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Manyara Irene Muyenziwa: Defying patriarchy to chart Zimbabwe’s turbulent political terrain

Manyara Irene Muyenziwa, the president of FORUS

Manyara Irene Muyenziwa, the leader of the Freedom of Rights Under Sovereign (FORUS) party, joins the political terrain when the environment is tough, particularly for the opposition and let alone for a woman.


Muyenziwa has spent over a decade living and working in the United Kingdom where she is the Chief Executive Officer of Rhodsac Community. She has a thriving career in health and philanthropy and her organisation has spread its tentacles to Africa, Asia, and the Arab world, making her a successful businesswoman.


She has pooled resources to form the Manyara Irene Muyenziwa (MIM) Foundation that seeks to address poverty in society by spearheading income-generating projects. The organisation is running self-help projects like poultry and horticulture in Seke District, Mashonaland East Province.


“Joining the political fray as a woman in Zimbabwe is not a walk along the garden path. While women constitute the majority of the population in the country, their representation in the political terrain is a far cry from the 50:50 target on gender parity in politics. When President Mnangagwa announced a new Cabinet in 2018, he increased the number of women in Cabinet to six out of 20, a rise from four. That was a good move but it shows that we have a long way to go to achieve a gender balance in top decision-making positions,” Muyenziwa said.


Muyenziwa said she is aware of the insurmountable task that lies ahead of her as she tries to work her way towards attaining the top job as the Number 1 Citizen.


“The way to the top is thorny across the political divide. I am alive to the challenges that women like Magret Dongo, Joyce Mujuru, Thokozani Khupe, and Linda Masarira, just to mention a few, go through in their quest to attain political leadership.


“Besides the deep-seated patriarchy, there are also challenges to do with funding but I think I have set an economic base where I believe economically empowering the communities is the first step towards empowering citizens – particularly women and the youths, to be independent so that they will not be influenced by poverty to make wrong political choices,” the brave, energetic politician told Spiked Online Media.


The maverick politician says her party, FORUS, will ensure development and improved quality of life through balancing social, economic, and environmental reflections.


“Our breakthrough in the turbulent political terrain will be our focus on fostering human resources development, social development, inclusive development, and sustainable development. Under FORUS, we will not thrive on politics of hate. Male chauvinism has no space in our party. Political appointments will be based on merit and commitment to hard work for the betterment of the citizenry,” Muyenziwa said.


The politician abhors political violence. She took a dig at male politicians who block the rise of women in politics and said FORUS will entrench a new culture of gender equality and parity in its structures to be constituted countrywide in the near future.


About the author

Byron Adonis Mutingwende