Aspiring Harare West parliamentarian Joanah Mamombe, who is a former student activist with the Zimbabwe National Students Association, has described as “malicious” statements that she is politician Nelson Chamisa’s side chick.
In an exclusive interview with H-Metro, the 24-year-old hinted that her intention to stand the Harare West seat against Jessie Majome, who has been the constituency’s representative since 2008, was not engineered by anyone in the top MDC-T hierarchy.
On being Chamisa's side chick
Mamombe, who also goes by moniker ‘Mama Winnie Madikizela’ (reference to the late South Africa’s anti-apartheid icon), has been labelled violent and militant and other superlatives that she denied.
She said her being called Mama Madikizela had nothing to do with Nelson Chamisa being the president of the MDC-T.
“Those that are saying I am a side chick of (Nelson) Chamisa are being malicious (laughs). People will always bring things up. I cannot make people like me. Right now there is no need for me to speak of my marital status because that has nothing to do with my aspirations.
“Leadership has nothing to do with marital status,” she declared.
Mamombe said there is no way she will bring her marital status into the picture.
“What does that have to do with my marital status? Is there somewhere written that people should declare their marital status when they want to aspire to be somewhere?
“Zvakangofanana. If you get married you are insulted, and if you are single you also get insulted. Ikozvino Fadzayi Mahere anongotukwa asiri married,” she said.
The ex-ZINASU national gender secretary said she is open to criticism. She said those that say she was violent and militant during university days at the Chinhoyi University of Technology (CUT) are “agents of misinformation”.
“I do not think I was violent or militant. I never damaged any property while at CUT. I can only tell you that I was firm and resolute. I was dealing with a (former President) Robert Mugabe regime that was violent. I was beaten and even lost count on times I got arrested,” she said.
‘Mama Madikizela’ highlighted that if one wants to lead the way, she or he must face the brickbats that will come along her or his way.
“With that firmness I inspired many young women and girls because the reason why we have few women in position of authority is because of victimisation. In politics you must make up the game and make others strong.
“That firmness is what earned me the name Mama Winnie Madikizela, and up to today I still look up to her (though she is no more),” added Mamombe.
I respect Majome, but….
Mamombe, a trained molecular biologist, insists she is a full member of the MDC-T since 2015 in the Harare West constituency structures, currently represented by Majome. She claims she “has lived in Harare West where her father owns a property”.
The young aspirant said she respected Majome but could not stop contesting against the legislator Majome since the seat is “reserved for women, along with Mufakose and Sunningdale constituencies.
“There has been talk that my candidacy has been pushed by senior officials to contest Hon Majome. I am not being used by anyone to fight or challenge her. I was not expecting that she withdraws her candidacy.
“The constituency is reserved for women and that is why there are no men contesting the seat since 2008,” she said.
On her Facebook wall, Mamombe posted about Majome’s position: “I have received with mixed feelings the news of the withdrawal of Hon Jessie Majome from this process. I would have loved that this democratic contest is settled by the key stakeholders themselves, the residents of Harare West.
“This is a cardinal principle which many MDC members have fought for. The right to elect and be elected in a free and fair contest.”
Joanah also indicated that she sought audience with Majome on three occasions to no avail.
As Mamombe plans to make her journey a success, she has urged respect for women and an end to victimising the “rare species”.