Sexual harassment, lack of resources, driving Zim Women out of politics; Kwekwe Mayor

By Prisca Manyiwa-Masuku

Drawing from personal experience in her long political career, outgoing Kwekwe Mayor, Councillor Future Titora says Zimbabwean women are driven out of politics due to lack of financial resources, sexual harassment, and lack of support from other women.

“Women want to get involved in politics but the problem is most women do not have money to compete with men. Men bribe women with money to get votes but most women do not have the financial muscle as their male counterparts.

“Sexual harassment is another elephant in the room that women face. Usually, when you seek to secure those big positions in politics, men ask for sexual favours for you to rise the political ladder.

Mayor Titora also bemoaned a mentality amoung women that she referred to as the ‘pull her down syndrome’.

“Women constitute a very big number in Zimbabwe, but the problem is, we do not support each other as women. We put men at the forefront and degrade our fellow women who have the zeal to lead,” said Titora.

Having been Kwekwe city council mayor flanked by women directors, Titora said women are better leaders than men.

“Women perform better than men in leadership positions. Kwekwe city council is under women’s leadership. From myself as the mayor, the town clerk is a woman, the director of Finance is a woman, and the director of health is also a woman and we have managed to achieve great things as women in Kwekwe,” she said.

Councillor Titora recounted some of her achievements.

“An infectious diseases hospital was built in Mbizo under my authority as a mayor, we also established Mbizo 16 clinic and a council banking hall was built in Mbizo 15 among other service delivery issues that I managed to solve for Kwekwe residents. “

Titora took over the mayoral position following the expulsion of the then Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) Mayor Angeline Kasipo by vindictive political turncoat and MDC-T leader Douglas Mwonzora.

As the clock ticks towards the end of her second term in council, Titora revealed her intentions to retire from active politics.

“I am retiring from active politics because I have completed two terms in council so I want to give this opportunity to a young person to take over. I have done my part in serving the community and I am glad to pave the way for others as I am graduating to become an advisor to the young and upcoming politicians,” said Titora.

Titora rendered a piece of advice to young politicians who might face similar challenges to those that she faced in her struggle for leadership as a woman in politics.

“I overcame the challenges I faced through the support I received from the communities I served. I love the people around me, those who vote me into power.

“I respect them and I am easily accessible to them. As a leader one needs to be there for the people who vote for them so that when challenges come they can carry you across to victory,” she said.

Meanwhile, the struggle for women to sail through the tumulous Zimbabwean political terrain is still on, since there is still very poor representation of women vying for political leadership in the upcoming general elections.

There are no presidential women candidates in the upcoming elections.

According to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, there are only 70 women aspiring for the National Assembly seats which shows a significant decline in women participation compared to the 2018 general elections where there were 637 prospective candidates.

In local authorities, there are only 1648 women candidates against 3940 men candidates.

In a statement recently, the Women’s Academy for Leadership and Political Excellence (WALPE) made some recommendations to political parties, the government and other responsible authorities in that influence participation of women in politics.

“WALPE recommends that the existence of the Proportional Representation (PR) seats should not be used by political parties to exclude women from the elected National Assembly constituency seats.

“Political parties live up to the provisions of the Constitution which demand that they uphold gender equality.

The Zimbabwean government must adhere to the Constitution and the SADC Protocol on
Gender and Development’s stipulations for 50-50 representation by putting in place
measures that ensure political parties honour commitments to gender inclusion and parity.

“Independent Commissions that support democracy must redouble efforts to make sure
political parties adhere to gender parity in elections,” read part of the recommendations.

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