By Tendayi Madhomu
Women rights organisations and politicians have condemned MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa’s penchant for denigrating women saying this was reflective of an unrepentant male society trapped in a time warp.
Chamisa, a 40-year-old politician, has often made remarks that seemed to degrade women.
He once jokingly promised to ‘‘give’’ his 18-year-old younger sister to President Emmerson Mnangagwa if he won five percent of the vote in a free and fair election.
More recently, he triggered a storm over his recent remarks towards the newly-appointed minister of Sports, Youth and Culture Kirsty Coventry which some thought were reckless.
Commenting on the issue, a local feminist non-governmental organisation, Women in Politics Support Unit (WiPSU) said it strongly condemns hate speech against women.
“We will not stand for a single individual in particular, but we are generally saying no to the hate speech that is being directed towards women,” said WiPSU.
Legislator, Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, said Chamisa’s utterances about women, were a mere reflection of the society.
She said the rowdy behaviour in Parliament shown by MDC lawmakers on Tuesday when they started shouting and laughing when Zimbabwe Electoral Commission chairperson Justice Priscilla Chigumba arrived, showed societal rot.
“Chamisa’s utterances about women are just a reflection of what our society has become. It is not him alone, but it’s a growing trend,” she said.
“I was shocked by what happened on Tuesday, when Chigumba walked into Parliament. They shouted and laughed even when the chief justice also arrived.”
Misihairabwi-Mushonga said it is disappointing that some individuals support this unacceptable behaviour.
“It is surprising that when he (Chamisa) says what he says there are people that ululate, especially women, it worries me. It’s a culture that we have cultivated; we are unable to engage in a civil manner,” she said.
“It is a culture that we have inherited, in as much as we laughed at the way Grace Mugabe spoke during those final rallies, it is sad that journalists also celebrated the abusive language.”
Zanu PF has also accused MDC MPs who heckled Malaba and Chigumba of demeaning the august House.
In a statement yesterday, Zanu PF chief whip in the National Assembly Pupurai Togarepi said in future such actions must be met with punishment.
“As the ruling party we found the behaviour of the opposition party as demeaning the decorum and dignity of both the legislature and the judiciary,” Togarepi said.
“In future appropriate action will be taken against such members because as a party we were taken aback by the uncouth behaviour of the opposition party especially at a time when the country witnessed a free, fair and credible plebiscite”.