As women strive to penetrate the male dominated field of Zimbabwean politics, Melody Chingarande of ward 5 in Kwekwe has bounced back as the only female out of the fourteen councillors in the mining town’s local authority.
Chingarande of Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) garnered 2657 votes against Tapiwa Muganhu
of ZANU PF who scored 908 votes while Ringisai Munhutu of MDC-T scooped a mere 44 votes.
Speaking to Impact stories Zimbabwe, Chingarande expressed her gratitude to the electorate for awarding her another chance to lead.
“I am happy to come back and represent ward 5 residents which had been orphaned for quite long.
“I also want to express my gratitude to the entire ward 5 residents, my family, pastors, polling agents and everyone for the psychological, moral, social and financial support they rendered, ” she said.
Chingarande bounced back for the third time to represent ward 5. She was recalled during the MDC-Alliance fiasco by Douglas Mwonzora a few days after assuming the position of deputy mayor and she was voted back as a councilor in the 2022 by-elections.
She was suspended again in 2023 by the Minister of local Government following some budget skirmishes at the town house.
Chingarande has proved to be resilient by refusing to throw in the towel despite all she went through.
As a woman in politics who has gone through the trials and tribulations that women face in the political spheres of the country, Chingarande said she is ready to stand and work in this male dominated field despite the things that may be thrown against her.
“If as women we do not stand and tell ourselves that we can do it, we will continue to be under the yoke of patriarchy. I respect men but when it comes to politics, we should stand firm as women.
“In politics, I do not look for men’s sympathy but I work just like them and engage my fellow women who have always supported me. I have managed to stand because of the support I get from fellow women and men as well because they have seen that I am capable,” she said.
Further, Chingarande said she has been groomed by different human rights and advocacy groups in the country that have contributed to the woman she has become.
“I am an affiliate to several human rights and advocacy groups in the country and through those workshops that I attended I was groomed and strengthened to become the politician that I am,” she added.
In the council ushered in after the 2018 general elections, Kwekwe City had five female councilors and two of them Angeline Kasipo and Future Titora eventually became mayors one after the other.
Meanwhile, the 2023 general elections were dominated by male candidates both in the presidential and local authorities’ candidates.
Only one female candidate contested for the Presidential seat. Seventy women contested for the national assembly seat against the prospective 637candidates.
Only 655 women candidates contested in the local authorities against 3940 men.