Home » Legal and Judicial Affairs » Grace Blamed for Kombi Rank Short Dress Outrage

OPPOSITION politicians and activists have hit out at Grace Mugabe’s criticism of former vice president Joice Mujuru for wearing a mini-skirt saying her remarks encourage outrages such as last week’s incident where a group of thugs attacked a woman for supposedly wearing a short dress.

While on a nationwide campaign to press for the ouster of Mujuru, a demand her husband later obliged, Grace Mugabe claimed that she had a video recording of the then vice president dressed “inappropriately in a mini skirt” and trying to seduce a man she did not identify.

Last week a group of touts attacked and stripped a young woman, accusing her of “inappropriate” dressing at a kombi rank in Harare in an incident that sparked widespread outrage and highlighted problems of street harassment in the country.

Politicians and women’s rights activists condemned that incident and demanded that police round up the thugs and bring them to book.

“What kind of men did we give birth to who treat women in such a manner, the police must act now and not tomorrow,” said opposition legislator for Bulawayo East Thabitha Khumalo.

Some activists and politicians said Grace Mugabe’s reckless remarks help to create an ugly environment for women and girls in the country.

“We kept quite when the Amai Mugabe was joining the political field castigating former VP Mujuru for wearing a mini-skirt.

” … and (Grace’s) message was clearly that anyone wearing a mini skirt is a prostitute now these are the consequences,” said a board member for the Women’s Coalition who did not want to be named.

Reckless Grace

She added: “We really need to be honest with ourselves kwete kurova imbwa takaviga mupinyi Amai Mugabe vakarasika.”

MDC Renewal Team Spokesperson Jacob Mafume said any attempt – whether by touts or the highest offices in the land – to define and harass women by how they dress must be condemned in the gest terms.

“When the First Lady tries to control even the dressing of a whole vice president it is no wonder that youths seem to believe there is a new dress code in Zimbabwe,” said Mafume.

“The stigmatisation of women in politics and in their daily lives is a problem in Zimbabwe.”

MDC-T spokesman Obert Gutu said Grace Mugabe must not arrogate herself the right to prescribe what women should wear.

“Grace Mugabe has absolutely no basis to prescribe how other women should dress,” he said.

“The fact of the matter is that she is not a fashionista and, as such, she is not well-known for being a decent and trendy dresser herself.

“What Joyce Mujuru decides to wear in the privacy of her own bedroom is her own business that shouldn’t be subject to public scrutiny.”

Problem did not start with Grace

However, women’s rights activist and academic, Chiedza Simbo, said campaigns aimed at trying to prescribe how women should dress did not start in 2014

Simbo said it would be a “terrible lie” to try and blame last week’s outrageous incident on Grace Mugabe’s remarks.

“The stripping of women by men is a notorious act that has been done since time immemorial and not only in Zimbabwe but Africa as large,” she said.

“The practice of stripping women is an act of discrimination and intolerance by some notorious men who believe that they have a right to the bodies of women and can undress them as and when they deem necessary.

“The argument by some men is that when a woman dresses in a short skirt they arouse men. It is very naiumlve of some men, particularly kombi touts, to believe that women dress in short skirts in order to catch their attention.

“Which woman in the 21st century would dress up to catch the eye of a kombi driver or tout? Besides, which woman would want a man with an untamed sexual appetite who habitually undresses and touches other women in public?

“It is very unfortunate that the young lady in question became an easy target to unleash ignorance by these kombi drivers. The police must arrest these hooligans who believe that they are above the law and send a g message to men that women have a right to dress in a manner they deem fit.”

Police said they have identified the individuals who were involved in the incident.

“We want to thank the public for their assistance in this case and we are hoping to finalise the matter anytime if the woman comes forward,” said police spokesman Paul Nyathi.

Source : New Zimbabwe

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