Margaret Dongo – Zimbabwe

She is one of the 1000 women proposed fort the Nobel Peace Price 2005.

Goes with ‘Assuming Authority‘.

She says In Zimbabwe the political field is rough and dirty, and only the tough can survive.

Margaret Dongo – Zimbabwe

Linked to our presentation of Zimbabwe on January 7, 2006.

Margaret Dongo is a Zimbabwe Parliamentarian, and ex-freedom fighter.

She left Secondary School at 15 to cross into Mozambique to join the guerrillas, adopting the chimurenga (liberation war) name of Tichaona Muhondo (”prepared to face trouble”). Of the ZANLA leader, she said: “Tongogara was principled,” she says. “He was unwavering in knowing what he was fighting for and could not easily be driven into corruption. I believed in him.” Dongo was one of the last people to see him alive. “We were 18 girls who were having a function and he came to say a few words to bless the occasion.”

At Zimbabwean independence in 1980 she worked for the ruling Zanu-PF party in a variety of roles.

In 1989 she co-founded the National Liberation War Veterans’ Association to secure the rights of marginalised war veterans. In 1990, sponsored by the war veterans, Dongo became an MP for Harare East. In Parliament she has been an advocate of democracy, human rights, and marginalised groups in Zimbabwe. Her challenges caused her removal from Parliament.

She then founded the Zimbabwe Union of Democrats, and stood for Harare South against Vivian Mwashita in 1995. The election was rigged, Dongo challenged the result in court. The subsequent case revealed serious defects in the electoral roll, including the registration of many non-resident voters, suggesting that at least 41% of the names on the roll were inaccurate. She went back to Harare South as an independent candidate in the re-run. She won, and continued her fight in parliament as a strong advocate for human rights and democracy. (Read more on wikipedia).

Margaret Dongo has been a leading opposition member in Zimbabwe for almost a decade. At the age of 15 she joined Zimbabwe’s liberation war of 1975. After the war she worked for the ruling party, ZANU (PF), as well as the private sector and the government. In 1990 she was elected to the Zimbabwean Parliament as a ZANU (PF) candidate and served on several parliamentary committees, including the Public Accounts Committee and Parliament Reform Committee. In 1995 she was expelled from ZANU (PF) for challenging the system and ran for a parliamentary seat as an independent. She lost according to official results and appealed. After establishing that Dongo lost by only 1000 votes and that many voters committed fraud, the Zimbabwe’s High Court nullified the elections. Dongo won the re-run of the elections and became the first independent in the Zimbabwean Parliament. Dongo is the co-founder of the Foundation for Democracy in Zimbabwe (FODEZI) and the Movement for Independent Electoral Candidate (MIEC). MIEC evolved into a political party known as the Zimbabwe Union of Democrats (ZUD); from 1998 Dongo has served as its president. (Read more on Harvard Uni).

Read in the Financial Gazette: Dongo a crucial factor in the political game, 2/3/2005 7:36:19 AM (GMT +2).

EDITOR — Former MP Margaret Dongo’s comeback bid is a welcome development in the politics of our country. I’m saying this because independents by their nature rarely assume national power. This fact should not be scoffed at.

There is no doubt that the current tug-of-war between the two main parties is all about the control of the instruments of governance. Very little, if any, effort is invested in finding solutions to the burning issues. The feeling that the opposition sees an escalation of the economic and social situation as a potential blow against the ruling party is growing. On the other hand, the ruling party seems to be investing all its energy in fighting off the opposition. With this scenario, there is no will by both sides to concentrate on seeking out solutions.

Exprience in the UK, Australia and India has shown that independents can be very effective at a single or limited number of issues. During her last tenure in parliament, Margaret Dongo concerntrated on the issues of corruption and helped to uncover the abuse of the War Victims Compensation Fund and the corrupt lease of government farms in the land reform programme of the early 1990s. She also helped to uncover corruption at Solomon Tawengwa’s Town House administration, which was subsequently sacked.

Such a remarkable record and the fact that Dongo, if elected, will likely only dream about the ultimate political power, is something an educated population like ours should consider seriously. Dongo would be a crucial factor in the political game. Lawrence Ncube, Harare.

She is: Co-founder – Zimbabwe Union of Democrats (1998); Member of Parliament – Government of Zimbabwe (1990 – 2000); Co-founder – National Liberation War Veterans’ Association (Zimbabwe) (1989); Co-founder – Foundation for Democracy in Zimbabwe.

She is passionate for women, despite the rough terrain she has to tread for them. Margaret Dongo was born in 1962. She grew up in Harare, Zimbabwe. She fought alongside men, to bring an end to colonial rule. After the war, she was troubled that the government neglected former combatants, especially women. She formed a war veterans association to cater for the needs of ex-fighters and helped them receive compensation from the government. In parliament she advocated for inclusion of women in decision-making positions. She fought against corruption and abuse of public funds and resources and exposed the atrocities committed by Zimbabwe’s ministers. Margaret is one of the tough.

See the report of Human Rights Watch on December 1, 2005.

links:

Contemporary African database;

UCLA;

BBC;

Le Monde diplo;

Going it alone;

African files.

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