Bulawayo proportional representation Member of Parliament (MP), Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, has bid farewell to the Parliament of Zimbabwe after serving the August House for 21 years as a legislator.
Misihairabwi-Mushonga, currently the chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Primary and Secondary Education is set to leave for Sweden following her appointment by President Emmerson Mnangagwa as Zimbabwe’s ambassador to that country.
“I stand on a matter of privilege Mr Speaker Sir. Let me thank you very much for allowing me to stand in this House most likely and definitely for the last time,” said Misihairabwi-Mushonga.
She further said: “At the time that we came, relationships were still very difficult in the House. I remember at that time beginning to found what you now call the Women’s Caucus and agreeing within that Women’s Caucus that in spite of our political differences, we would still work together as women that will be representing the House. I will take that memory with me because at that time it was unheard of for an opposition and those that were in the ruling party to be working together.”
She recalled pushing for Parliament to introduce a room for breastfeeding mothers.
“I remember the most important one was when you allowed me to come into this House holding a baby,” she said.
“Yes, I did not stay throughout but you used that as an opportunity to speak to the issues that I think are critical and important. Today, even as we speak in this old Parliament, we now have a room in which mothers who breastfeed can go and breastfeed. I am just disappointed that the women that are in this House have decided that they do not want to use a lot of that and do not want to have babies but indeed, the room is now available.”
The former Glen Norah lawmaker and Matabeleland South proportional representation lawmaker, also paid tribute to men who have assisted her in her political career.
“Mr. Speaker, one of the things I have held very close to my heart in my 21 years have been issues around gender equality,” she said.
“I know that most of the time when we speak about them, we speak as if there are no males that have supported women and empowered them. I have examples of men that have supported me and have seen some potential in me, have empowered me and have held my hand. The first one when I came into this House, like I said before, was Dr. Morgan Tsvangirai; may his soul rest in peace. I am one of the first women Mr. Speaker Sir, who chaired the now very important and always important Public Accounts Committee. No woman had ever chaired it and I was appointed to be the Chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee through Dr. Morgan Tsvangirai. I then was brought back to the House through Prof. Welshman Ncube. I want to acknowledge him too because it is him who appointed me, first as the only female negotiator, but most importantly, as a Minister in the GNU that we had and I think I want to celebrate him too.”