Zimbabwe ambassador designate to Sweden Misihairabwi-Mushonga bids farewell to Parliament


I am not only saying this because you are on the Chair. The time that you have come in and have become the Speaker, has fundamentally changed the way business is done in the House. Most importantly, allowing some of us to come and raise issues that normally would not have been accepted in this very House. I want to celebrate you and thank you because we found a partner. I personally found a partner on the feminist issues that I strongly believed in. I remember the most important one was when you allowed me to come into this House holding a baby. Yes, I did not stay throughout but you used that as an opportunity to speak to the issues that I think are critical and important. Today, even as we speak in this old Parliament, we now have a room in which mothers who breastfeed can go and breastfeed. I am just disappointed that the women that are in this House have decided that they do not want to use a lot of that and do not want to have babies but indeed, the room is now available.

Mr. Speaker, one of the things I have held very close to my heart in my 21 years have been issues around gender equality.  I know that most of the time when we speak about them, we speak as if there are no males that have supported women and empowered them.  I have examples of men that have supported me and have seen some potential in me, have empowered me and have held my hand.  The first one when I came into this House, like I said before, was Dr. Morgan Tsvangirai; may his soul rest in peace.

I am one of the first women Mr. Speaker Sir, who chaired the now very important and always important Public Accounts Committee.  No woman had ever chaired it and I was appointed to be the Chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee through Dr. Morgan Tsvangirai.  I then was brought back to the House through Prof. Welshman Ncube.  I want to acknowledge him too because it is him who appointed me, first as the only female negotiator, but most importantly, as a Minister in the GNU that we had and I think I want to celebrate him too.

Mr. Speaker, I now celebrate His Excellency who has appointed me.  Yes, I am here not as a stranger because I still have to sign my contract to accept the appointment.  Those are the three males, not females, that have seen potential initially in a very young woman at the time that Dr. Morgan Tsvangirai appointed me, but also now as I have matured and the President has seen in me, and I know that what you are finding in the social media is questions about ‘this is a person in the opposition’.  I think the very fact that somebody can sit down and decide that I think there is potential in that particular individual and make that appointment should be celebrated.

Like I said Mr. Speaker, Parliament has evolved during the time that I have been here.  There is a time in which in this very Parliament, people who are coming from the region that I have represented were unable to speak in their language.  I am now happy that when we sit here, people can speak in Tonga, Ndebele and Shona.  I celebrate that because at the time that we came, that was not the issue.  I also want to celebrate, in particular the work ethic that has been shown by the staff members of this Parliament.  I am concerned Mr. Speaker, that their remuneration does not probably speak to the amount of work that they do, but in working with this Parliament through the able leadership of the Clerk, I have seen members of staff that have been respectful and diligent and I want to celebrate them because I carry that with me.

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.


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