By Loveness Nyathi
Transparency International Zimbabwe (TIZ) last week held a Women Anti-Corruption empowerment circle meeting in Gwabalanda, Bulawayo, to help women understand how corruption impacts them directly and how to curb it.
Speaking at the meeeting held at the Church of the Nazarene, Njabulo Moyo, TIZ’s Assistant Advocacy and Policy Officer, said women are the most affected by corruption in that “whilst they are not accessing most of the influential positions to change policies they are the most vulnerable to extortion and land corruption.”
"The key trust is that of providing an alternative safe space for women to engage and dialogue on corruption and empowerment initiatives," he said.
Stella Ndlovu, the Luveve Member of House of Assembly, urged women to stick with TIZ so that they could get knowledge on how to fight corruption.
"Matabeleland women sit back, they don't want to take the first seat; asincindezelwa siyazincindezela,” she said.
Ndlovu who is also in the parliamentary Gender Committee said she will invite Women's Bank representatives sometime in April to come and enlighten women in the Constituency on what is needed to join the bank and get loans.
She said this after learning that only four (4) out of 20 women who attended the meeting had knowledge about the Bank.
Mary Nyalumbwe (45), A participant at the meeting, said she has learnt a lot from TIZ and she now knows that corruption starts with two people and that people can engage in corruption without knowing that it is wrong.
"I have learnt a lot, I have learnt of things I wasn't even aware of. I now know of my rights as a woman," said Nyalumbwe.
Mrs Nyalumbwe also asked for the intervention of TIZ on how women can protect their business proposals and ideas from being tempered with or being stolen.
"Sivulekile ingqondo entweni ezinengi singomama sibelokukhululeka njalo sibonga loMP ngokuphendula imibuzoeminengi ephathelani lathi omama ekade isihlupha emiziniyethu," she added. (Our minds were opened to a lot of things as women. We thank the MP for answering many of our questions which bothered us in our homes)
Another participant, Nelly Dube (56) said she learnt that women were sitting “on top of many problems we don't even know they are hindering our rights.”
“We are just cohabiting with men because they don't want to get married to us,” she said. “I can't force him to marry me lawfully but now I have realised that this will catch up with me in the future if my husband happens to pass away."
Most women said corruption is everywhere from families, churches, schools and government offices and it affects them because it delays processes when those who afford to pay bribes are served first.
The meeting aimed at educating women on what corruption is and also that delaying processes and procedures fuels corruption.
Corruption exacerbates gender inequalities in society. Women experience and perceive corruption differently from men and are more vulnerable to specific types of corruption, particularly sexual extortion, due to their social, political and economic roles.
Those who attended the meeting included Bulawayo United Residents Association (BURA) representatives and Gwabalanda residents.