Pamela Shumba, Senior Reporter
THE First Lady Amai Auxillia Mnangagwa has urged female war veterans and wives of freedom fighters to embrace Government empowerment programmes and take up leadership positions to financially empower their families.
Amai Mnangagwa met for the first time, female war veterans and wives of war veterans at Harvest House International Church in Bulawayo yesterday, to discuss the challenges they are facing and how to overcome some of them through income generating projects.
The First Lady was accompanied by the Minister of State for Bulawayo Provincial Affairs Cde Judith Ncube, war veterans secretary in the Zanu-PF Politburo Cde Douglas Mahiya, the war veterans association secretary for women’s affairs Cde Margaret Sithole and the war veteran’s chairman for Bulawayo province Cde Cephas Ncube.
“Our female war veterans here went to war at very tender ages, some as young as 14, and they had horrific experiences. It’s a sign that we have brave women among us and it’s a fact that Zimbabwean women are hard workers.
“I know most women here are longing for income generating projects for their families to survive and be progressive. I therefore want to work with them so they acquire the skills to run their own projects,” said Amai Mnangagwa.
She said the spirit of hard work and unity started with war veterans and it should continue through women’s projects for their families to survive.
“There’s a market for honey, goat meat and a lot more products in and out of the country. Let’s work together in supplying these products and make these products available.
“I’m meeting female war veterans for the first time and I want them to form groups and work together in uplifting their lives and their families. I’m here to support them,” said the First Lady.
She acknowledged the many challenges that female war veterans were facing.
She urged them to take advantage of ministries that were mandated to support war veterans and make sure they get the support they need.
On leadership positions, the First Lady said she was not happy with the small number of women in Parliament and influential positions.
“Let’s work for the party and be involved in the party structures. It’s important for more women to hold top positions for the upliftment of the rest of the women in the country.
“Let’s not be afraid. Let’s fight for the positions through hard work and resilience.
“For women who have been to war there’s nothing impossible. We’ve seen it all and we’ve been tried and tested,” she said.
Amai Mnangagwa called on the women to join the rest of the country and SADC countries in the fight for the removal of sanctions on October 25. “As we commend Sadc countries for declaring October 25, 2019 as a solidarity day against illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe, let’s all join in the fight. It doesn’t matter which church or party you belong to.
“It’s our duty to fight these sanctions because the effects are mostly affecting us women and our children,” said Amai Mnangagwa.
She called for a day to be set aside to recognise war veterans as they were an important group of people in society, who fought for the freedom that is enjoyed by everyone in the country.
Amai Mnangagwa said female war veterans with inheritance issues should also take advantage of lawyers provided by the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs to represent them for free.
The female war veterans told Amai Mnangagwa that their allowances had been eroded by inflation, making it difficult for them to make ends meet.
They called for the provision of residential stands, land, mining claims and equipment specifically for them. They thanked the First Lady for availing the platform to discuss their challenges and said they yearned for better lives.
Politburo and Central Committee members, MPs, war veterans, Government officials and churches attended the meeting. Officials from the Women’s Bank also attended and discussed the loan products provided by the bank for the benefit of women. — @pamelashumba1