By Staff Reporter | Nehanda Politics |
After serving 21 years as a legislator, Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga on Tuesday bid an emotional farewell following her appointment as Ambassador-designate to Sweden last week.
In her partying words, the Proportional Representation MP said: “I do not want to cry, but yes, I will miss all of you because you have made me become who I am.”
Misihairabwi-Mushonga said: “Let me thank you very much for allowing me to stand in this House most likely and definitely for the last time. I thought I could just say a few words before I leave this home that I have called home for the past 21 years. It would have been unfair if I had just disappeared.”
She urged the Parliament’s Standing Rules and Orders to provide for a farewell speech when a member is leaving.
Misihairabwi-Mushonga started working as a legislator in her late 20s. She helped bring about the Sexual Offences Act.
“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,” she said.
Misihairabwi-Mushonga also honored Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda saying:
“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.
“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.”
Misihairabwi- Mushonga has been in the Primary and Secondary Education Parliamentary Portfolio Committee and was the first woman to chair the important Public Accounts Committee. She also acknowledged the role of late founding MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai played in her political life.
“No woman had ever chaired it and I was appointed to be the Chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee through Dr. Morgan Tsvangirai (the late MDC President). 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.”
She thanked President Emmerson Mnangagwa for the appointment: “l 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.”
Misihairabwi-Mushonga said she was leaving Parliament a happy woman as women have been provided for in the Constitutional Amendment (No. 2) where at least 50 young women in 2023 will be sitting in the House and urged the government to resolve educational problems facing the country.
“What still tugs me is education. I carry with me a prayer that the government of Zimbabwe finds the space in which to engage with the teachers because I think the teachers hold the key to this country. So I hope and pray that as I walk out of this House, teachers and their children will be one of the priorities that we have here.”
Mudenda in return praised Misihairabwi-Mushonga describing her as one of “the most dynamic chairpersons that Parliament has seen.
He said she was “very fearless in putting across what her committee has seen or found out. She was very courageous in terms of conviction.
“We will make sure that in your memory, we shall embellish it. Once you have signed your contract and your credentials are received in Sweden, do not forget the certain shortfalls that this Parliament has in the area of capacity building, and necessary equipment, particularly as we move to the new Parliament building.
“I, on behalf of this Chamber, the National Assembly, wish you well and God speed in terms of good health and success in the new assignment that you are going to sign for very soon. Have a safe journey to Sweden. Hopefully, one of our delegations will come there and you will be able to receive them accordingly.
“When I travelled with you to Kuwait and found out how our young women were abused, basically as slave workers, you stood by me as the leader of the delegation and said we shall not go back to Zimbabwe without these youngsters who want to go back because they are tired of this slave drudgery in Kuwait,” Mudenda said. Nehanda Radio