First Lady hails Zim, Namibia leadership
THE First Lady, Dr Grace Mugabe, yesterday hailed President Mugabe and Namibia’s founding President Dr Sam Nujoma, for taking decisive action in forming NamZim Newspapers to counter the disinformation campaign propagated by the Western media.
NamZim Newspapers is the publisher of The Southern Times, a regional weekly newspaper born out of a joint venture between Zimbabwe Newspapers (1980) Limited (Zimpapers) and New Era Publications Corporation of Namibia.
In her keynote address at the highly-subscribed oneday NamZim Newspapers Empowering and Mentoring Women in Leadership Conference in Harare, Dr Mugabe said President Mugabe and Dr Nujoma were the chief architects of the NamZim project. The company also publishes Inside Southern Africa magazine.
“In the early 2000s, the two luminaries took a decisive action to counter the disinformation campaign in the region, propagated by the Voice of America and then predominantly white-owned South African newspapers, the Mail and Guardian and The Sunday Times,” said Dr Mugabe.
She said the regional story was grossly distorted as the hostile media houses were determined to undermine the revolutionary parties of Zanu-PF, Swapo and ANC and their governments.
Dr Mugabe said white-owned media houses were bent on reversing the gains of freedom and independence.
“It was against this background that our principled and visionary leaders came up with the project. Today, we are pleased to see that NamZim publications are attracting such a wide readership,” Dr Mugabe said.
She said Africa was endowed with vast resources and growth prospects were abound for women if allowed the space to exert enormous beneficial influence over politics, economics and society in general.
The First Lady expressed concern over the continued disturbing gap between men and women who did not seem to have equal opportunities. She said women were virtually absent or poorly represented in leadership or economic decision-making, including the formulation of financial and commercial policies in most parts of Africa.
Dr Mugabe said governments and non-state actors needed to give more attention to gender mainstreaming to correct a situation where women’s productive contributions were largely ignored. She said women were still hamstrung by legal and institutional barriers in accessing land, natural resources, capital and credit facilities.
“The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that everyone has the right to participate in government activities of his or her country. But without educating women for active participation in politics, the goal for active participation in politics, the goal of achieving equality and development will remain unattainable,” said the First Lady.
The First Lady said it was disappointing that some Western nations that pride themselves as paragons of democracy and good government were yet to sign the Commission on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), which provided the basis for the realisation of equality. She, however, said Zimbabwe had made progress in pursuing legislative reforms and measures aimed at gendermainstreaming. She also commended the Zimbabwean constitution as women-friendly which stipulates a reserve 60 seats for women in Parliament elected through proportional representation.
Dr Mugabe said women would continue to push for 50/50 representation for all political party positions in pursuit of promoting equality in decision making. The First Lady urged NamZim Newspapers to provide special columns dedicated to women’s affairs in its publications.
Speaking at the same occasion, Namibian Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mrs Balbina Daes Pienaar, commended The Southern Times for becoming the leading regional newspaper providing news, feature articles, analysis, opinion pieces from an African perspective as well as marketing the region’s tourism and investment opportunities.