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Mudehwe Declares Zero Tolerance on Teenage Pregnancies

The MDC-T (Khuphe) Proportional Representation (PR) parliamentary candidate for Manicaland, Lynnette Mudehwe says when she becomes a legislator she will fight for the economic empowerment of women and will advocate for contraception for all sexually active teenagers.

“There is need to establish centres of empowering women and young girls out of school. There should also be a zero tolerance of teenage pregnancies which is why every sexually active child must be put on contraception. I know some parents will be against this but once a child is sexually active it is better that the child be encouraged to use protection to prevent pregnancy and also to use protection against sexually transmitted diseases.

“Teenage pregnancies affect girls’ ability to continue with their education and are also a burden on parents who will end up looking after the baby and having to provide for all its needs,” reasoned Mudehwe.

She said she would also campaign for the change of attitude in nursing staff to ensure that they dispense contraception to sexually active teenagers without making disapproving statements. She said medical staff should not impede young sexually active people’s access to contraception by exhibiting prejudice or being judgemental.

Mudehwe added that she would also lobby for “genuine free maternal healthcare because most pregnant women go to municipal clinics where they are still required to pay. They can only get free care if they develop complications and get referred to government hospitals where they don’t pay.”

She pointed out that what government terms free maternal healthcare was not really free because the pregnant women would still be asked to buy drugs, drips or blood. She said that women who gave birth to premature babies would end up paying for nursing their babies in hospital until the babies had reached a weight considered safe to be discharged from hospital. She added that she would campaign for the removal of all these hidden costs that rendered free maternal care a fallacy.

She spoke passionately about the need for women to be allocated land and for the government and banks to support the lending of money to women so they could start businesses or agricultural cooperatives.

“The cotton farms and the tobacco farms in this country are worked by women and yet it is the men who get the money and squander it. There would be no corruption in Zimbabwe if women were the ones economically empowered because women spend money on family and on investments while men spend it on alcohol or girlfriends,” she said.

The aspiring PR candidate is also the MDC-T (Khupe) secretary for the women’s assembly. She joined the main MDC-T led by the late Morgan Tsvangirai in 2004 and was its national women’s coordinator from 2008-2010. She is a former spokesperson of the Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU). She is a founder member and coordinator of the National Activists Alliance.

Mudehwe said her contribution as a legislator would include:

  1. Lobbying government to allocate more land and resources to women.
  2. Campaigning for a policy on easy access of contraception for sexually active teenagers.
  3. Get government to fund sanitaryware and diaper industry to benefit the needy as well as to feed the market and create more revenue streams for women to go into other businesses.
  4. Establishing women’s cooperatives.
  5. Lobbying for cheap loans for women.

About the author:

This article was written by  journalist, blogger and published author, Grace Mutandwa. It was first published on Zimbabwe’s Election portal, VoteWatch263. She can be contacted at: grace@wesaygrace.net