Mutasa North Constituency
As women continue to battle for political space where decisions are made, Chido Madiwa Tsinakwadi, is one of the 19 determined women who secured seats in the ZANU-PF primary elections. She won the fiercely contested Mutasa North Constituency seat in Manicaland Province.
Born and raised in Mutasa, 49 year old Tsinakwadi comes from a polygamous family. Her father sired 25 children from six wives. She attended Bonda Girls High and proceeded to the University of Zimbabwe, where she did a management course. Since then she has occupied various positions from being a lecturer at Mutare Polytechnic, Administration officer, Gender Principal Officer and Head of Department in Manicaland under different ministries. A mother of three, Tsinakwadi is the current Provincial Development Officer and former Director of Gender in the Ministry of Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development (MWAGCD) Manicaland Province. A holder of two Master’s Degree in Public Policy and Governance and Applied Community Change and Conservation.
Her political career was born after she realized that women were not in decision making. Speaking in an interview in Harare, Tsinakwadi said, “As I interacted with people and as I was working, I discovered that the political arena is the only platform where my voice can be heard. As I work there were certain limitations and regulations that could not allow me to say what I wanted to say but in politics you can create a conducive environment not only to yourself but to people who are disadvantaged.”
As a community development worker for the past 25 years, she had been advocating for the empowerment of women and gender justice.
Speaking about the primary elections, Tsinakwadi said, “It was not easy as I thought, because you can be threatened, harassed and it needs someone with a thick skin. My open door approach and building a relationship with the electorate, is why they made me their preferred choice.”
Tsinakwadi admits politics demands one to have a lot of energy, alert, aggressive and to be confident; most importantly to be knowledgeable to political and electoral processes. She said, “By nature I am very aggressive and this aggression can only work in politics, you cannot be aggressive when there is a piece of paper regulating you.”
Tsinakwadi explained that her appreciation of policy issues and desire to participate in politics was largely inspired by her studies in public policy processes and governance. Tsinakwadi believes that years of working with women have fully prepared her to be a parliamentary representative for her constituency. She feels that she is empowered on the basis that besides her policy qualification, she is already driving the development agenda.
“I saw myself winning, for me it was different because I am an empowered woman and have been driving the gender agenda. I am an example to other women and they could say if I could do it then they can also do it.”
She sees the general elections where she will stand against other parties as a walkover.
“I have done my work in terms of convincing the electorate, which I started working on a few years back. I believe I’m the person to facilitate development No one runs a race to lose,” says Tsinakwadi.
Her victory in the primary elections made her confident and running the race to win. “If I get into parliament, since I have been doing meetings with the electorate under a tree. The next five years after 2023, people should be coming to my house and say please come and represent us,” concluded.
WLSA Zimbabwe Communication Desk
Making the Law work for women