By Lungile Moyo
The first lady Mrs Auxilia Mnangagwa has urged Chiefs wives to encourage women in their communities to take up development initiatives as well as protect and groom the girl child in their communities.
Speaking through a speech read on her behalf by the Deputy Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, Jennifer Mhlanga, at a meeting for Chiefs wives held in Bulawayo on 4 March, the first lady said she desired to interface with chiefs’ wives to tackle issues that are affecting women and girls in their walks of life and to also discuss development issues in the communities.
“The first lady amai Auxillia Mnangagwa is willing to sacrifice the time she has to work with all women from all sorts of life in order to deal with challenges that are affecting them” said Mhlanga who also advised traditional leaders, mothers and older women to take an active part in dealing with issues of abuse especially physical, psychological and sexual abuse which largely affect women and girls.
“As traditional leaders you need to be the eyes and mouth of your communities in order to deal with issues which distress women and girls”, she said.
“Some women and young girls especially in rural areas may face serious trouble of being sexually abused by their male counterparts’, be relatives or people who are employed to help at home and be afraid to speak out thus traditional leaders should always be available to people so that they get assistance.” She added.
The first lady’s address called on chiefs’ wives to avail themselves so as to give a helping hand to victims of abuse report cases as well as bring victimisers to book.
Members present were also advised to teach girl children about the importance of education.
Chiefs wives were encouraged to look for potential development projects in their communities and get in touch with organisations which give financial assistance and advice in order to develop their communities.
Through her speech, the first lady said traditional leaders were duty-bound to complement government efforts to improve lives of people in rural communities.
Nomusa Dlodlo the wife to chief Sivalo from ward 11 Nkayi Matabeleland North said the first lady’s program would help them as women to be able to enlighten and assist other women who are facing challenges.
“Today’s program is going to be beneftial to many women and young girls, and l believe that as chief’s wives we need to take a stand and help other women in every way we can”, said Dlodlo.
I also learnt about the importance of the mother to child relationship, that as mothers we need to create a good relationship with our girl children so as to make sure that they are free from abuse and other issue affecting them, she said.
She also said that from here onward, with the help of other women she would champion community involvement programs which she said would positively impact her community.
Other issues that were talked about where cleanliness in communities, Mhlanga urged traditional leaders to implement clean up campaign programs to avoid the spread of diseases. Communities were urged to build toilets and move away from open defecation.
This program came into existence in November 2019 when chiefs asked the first lady to have a meeting with their wives and include them in her works. So far the first lady has managed to meet with chiefs’ wives from Manicaland, Mashonaland, Matabeleland North, South and the Midlands