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Opposition Politician's Gender Comments Stir Zimbabwean Women's March

More than 200 members of Zimbabwe's Women’s Coalition comprising 35 women’s rights organizations demonstrated in Harare over comments made by an opposition member of parliament in floor debate on a new law on domestic violence.

The women demanded an appology from Harare parliamentarian Timothy Mubawu for saying it was “against God’s principles” for women to be treated equally with men.

Protesters bearing placards denouncing Mubawu marched from Rezende bus station to the Harvest House headquarters of the Movement for Democratic Change faction of Morgan Tsvangirai, to which Mubawu belongs. Tsvangirai assured them that his party supports womens rights and the legislation cracking down on domestic violence.

The protesters then continued their march to the Zimbabwean parliament.

Mubawu’s comments offended a range of women’s groups, including the MDC’s own Womens’ Assembly, which demanded he apologize publicly. Assembly Chairwoman Lucia Matibenga said she considered the comments particularly outrageous because the leadership of the Tsvangirai faction has made clear it supports the bill.

Mubawu, contacted, declined to comment, saying he will issue a statement Monday.

Chief Whip Innocent Gonese of the Tsvangirai faction told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that one politician’s comments did not reflect policy.

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