Dr Mnangagwa honoured as Ambassador for Women’s Caucus . . . Female legislators seek her guidance, mentorship

02 Jun, 2024 - 00:06 0 Views
Dr Mnangagwa honoured as Ambassador for Women’s Caucus  . . . Female legislators seek her guidance, mentorship

The Sunday Mail

Tendai Rupapa

Senior Reporter

THEME ZIMBABWE reigned supreme on Friday when the First Lady, Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa, hosted a first-of-its-kind dinner at State House for female legislators from across the political divide, who sought to bestow on her an ambassadorial role for the Zimbabwe Women’s Parliamentary Caucus in recognition of her support and dedication to the cause of women in Zimbabwe.

Since the attainment of independence in 1980, legislators from across the country’s political divide had neither spoken with one voice nor sat down to break bread bound by a spirit of sisterly nationhood.

The female legislators, inspired by Dr Mnangagwa’s all-embracing nature and hard work, wish to be mentored and guided by her in various sectors.

They said because of her unique experience and foresight, she was the right candidate to be their ambassador, who would represent them on issues affecting them and all other women in general.

First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa greets CCC interim secretary-general and leader of opposition in Parliament Senator Sengezo Tshabangu during a dinner she hosted for female legislators from all political parties at State House on Friday night

Dr Mnangagwa has a passion for the upliftment and empowerment of women and girls.

Therefore, the women concurred that with the First Lady’s unique perspective, she will help them to communicate effectively to the nation about the importance of having women in public office.

Even on etiquette, the women want to be guided by Amai Mnangagwa on the social norms and expectations around how to behave in various interactions in society.

It was a marvel watching the legislators walking arm in arm at the dinner and dancing to music together despite their different political persuasions.

First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa joins female legislators from all political parties in song and dance during a dinner she hosted for them at State House on Friday night

The women said there was need to put political differences aside as they celebrated shared commitment to moulding an ideal woman and building a better Zimbabwe.

The event was a manifestation of the parliamentarians’ desire to meet with the mother of the nation.

They expressed their collective wish to be hosted by the First Lady and tap from her wisdom as women in leadership positions for the betterment of their communities and the nation at large.

They all admire how Amai Mnangagwa is hands-on.

First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa interacts with CCC legislator for Mufakose Susan Matsunga during a dinner she hosted for female legislators from all political parties at State House on Friday night

Vice President Dr Constantino Chiwenga, who was the guest of honour, described the dinner as a milestone event and a first of its kind in the history of Zimbabwe.

“This momentous occasion is testament of the ingenuity of Her Excellency, the First Lady, and serves to remind us all that Zimbabwe’s interests transcend our differences in political persuasions and membership. Thank you, First Lady, for helping us cross boundaries,” he said.

The dinner, the Vice President said, afforded the nation the opportunity to reflect on the centrality of parliamentarians to the effectual realisation not just of the national agenda, but also the African dream.

“We are alive to your indispensable role in politics, social cohesion, nation-building, education and overall development. Therefore, in our pursuit of attaining Vision 2030, parliamentarians stand as agents of transformative change for an equitable society and more inclusive future,” he said.

First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa joins female legislators from all political parties in song and dance after she was appointed to the ambassadorial role of the Zimbabwe Women’s Parliamentary Caucus at a dinner she hosted for them at State House on Friday night. – Pictures: John Manzongo

He expressed appreciation of the lawmakers for their unwavering dedication and hard work in service to the people.

“Your contributions to the legislative process, your oversight of Government programmes and projects and your advocacy for the needs of your respective constituencies remain instrumental in shaping the policies and decisions that impact the lives of all Zimbabweans. Finally, your tireless efforts have been crucial in driving national prosperity and fostering an environment of progress and development. Under the visionary leadership of the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, His Excellency, Cde Dr Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa, Government has embarked on an accelerated drive to attain an empowered and prosperous upper middle-income society by 2030, if not earlier. This vision is dependent on unity of purpose and focused attention. It is through a collaborative spirit such as we witness today that we can continue to make strides towards economic development and to transform the livelihoods of our people.”

VP Chiwenga said as guests gathered for the banquet, they needed to reflect on the dreams and aspirations that have guided the nation throughout its history.

“The vision of an empowered and prosperous upper middle-income society by 2030, the National Development Strategy 1 and Africa’s Agenda 2063 are not mere policy documents; they are blueprints for our collective future. The dreams of our founding fathers of African liberation and Zimbabwe’s own liberation struggle inspired the armed struggle for our independence. We must honour their sacrifices by working together for the continued political independence and survival of our people.

“Zimbabwe should never be a colony again. We, collectively as indigenous people of Zimbabwe, in our diversity, are the masters of our own destiny,” he said.

A patriotic opposition, Vice President Chiwenga said, must be a constructive opposition.

“The notion that ‘If I do not hold executive power, then the nation must fail’ is akin to sinking the ship because you are not the captain. Parliament is, therefore, a sacred space for nation-building where diverse voices come together to shape the destiny of Zimbabwe. There is nothing wrong with political ambition and aspiration as long as it is rooted in patriotism and a genuine desire for the betterment of our country and our people. Let us set aside personal agendas and commit to the greater good of Zimbabwe,” he added.

“Let us move away from unnecessary polarisation and partisan politics and embrace the unity of purpose that inspired and gave birth to the Zimbabwe we have today. The Zimbabwe we desire is built on diversity of views yet unity of purpose on the ideal that we must all be prepared to sacrifice for. Zimbabwe is a unitary sovereign State for the benefit of every Zimbabwean; leaving no one and no place behind.

“Together, let us build a Zimbabwe that embraces unity, progress and prosperity for all its citizens. May our actions today pave the way for a brighter tomorrow for generations to come.”

He said the President and himself expect to see renewed zeal that puts Zimbabwe, its people and its progress ahead of partisan politics and selfish agendas in parliamentary discourse.

The First Lady described the dinner as a rare show of political maturity.

“This was rare in the years gone by. We are saying what we know, where we came from. It was rare to be under one roof like this. I thank you girls for the thought and when it is easy today, it is easy for all of us. As mothers like yourselves, we are the shapers of homes. Where were you? What were you doing and where did the families get lost? Today, we need to thank God because, if the time was not ripe, it wasn’t. Today it is now ripe. It was not practical for opposition parties to walk together and sit together, dine together and be one family. To God be the glory,” the First Lady said to applause.

“It is with great pleasure that I welcome you tonight to this dinner, which is a manifestation of your desire to be with me here. This invitation follows the meeting I had with fellow parliamentarians, who expressed your collective wish to meet with me and have me host you here, saAmai. I saw it fit that you be here as we discuss and dine together. Tonight, we gather not as members of different political parties, but as Zimbabweans united by a common purpose: the development and prosperity of our beloved nation. It is an honour to host you all here, regardless of your political affiliation, because tonight we celebrate our shared commitment to building a better Zimbabwe we all want. As we sit together at this elegant dinner event, let us remember that our political differences do not define us. We are here because we believe in Zimbabwe, a land of promise, resilience and boundless potential,” she said.

Zimbabwe’s history, the First Lady said, is rich with stories of struggle, sacrifice and triumph.

From the days of the liberation struggle to the present, she said, Zimbabweans have stood shoulder to shoulder, fighting for justice, equality and progress.

“Our ancestors dreamed of a united nation, and it is our responsibility to honour their legacy. Tonight, I want to acknowledge the remarkable work that you are all doing in ensuring that peace prevails in our beloved Zimbabwe.

“I am impressed by the growth that you have displayed in knowing when it is time to unite. Angel of Hope Foundation strives to reach everyone regardless of political affiliation. Besides, you and me are all the same. Our nationality is the same and we breathe the same. So let us put our common cause, which is the development of the country, on the forefront as the people we want to serve are the same. There is only one Zimbabwe and it is big enough for all of us,” she said.

Amai Mnangagwa said her dream was to see a united family of Zimbabwe working together to build the country and restore it to its former glory.

“We have made strides as a people and we have now displayed political maturity. Ladies and gentlemen, we are not here merely to enjoy a sumptuous meal; we are here to reaffirm our shared vision. Our common goal is clear — to uplift our nation, eradicate poverty and create opportunities for all. As parliamentarians, you hold a sacred trust of the people who elected you. Let us honour that trust by working together, transcending party lines and focusing on solutions. Whether we represent urban or rural constituencies, whether we wear red, green, white or black, our duty remains the same — to legislate, advocate and implement policies that improve the lives of ordinary Zimbabweans,” she added.

Beyond politics, Dr Mnangagwa said, there lies a deeper truth — the power of human connections.

“As we break bread together, let us recognise that we are more alike than different. We share the same dreams for our children, the same hopes for a prosperous future and the same love for our beautiful land. In this room, we find lawyers, farmers, doctors, teachers, seasoned politicians and fresh faces. Each one of you brings unique perspectives and together we form a mosaic of Zimbabwean aspirations. Let us listen to one another, learn from each other and build bridges that span party lines. As I conclude, I invited you to savour the flavours of our diverse cuisine, engage in meaningful conversations and forge connections that outlast the evening. Let us remember that our political affiliations are but a small part of who we are. Our true identity lies in our shared commitment to Zimbabwe’s progress.

“May this dinner be a symbol of unity, hope and possibility. Our political dialogue serves as a means to an end, not an end itself,” she said to applause.

Citizens Coalition for Change Senator Nonhlahla Mlotshwa could not hide her joy and extended a special invitation to the First Lady to be an ambassador for the Zimbabwe Women’s Parliamentary Caucus.

“It is an honour to be hosted in this esteemed residence. We are thrilled to be here tonight and to celebrate this momentous occasion. On behalf of the women’s caucus, I would like to extend our sincerest appreciation to all those who worked hard and tirelessly to make this collaboration a reality. Your vision and dedication have brought us to this historic moment and we are grateful for all your efforts. As we gather here tonight, I would like to extend a special invitation to Her Excellency, the First Lady, to accept the mantle of ambassadorship for the women’s caucus of Parliament,” she said.

“Your unique experience and foresight as a distinguished politician and a mother make you the ideal candidate to lead this important initiative. Your Excellency, you have worn many hats throughout your career, from being a member of parliament to being the mother of the nation. You have successfully juggled multiple responsibilities. That is why we are all here tonight to learn from your secrets of success and to benefit from your mentorship and guidance. We are particularly excited about the prospect of having you as our ambassador because we believe that your unique perspective will help us to communicate effectively to the nation about the importance of having women in public office. We also recognise that there is a need to create a conducive environment in Zimbabwe that allows women to participate in public office without being met with stigma, stereotyping and bullying. We believe that your leadership will be instrumental in achieving this goal and we are grateful for your kind offer to host this dinner. Your hospitality has made us feel like royalty tonight. We are truly appreciative of your generosity. Once again, thank you, Your Excellency, for hosting us at this magnificent State House. Thank you for your willingness to be our ambassador and for your commitment to empowering women. We look forward to working with you and learning from your wisdom. Siyabonga,” she said.

Defence Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri praised the Second Republic for uplifting the status of women and crafting policies that pave the way for their advancement.

“We can all attest that the advent of the Second Republic under the astute leadership of His Excellency, President Dr ED Mnangagwa, is associated with unprecedented upliftment and empowerment of women as espoused in Section 17 of our 2013 Constitution, which calls upon all Government and public institutions to make sure that there is gender balance within their confines,” she said.

“Today we rejoice each other’s success. We are celebrating being members of Parliament and this was non-existent. We thank our leaders who had the vision and appreciate the role played by women during the liberation struggle, where we fought side by side with men, and we are thankful that we are now represented at the highest decision-making levels of all the three pillars of Government.”

She thanked the First Lady for uniting the female legislators.

Senate President Mabel Chinomona described the First Lady as a great mentor.

“Dr Mnangagwa has been a steadfast mentor of the Zimbabwe Women’s Parliamentary Caucus (ZWPC), continuously championing our efforts and initiatives. As you may know, the objectives of the ZWPC, as outlined in its constitution, among many, are to advocate legislation on gender mainstreaming; facilitate the effective implementation of the National Gender Policy; provide a forum for discussing matters affecting women in the country regionally and internationally across the political divide; develop and establish norms and standards that promote the effective participation of women in Parliament and other decision-making bodies; and facilitate networking with other organisations and institutions within and outside the country and activities aimed at promoting gender equality and participation.

“Dr Mnangagwa’s commitment to empowering women within our society has significantly strengthened our resolve and capacity to make meaningful change. As some of you may recall, the First Lady hosted the Malawi women’s caucus last year when the esteemed delegation visited Zimbabwe on an exchange programme on transformative leadership in February 2023. She extended a warm reception and hospitality and a sumptuous lunch for the delegation at this very same venue. Beyond her role in supporting our caucus, Dr Mnangagwa’s profound impact is evident through her extraordinary works of charity with the Angel of Hope Foundation. Her initiatives in the health sector have improved and saved countless lives. Her promotion of entrepreneurship has opened doors for many aspiring businesswomen and her dedication to preserving and celebrating our rich cultural heritage has united and inspired communities across Zimbabwe,” she said.

ZANU PF Chief Whip Cde Pupurai Togarepi praised the First Lady for her non-selective approach, which sees her embracing everyone.

He said each time the First Lady appeared on television, all female MPs would tell him that they wanted to learn so many things from the First Lady.

The event was well-attended and brought together Dr Chiwenga’s wife, Colonel Miniyothabo Chiwenga, Speaker of the National Assembly Advocate Jacob Mudenda, Cabinet ministers, Ministers of State and leaders of the opposition in Parliament.

Also present were chairperson of the women’s caucus Maybe Mbowa, Permanent Secretaries and other senior Government officials.

Entertainment was provided by Suluman Chimbetu, rhumba outfit Bana Des As, Intotal band, EXQ, the Karingezuva traditional outfit and the Police Band.



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