokozani Khupe of the Movement for Democratic Change as her deputy.

Even Oppah Muchinguri joined the women to put their political differences aside and cooperate on a common agenda involving women’s issues.

Ed: Makes one wonder, why only unite on gender issues and not national issues. And if they could do that six years ago, why can’t they do it now that they are all in the same government?


Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 06HARARE1247, PARLIAMENTARY WOMEN’S CAUCUS GAINING GREATER VOICE

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

06HARARE1247

2006-10-16 09:44

2011-08-30 01:44

UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO0178

RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #1247/01 2890944

ZNR UUUUU ZZH

R 160944Z OCT 06

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0700

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

RUEHUJA/AMEMBASSY ABUJA 1337

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 1188

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 1341

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0092

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 0602

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 0967

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 1395

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 3773

RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 1164

RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 1816

RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC

RUFGNOA/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE

RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RUEKDIA/DIA WASHDC

RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS

RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 1558

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 001247

 

SIPDIS

 

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR S. HILL

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR C. COURVILLE

 

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: KDEM KWMN PGOV PHUM ZI

SUBJECT: PARLIAMENTARY WOMEN’S CAUCUS GAINING GREATER VOICE

 

 

——-

Summary

——-

 

1. (U) Zimbabwe,s Parliamentary Women,s Caucus on October

6 met with civil society and donor representatives to call

for greater cooperation across party lines on gender issues.

Participants at the meeting said that the Caucus, which is

lead by ZANU-PF MP Flora Bhuka and MDC MP Thokozani Khupe,

was able to set aside political disagreements on issues of

common concern, such as passage of the Domestic Violence

Bill. The Caucus criticized opponents of the Bill and on

October 9 marched to the opposition,s headquarters to

protest sexist statements by MDC MP Timothy Mubawu. End

Summary.

 

—————————————–

Female Legislators Call For Greater Unity

—————————————–

 

2. (U) POL/ECON FSN attended a meeting of the Parliamentary

Women,s Caucus on October 6. Caucus Chairperson Flora

Bhuka, ZANU-PF Minister for Land Reform, commended the body

for its work on issues of concern to women. Echoing Bhuka,s

comment, ZANU-PF Minister of Women,s Affairs Oppah

Muchinguri stated that the members of the Caucus from both

ZANU-PF and the MDC have been able to put their political

differences aside and collaborate over a common agenda

involving women,s issues. Caucus deputy chairwoman MP

Thokozani Khupe, who is the anti-Senate MDC Vice President,

also participated in the meeting, demonstrating the

by-partisan nature of the body. (Note: Despite the

inter-party good-will, Muchinguri cautioned that she works

for ZANU-PF and needs to respect the party,s policies End

Note.)

 

3. (U) Caucus leaders made an appeal to civil society and

donor attendees to assist legislators pushing for gender

equality. Bhuka said that training of female elected

officials should be a top priority and asked the NGOs to work

with women contesting the October 28 rural council elections

to help them understand and appreciate their roles as leaders

in society. She said that out of the 1,200 candidates, 370

were women. Bhuka emphasized that the Caucus would like to

see women represented in greater numbers in decision making

bodies.

 

——————————————-

Attacking Critics of Domestic Violence Bill

——————————————-

 

4. (U) The Women,s Caucus called on its members to rally

for the passage of the Domestic Violence Bill, which would

criminalize abuse committed within a household. The draft

law is currently in the House of Assembly, after having been

revised slightly following a public hearing last month.

 

5. (U) The Caucus members expressed outrage at the

statements of anti-Senate MDC MP Timothy Mubawu during a

Parliamentary debate on the Bill October 5 when he said &the

bill was diabolic and that it is &against God,s principles

that women and men should be equal.8 Inspired by the Caucus

meeting, on October 10 approximately 60 women from the

Women,s Coalition ) a grouping of women,s rights NGOs –

marched to Parliament and the anti-Senate MDC headquarters,

carrying placards denouncing domestic violence and Mubawu.

Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai addressed the marchers at

his office to acknowledge their concerns, but he urged them

to demonstrate against all forms of violence in Zimbabwean

society, not domestic violence alone.

 

HARARE 00001247 002 OF 002

 

 

 

——-

Comment

——-

 

6. (SBU) Domestic violence against women is pervasive in

Zimbabwe due to both shortcomings in the existing law and a

general unwillingness to prosecute by police and courts,

which generally see this type of abuse as a social norm,

rather than a crime. The Domestic Violence Bill would expand

the rights of women and make a strong symbolic statement on

the need for better enforcement. It was encouraging, if

rare, to see members of parliament from both sides of the

aisle put aside their differences and come together on an

important issue such as domestic violence. This was likely

the result of the strong constituencies that exist within

ZANU-PF and both opposition factions on women,s issues.

Unfortunately, the odious Mubawu and others who think like

him are also to be found throughout the political system,

though in ever fewer numbers.

SCHULTZ

(5 VIEWS)

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