Chirumhanzu Legislator Barbra Rwodzi has said for the country’s development there is need for inclusivity.
Rwodzi is the only female from Midlands who was directly elected to parliament in the July 30 harmonised elections.
The province has 28 constituencies.
Leading a predominantly agricultural constituency the Environmental Management Board Member (EMA) and entrepreneur said she is cognizant of the arduous journey ahead in leading the constituency.
“Challenges anticipated are around myth about our physical, psychological abilities abound, which often negatively impact women’s’ progression in the political field.
“The political arena is a men’s world and culturally women in Africa operates under men’s muscular wings,” she said.
The businesswoman is anticipating hiccups in engaging with male counterpart both in politics and other areas of work but has remained unfazed.
“That‘s why I think inclusion is significant since it’s about creating a culture in which diversity is understood , encouraged , valued and leveraged in ways that both men and women thrive.
“I am aware and cognitive of the fact that when a woman excels at her job, both male and female coworkers and society will remark that she may be accomplishing a lot but is not well liked by her peers.
“Some will feel that she is probably also too aggressive (which I mean when I need to deliver results) not a team player , a bit political, can’t be trusted and difficult at least those are the things that have been said about me and almost every senior woman I know.
“Most women are never told about this downside of achievement,” she said.
She explains the challenges of operating in a patriarchy.
“When a woman acts forcefully or competitively she is deviating from the expected behavior,” said Rwodzi.
On how she is going to execute the task of representing Chirumhanzu, the legislator promised to be focused on developing the area.
“I intend to keep focused and deliver to the best of my ability what we promised the people of Chirumhanzu who have entrusted me and my party. While I work aligned with our Zanu PF’s party objectives and our government’s goals to the country,” the Zanu PF legislator said.
A believer in meritocracy, Rwodzi said positions must not be dished to women because of their gender but because of ability and merit.
She explains, “We always wanted to be invited to the table as women.
“However I don’t think its good enough to just elect a woman because she is a woman, it has to be about the value that person brings to the table,” she said.
The legislator said she is committed to improve livelihoods especially for rural women.
“I wish to bring value to the girl child in my constituency and all the girls in the country at large and being a tool to drive women economic emancipation for the rural women in and around my constituency.
“I want to share and commit myself to ensuring to be a part of those who strive to changing livelihoods of women in rural Zimbabwe,” she said.
Turning to Chirumhanzu constituency provision of clean water to all Rwodzi said is her priority.
“Amongst our key priorities is to ensure everyone in the constituency drinks clean water,” she said before turning to health.
She presented a sordid of hardships being experienced by rural women to access nearest health facilities.
In Chirumhanzu, Rwodzi said women are travelling for at least 10 km to access the nearest health facility.
An anomaly she promised to address by pushing for infrastructural development and involving donors to assist.
“On healthcare infrastructure I am going to push for the completion of clinics that are under construction by our Rural District Council and to search for donors who can help easy access to the health facilities for the old and pregnant women who are currently walking 8 to 10 km to give birth,” she said.
Infrastructural development Rwodzi said is also inclusive of the education sector.
“Secondary education infrastructure is of essence in my constituency whereby 52% of secondary school students are working an average of 11 km to and from school every day,” she said.
She indicated that the refurbishment of the constituency’s two main roads is a top priority.
“Our infrastructure in the constituency is a priority with 2 main roads being strategic to opening the economic floodgates within the constituency once the roads are fixed and accessible to all different vehicles,” she said.
Agriculture as the bedrock of Chirumhanzu, Rwodzi said is going to be given undivided attention.
“We are an agricultural constituency with a bit of mining recently discovered.
“Our focus to agriculture activities in the constituency is key to the economic emancipation,” she said.
She indicated that repair of existing irrigation facilities and acquiring more irrigation equipment is a paramount objective.
The legislator also added that the commercializing of community gardens is always key and ensuring adequate water supply to such projects.
“I will also be focusing on educating and encouraging our people to concentrate on agricultural activities that have economic value to their welfare as opposed to that of household consumption only,” she said.
The issue of job creation for the youths Rwodzi said is a serious cause for concern.
“Job creation for our youths gives me sleepless nights. It is our goal that has to be achieved and our community development and agriculture will drive our jobs,” she said.
She also called on government to consider the accommodation woes of civil servants in the constituency.
“We are concerned about the civil servants’ working environment and their living conditions in the constituency,” she said.
The solution to the problem the legislator proffered is, “that we push for low cost housing projects to improve their families living conditions and also advocacy for the improvement of their working environment as most of the facilities in different working areas are now an eyesore.”
She concluded by pledging to foster good working relations with the local authority.
“Working efficiently and maintaining good relations that are accompanied with transparency and anti corruption with our council is imperative and will help us deliver our objectives,” she said.
About the author:
William Milasi is a reporter at Midlands Observer.The opinion or views expressed on this platform are those of the contributing Authors or organisation . They do not necessarily reflect the views and policies or the position of Gender and Media Connect.