At the risk of ruffling the feathers of feminists and other womenists who are understood to be circulating emails of apology amongst themselves and to Regional Integration and International Cooperation Minister, Priscilla Misihariambwi-Mushonga for ‘letting her down’, I think the hoopla around the latter’s property dispute has become a circus and smacks of nothing but a publicity stunt. The media have not disappointed and have enjoyed over a week-long field day writing about this issue. Some to the extent of printing misleading headlines using words like ‘homeless’.
I recently came across an article on ZimEye (Misihairambwi-Mushonga homeless) that seemed very sympathetic to the Minister’s plight. The readers’ comments that followed gave some very interesting insights. I found one comment particularly interesting, where the writer, who calls himself Rufus, says that “publications are trying to say she (Misihairambwi) is a miniscule statistic in a much bigger problem against women, but if Misi can afford to stay in a hotel, she will pull through, and I’m sure she can afford breakfast tomorrow. Others can’t.”
While the Minister’s case plays a critically important role of highlighting the vulnerabilities of widows embroiled in inheritance disputes, women like herself are expected to be more empowered and less oriented towards seeking public pity and sympathy while playing up the victim card like that. I think to claim that the Minister is homeless, while she is no doubt paying nothing less than $50 a day for hotel accommodation is to make a mockery of really desperate women who are battered and left out in the cold following such similar property and inheritance disputes.
It is also interesting to note that the honourable Minister has seriously started blasting inheritance laws only after she herself has personally been ‘failed’ by the system.
If she can afford to stay in a hotel indefinitely, she certainly can afford to buy herself a bachelor flat or rent a full house in Harare each month for $400. Crap, I say.