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Zimbabwe envoy spits fire on women’s rights

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Zimbabwe’s High Commissioner to Malawi and Dean of the Diplomatic Corps, Thandiwe Dumbutshena, on Saturday warned men against abusing girls and women by hiding behind what she termed “the bush of tradition”.

Dumbutshena said it is important that African women are not hindered by any social archaic barriers of tradition.

She said this in an interview with The Daily Times during the African Union (AU) Day celebrations that took place in Lilongwe. The celebrations were held under the theme: “2016, African Union Year of Human Rights with specific focus on the Rights of Women in Africa”.

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The event saw different counties exhibiting articles exploring their identities and refugees from Dzaleka Camp displaying their mastery in different artistic endeavours.

Dumbutshena said African women must soar up now more than ever before having been marginalised for a long time.

“I want to make it a statement to the man, that this business of hiding behind the bush of tradition and dragging little girls into what they should not experience should be abandoned and hammered out by justice,” said a charged Dumbutshena.

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She added: “And this business of reducing the number of women’s opportunities through premature pregnancies should get severe sentences.”

On his part, AU Regional Delegate to Southern Africa, Augustine Ngomo, said the AU Day, which actually falls on September 9, is particularly significant because it allows member states to re-examine their progress in different spheres of life.

“For instance, through the pavilions mounted here, Malawians and other Africans have appreciated the beauty of the continent and that there is a refugee camp nearby [at Dzaleka] where people try to survive through their talent,” said Ngomo.

Asked what he makes of the conflicts that continue ravaging some African countries, the AU official said conflicts are part of society but there should be civilised means of resolving them.

He said even in so-called advanced democracies like the United States of America (USA) and the United Kingdom (UK) there are conflicts “because that is the nature of society”.

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