Female councillor rises above all odds
21 Nov 2013

Female councillor rises above all odds

In 2010 we had set up a Ward Consultative Forum (WCF)* for Councillor Mugadziwa of ward 19 was set in 2010, two women from neighbouring ward 12 voluntarily joined the WCF participating in our workshops as well as community meetings that the WCF members were conducting independently. They were so eager to learn and collected some IEC material from WIPSU offices whenever one of them had a chance to go to Harare. Among these two daring women we meet Councilor Roswita Chinyaure,now 42 year old, she is a fearless, ambitious and outspoken woman, who soldiered on despite the resistance she faced from the traditional leadership who still uphold patriarchal values of male leadership.

Councillor Chinyaure contested and won the 2013 elections with a resounding victory over her male counterpart and became the first female councillor in ward 12. As a result we, in 2013, under the Empowerment programme we established a (WCF) in Masvingo for Councilor Chinyaure (ward 12).

As an empowered woman who knew it was her constitutional right to contest, Councillor Chinyaure mobilized women from the WCF, she used to participate with in meetings to help her spread the word about her candidature and she got full support from women from her own ward. She encouraged women to be focused and resist intimidation from men. She taught them about the importance of women leadership and became very popular. She won the 2013 elections by over 2000 votes difference over her male counterpart.

From the time she was elected, Councilor Chinyaure has been working towards getting buy in of village heads and headmen to support women’s participation in leadership, setting herself as an example. She is determined to prove that women can also be good leaders and even better ones.

When we visited her ward to setup a WCF, she had already done the ground work to get support from men and women as a result the preliminary meeting was well attended by men, among them village heads. She also highlighted her plans to groom and encourage young women to participate in community development initiatives so that they are well informed about their community. Being the first woman councillor in her ward, Councillor Chinyaure intends to, empower other women whilst taking bigger challenges in future.

‘I don’t think it will be of any good if I remain on this position for long, it means I’m not progressing and also other women from this ward are not, there are a lot of positions at a higher level that I would want to take’.

* WCF is an instrumental tool in promoting women’s participation in leadership at local level. The ‘women only’ space has not only been a platform for discussing community development but also a learning forum for aspiring women leaders.

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