By the Editorial Board|
Now Daily Editorial|
During Zimbabwe’s 1970s civil war, Robert Mugabe’s Zanla guerilla army kidnapped thousands of young girls and women, Boko Haram-style. The girls were turned into sex slaves, weapons couriers, domestic slaves, spies and combatants. At the end of the war in 1980, there was no visible programme of rehabilitation for any of these women and girls. Many of them have since died from the effects of trauma, sexually transmitted infections and general abuse. A few survivors, such as former vice president Joice Mujuru, higher education minister Oppah Muchinguri, Manicaland provincial minister Mandy Chimene and Zanu PF politburo member Monica Mutsvangwa and others have been promoted to high office, but still bear the scars. This often manifests itself in the form of violent, irrational behaviour, anti-social attitudes, corruption, an inability to maintain family relationships and deep-rooted inferiority complexes often disguised as bravado.
Mugabe himself does not hide his contempt for women, even the few who hold top positions in his government. Asked why he had not appointed a meaningful number of women to his cabinet in 2013, Mugabe claimed, atrociously, that he could not find any that were educated enough or qualified politically. The truth, however, is that he could not find any that were willing to lift their skirts for him like the ones he found during the war, who maintain his infamous harem. His current wife Grace Mugabe was acquired in circumstances of rape when he forced her to have sex with him when she was his married secretary and his own wife Sally Hayfron was alive.
In 2014, Mugabe raised the ire of women’s rights defenders in Zimbabwe when he complained that then vice president Joice Mujuru, “a woman for that matter”, could aspire to succeed him as president.
On Thursday, Mugabe made it plain that women could never be equal to men because of biology – they bear children. That is the most stupid reason ever advanced to keep women in bondage. To Mugabe, women belong to the bedroom. That is when they are not twerking to his utter delight at the airport as he leaves the country for his regular trips to squander his stolen billions.
For women all over Africa, Mugabe’s election on Friday to chair the African Union is a major setback. Its a black day for Africa.
Unless you stand up, his bad ideas will soon pervade the continent and Zimbabwe-style militias will soon be all over, raping you and murdering those you love. Ask Zimbabweans.
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