By Maxwell Sibanda
The resignation of reigning Miss Zimbabwe, Thabiso Phiri, a 22-year-old University of Zimbabwe law student has become the latest blow to Miss Zimbabwe Trust chairperson, Mary Chiwenga’s ambitions to smoothly run the pageant.
For Mary, the wife of General Constantine Chiwenga it never rains but pours as last year, the Miss Zimbabwe Trust failed to hold the contest and she claimed that they had failed to find suitable girls that meet the standards.
And when the pageant finally took place this year some thought it was too elitist as ordinary people could not afford to pay the $300 ticket, hence watching it on national television.
At the finals attended by high profile government officials and the army’s top brass Phiri was crowned as Miss Zimbabwe only to throw a bombshell when she announced her resignation barely a month into her reign.
Miss Zimbabwe Trust was already preparing Phiri for the Miss World finals set for the UK in November when she threw the towel.
After Phiri resigned Chiwenga in her humble wisdom decided to call for a re-run of the pageant, interestingly involving only four beauties who happened to be among the top eight in the last finals.
The Trust’s chairperson had to re-run the pageant against the logic from several quarters which suggested that Phiri’s first runner-up Letwin Chinomona be an automatic replacement since she had impressed the judges then.
Chiwenga could not have all that declaring that “according to the rules and regulations of Miss Zimbabwe Trust, which conform to the standards and practices of Miss World, a vacancy in the Miss Zimbabwe title is not filled through automatic succession by the next princess in line but is filled by extending the opportunity to all the remaining contestants who wish to compete.”
But Chiwenga was to receive an egg on her face as the first runner-up Chinomona and second runner-up Tendai Hunda refused to contest for the title saying they were content with the positions they had attained in the original pageant.
“We are happy with what we have. We celebrated our victory on July 14 and we are happy with our prizes,” said Hunda who together with Chinomona attended the pageant’s re-run as observers.
And the re-run itself was quite a circus as Catherine Makaya (who we assume impressed the judges) failed to answer simple questions during the question session but was mysteriously crowned as the new Miss Zimbabwe 2014 ahead of Maita Kainga, Melissa Chikerema and Rairo Gunguwo.
Imagine that when Makaya was asked to name some of the biggest national parks in Zimbabwe, she was completely lost and mentioned Snake Park, Lion and Cheetah Park and the Eldorado Farm.
Worse still her unforgiveable sin was to struggle to give the abbreviation of ZimAsset.
The judges who comprised Information, Media and Broadcasting Services deputy minister Supa Mandiwanzira, Cristina Grabowski, Vivek Solanki, Adam Molai and Tinashe Tanyanyiwa shockingly crowned what turned out to be the weakest link among the four girls as Miss Zimbabwe 2014.
Miss Zimbabwe Trust’s re-run was indeed something else out of this world as the contesting four models went through the ramp, showcasing various wears in ethnic, swim and evening wear.
And emotions ran high as the dethroned Phiri was overwhelmed with emotion during the crowning moment, breaking down as she handed over the tiara to the new beauty queen.
Chiwenga was inconsolable during the two-hour crowning ceremony sensationally saying she was devastated by Phiri’s misfortunes as she was an orphan.
“I promised Thabiso’s brother the night she won that I would take care of her as a mother, sister and friend,” Chiwenga was quoted by local media.
While Phiri is rumoured to have stepped down because her ex-boyfriend, Prosper Tafadzwa Bvunzawabaya had leaked her nude pictures, there are some quarters who believe this is a classic case of how the girl-child is always disempowered because of her sexuality or gender.
They believe instead of stripping and punishing Phiri, the crime if proved to be true, should rest solely with the questionable ex-boyfriend who should be charged with invasion of privacy or crimes that are applicable as this might prevent such happenings in the future.
Analysts point to the Censorship and Entertainment Control Act [Chapter 10:04] which in Section 13 prohibits production and publication of undesirable pictures that are indecent or obscene or offensive or harmful to public morals. Section 2 on the interpretation of the Censorship and entertainments control Act (Chapter 10:04) defines publication to mean making the “offending” material “available to the public.”
While there are rules on morals for reigning queens, the question remains whether sending photos of yourself to your lover diminishes your morals.
“Which standard of morals will you be using in this instance? I would suppose that strict Zimbabwean morals and culture would not approve of all models, because walking on stage to the eyes of the public in a bikini may fail the standard.
“Losing your virginity before marriage may also fall short of being a good Zimbabwean girl of morals. Now, by your strict adherence to the law, maybe there should even be virginity tests for these models,” equipped a reader. Daily News