Freedom fighter to Parliament member, Margaret Dongo. Ms. Dongo is the president of the Zimbabwe Union of Democrats (ZUD) and she was a candidate for Parliament in Zimbabwe in March 2005. She shares her experiences with the electoral process and the implications for gender in politics in Zimbabwe.
The presentation is aimed at sharing the experience of the 2005 Zimbabwe elections and the implications of gender relative to participation in governance. The success of the democratization process of any political system depends on a number of key factors. The most important of these factors include the constitutional provisions or legislation and operations, rule of law foundations, local and national governance, institutional provisions and operations, and the extent to which institutions are open to external influence and public scrutiny, or conversely, the extent to which they are insulated from the public. Also a factor is the extent to which institutions are transparent and accountable to the public, the nature of the prevailing political culture, and the extent to which national resources – including institutions and personnel, are controlled or managed vis-a-vis the various stake holders; i.e., NGOs (civic society groups), political organizations, and other interested parties in the body politic.
What are the challenges of the 2005 Zimbabwe elections? What are the implications of a two thirds majority by Zimbabwe Africa National Union Patriotic Front (Zanu Pf)? Were the South African Development Community (SADC) guidelines on elections implemented? The presentation will address whether Zimbabwe political parties adhered to the SADC declaration on gender which calls for a thirty per cent representation of women in decision making positions including parliament. From a personal perspective, Ms. Dongo will discuss the gender characteristics that contribute to governance reform and those personal characteristics necessary, though often challenged, that foster political leadership contributions.
Margaret Dongo holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Harvard University. She is currently the President of the Zimbabwe Union of Democrats (ZUD) and is a former member and leader of the Opposition in the Parliament of Zimbabwe, Harare. She ran for Parliament in the March elections after having served from 1990-2000.
Ms. Dongo joined the liberation struggle in 1975 and crossed the border through Spungabeira and stayed at Chibawabawa until 1976 when she left to receive military training at Chimoio Training Camp. She worked primarily as a medical assistant and nurse, receiving and treating patients injured on the battlefields. In 1980 she worked at ZANU PF Headquarters as Secretary for Women’s Affairs. From 1983-89 she was employed by the Ministry for State for Security in the President’s Department. She became one of the founding members of the Zimbabwe War Veterans Association, an organization representing the former freedom fighters in Zimbabwe. She entered the political arena in 1990 and was elected Member of Parliament for Harare East Constituency. In August 1995 Ms. Dongo became the first person in Zimbabwe to single-handedly challenge an election in the High Court. She won her case and became the only Independent Member of Parliament.
Co-sponsored by the UCLA Women’s Studies Program and the UCLA African Studies Center
Date: Tuesday, April 19, 2005
Time: 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM
10383 Bunche Hall (10th floor)
Los Angeles, CA 90095
Cost: Free and open to the public; parking is available in lot 3 for $7.
James S. Coleman African Studies Center
Sponsor(s): African Studies Center, Department of Gender Studies