BREAKING: Zimbabwe activists in SA a divided lot
JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – A conference held by South African-based Zimbabwean pro-opposition organisations to pledge solidarity with violent protestors in Zimbabwe degenerated into a farce as panelists and some in the audience nearly came into blows.
The event held in Braamfontein, Johannesburg on Friday characterized a harsh exchange of words, highlighting the divisions rocking the activists based in the neighbouring country.
In an incident that marred the conference organized by the Zimbabwe Exiles Forum (ZEF), Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) South Africa chapter and the Zimbabwe Communist Group, gender activist Janet Munakamwe was involved in a heated exchange of words with ZEF head and panelist, Gabriel Shumba.
In front of a perplexed local and international media, all hell broke loose when Zimbabwean journalist-cum-activist Sibanengi Dube, the moderator, opened the floor for questions.
Munakamwe, instead of asking questions, raised concern at the composition of the panel and demanded to make a presentation.
“I will not take kindly the fact that you don’t want to give me the floor, simply because I’m a woman,” she charged.
“This gathering is full of men and yet you are purporting to be representing women. Why is it you don’t want me to speak?”
She claimed she deserved an opportunity to pose questions as women suffered most from the economic challenges in Zimbabwe.
“Women bear the brunt of the hardships. This includes those who cross the border day and night. I’m going to give myself the floor because you don’t want me to,” charged Munakamwe, to the chagrin of Shumba.
“No one has denied the floor to speak, but you were not part of the speakers at the press conference. For your own information we invited women organisations and students, but they asked to be excused. Anyway, you can go ahead and speak,” said a visibly agitated Shumba.
The event was a near flop as other invited guests as former Congress of +South African Trade Unions (COSATU) General Secretary, Zwelinzima Vavi, failed to attend.
– CAJ News
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