We then have a traditional Leader Chief Fortune Charumbira, President of The National Chiefs Council of Zimbabwe, strong Zanu PF member facing an allegation of sexual misconduct from within his extended family, a 27 year old married niece. The matter was reported to the Zimbabwe Republic Police , ZRP, at Masvingo but there is yet to be an arrest of the Chief. Chief Charumbira is also President of The Pan African Parliament, PAP. This is the legislative body of the Afrian Union. What action has the African Union taken. What action has the EC taken about this since they partly fund and resource PAP.We note the great role and work the news paper Mail & Guardian has played in investigating gender issues in the African Union and PAP itself. The African Unions Agenda 2063 is a Gender Equality central pillar for the African Union. Yet when reports of sexual harassment and gender discrimination from its own ranks are made the AU and PAP reaction is to cover up. In 2018 there were 37 staff who wrote an open letter to The African Unions Commissions Chair Mousa Faki Mahamat complaining of Gender Apartheid in the institution, including pervasive sexual harassment and gender discrimination. No action was taken until The Mail & Guardian published more. An internal enquiry was established under Bineta Diop, AU Special envoy for women, peace and security. The enquiry interviewed 88 staff that produced a damning conclusion for the Organisation. It said that employees confirmed almost unanimously that sexual harassment and sexual assault occurred including young women who are exploited for sex in exchange for jobs. In the enquiry 44 cases of unfair Labour practices were found, fraud and nepotism.
We state categorically that this is not an attempt to discredit the African Union Team of Election Observers in the Zimbabwe Elections by no means at all. No aspersions on that note! However, it is only right and proper to highlight any possible conflict of interests that may be there. In this case it is The PAP President Chief Charumbira. A Zimbabwean. A Zanu PF strong supporter. With a charge of sexual misconduct levelled against him in Zimbabwe. Representing PAP and the African Union who have not been proactive about matters of gender within. Coming to observe a Zimbabwean Election after which they will report as to whether the Zimbabwean 2023 Elections were Free and Fair, even though millions of women were denied the vote. These are the kind of questions that arise if an organisation has not resolved gender issues in a timely transparent manner. Questions that then place the integrity of the Organisation in jeopardy needlessly. The African Continent already has a lot on its plate without it inflicting a wound upon itself of this kind. For the Highest Civil Servant Office on the African Continent must always be protected. Should an incumbent in this Office face such allegations that are then taken to the police, they should immediately be suspended from the Office, pending the completion of the police investigations. This is the very least we would have expected. With regret this has not happened! We await to see what action The AU and PAP will take on this matter which will not go away and with great regret, so tarnishing the image of the AU and PAP to the peoples of Africa detriment and on this occasion especially women.
- We hear allegations of Zanu PF Councillors, Members of Parliament and Ministers having extramarital affairs “small houses“, where some have fathered many children and not supported those children nor the mothers of those children. The abject poverty traps women in these vulnerable positions, which amounts to an assault against women.
- The strain upon families in Zimbabwe continues due to the separation of one of the parents having to go abroad, to fend for the family in the Zimbabwean diaspora. As a result, divorce rates are high and family break downs are high due to this prolonged separations. In such situations, women are profoundly impacted upon. Not to mention the impact upon the children and with regret the family and extended family unit. The extended family unit has been able to support the African family for centuries, however during this period it finds itself under great strain.
- The issue of gender, women, girls, the girl child is formidable. With due respect to SADC, African Union, Commonwealth of Nations, EC, United Nations and international Organisations, we are looking for formidable actions against the Zanu PF government. We are not looking for reiterations of policies that we all know but rather action. As the suffrages chanted “Deeds Not Words“.
If Zanu PF retains power once again through rigging and force of arms we are asking the Southern African regional body SADC not to recognise that government, let alone to give it legitimacy. Other African regional bodies like ECOWAS in West Africa have been very proactive with member states that are a problem in their region who bring instability. ECOWAS has implemented total border closures on member States, closed their air space, no fly zones, cut off electricity supplies, cut off fuel supplies, imposed trade bans, cut off diplomatic relations, frozen assets, produced arrest warrants for individuals. In Southern Africa, SADC has yet to take such robust action. Hard edged diplomacy! Most dangerously for SADC there is now Muslim Extremism in the northern part of Mozambique. Extremism is an ideology that rapidly spreads and can set a whole region alight. Completely independent of governments. Extremism has its own financial structures for sustaining an armed struggle. If SADC continues not to stand up for democracy and listen to ordinary Zimbabweans , ordinary Zimbabweans will find extremism attractive. Once extremism takes hold it is very difficult to stop.
- If Zanu PF retains power once again through rigging and use of armed force we are asking the Southern African Regional body, SADC not to rubber stamp these 2023 elections as being “free and fair“, as has happened with regret in the past elections for 35 years to the profound, profound, profound disadvantage of the Zimbabwean people.
- If Zanu PF retains power once again through rigging and use of armed force, we are asking all the other Election Observer Teams not to rubber stamp the elections as being “free and fair“.
- If Zanu PF retains power once again through rigging and use of armed force we are asking The African Union not to rubber stamp the election as being “free and fair“. For the African Union, for the first time to listen to the suffering ordinary people of Zimbabwe for whom it as an institution was created for. The African Union was not created to just support Ruling Parties all over the African Continent but rather, it was created to support Africans all over the African Continent.
- If Zanu PF retains power once again through rigging and use of arms, we are asking the African Union, Commonwealth, EC, United Nations, individual Countries not to recognise it or give it legitimacy in any form.
- If Zanu PF retains power once again through rigging and use of arms, we are asking all of the Election Observer Teams ( SADC, African Union, Commonwealth, United Nations, ) to speak, document and recognise that the rigging of an election, possibly 80% of it, occurs “before the election day“. For that evidence and paper trail is already there in volumes in Zimbabwe. A parable of this is of an Election Observer Team that attends a football match between the Reds and Blues. The Reds scored six goals whilst the Blues scored nothing. The Election Observer Team watching the game said yes the Reds won the game. Yet before the match the Blues were instructed by the referee, that they cannot have a goal keeper, cannot have a centre forward, and cannot have both wings. And the referee said he was officially playing for the Reds. So before the game had even begun the Blues were already 5 players short and the Reds had an extra player on the pitch i.e. the referee. How credible was this football match and what of the Reds claim to have won the match. For all of the “match fixing“ for this game occurred before the match.