Women in Bulawayo disappointed by First-lady's failure to meet them twice

By Loveness Nyathi and Lungile Moyo

MATABELELAND South and Bulawayo women who expected to meet the first Lady, Mrs Auxillia Mnangagwa to discuss inheritance issues in Matabeleland South and Bulawayo, were last week frustrated as she failed to turn up for the two meetings.

The first lady was expected to meet chief’s wives on 4 March but sent a representative on her behalf.
After a call had been made for them to meet the first lady, women arrived early only for the delayed meeting to start at 1500 hours without the first lady.

The organisers of the meeting did not give the women any reason for the non-presence of the first lady.

Some of the women who had turned up for the meeting left in frustration after being told that the first lady would be represented by the Deputy Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, Jeniffer Mhlanga.

Amakhosikazi Media reporters spoke to a number of women who expressed their displeasure on the delay of the meeting and the non-appearance of the First lady as advertised.

“Next time they should not lie to us about her coming so that they get good attendance,” a woman who refused to be named fumed. “Sending someone on her behalf didn’t make sense because we wanted her to meet and understand Bulawayo women. Our grievances are not similar to grievances in other provinces.”

The main concern that some women raised was that they came from far places and were using their own limited funds to get to the Central Business District. They said they were not given any food or refreshments, even as a token of appreciation.

Anita Siwela (64), from Mthunzini suburb in uMguza, expressed her disappointment as she was initially lost and went to White City Stadium with some women from her area because “we were misinformed on the venue.”

She said they had to board a second Kombi to town and only to find out that Mai Mnangagwa is not present.

Sekai Ngandu complained about the delays in terms of starting the programme.

“We came as early as 1230 hours for the program as we were told would start at 1330 hours but we were only addressed at 1500 hours,” said Ngandu. “When they arrived we had lost concentration, we were tired of waiting that long.”

A woman from Pumula who refused to be named did not mince her words.

“That delay wasn't a delay,” she said. “It was all done on purpose. They were just trying to hide from questions by the people (over the unavailability of the first lady). Even the postponement from 9 to 2pm was planned to confuse people and reduce the number.

“In all honest, the meeting wasn't properly planned. They should have said the truth from the beginning. They knew very well that the First Lady was out of the country. Why did they give us information that is not true. They want to have the attention of many women on the basis of misinformation. Some of us are very sensitive. We were there to talk to the first lady. Next time if called again, I might think otherwise.”

The meeting did not end according to the planning of the organisers as the women, many of them elderly and some with children boycotted the question and answer session because they were tired, hungry and it was already very late.