News / Africa

Zimbabwean Women Urged to Withhold Sex Unless Men Vote

Women listen to political address by the head of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change in Harare, May, 19, 2013.
Women listen to political address by the head of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change in Harare, May, 19, 2013.
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— In past elections, it has been mainly Zimbabwe’s women who have voted. That may change in the African country’s elections expected at the end of this month.  A female government minister is calling on women to withhold sex from their partners unless they register to vote.

Leading this campaign to ensure Zimbabwean men vote in the country’s elections, expected on July 31, is Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, the country’s minister of regional integration and international cooperation.    

She said Zimbabwean women must deny their partners sex until they register to vote.

“You are basically saying to your partners, we are all suffering the same way.  We need to make a difference.  I am not asking you to go to war.  I am asking you to go and vote," said Misihairabwi-Mushonga. "You have a responsibility.  For years, we have seen that the majority of people that go to register to vote have been women.  And this call is to say, we as women can't be taking this struggle alone.  We need to take our men on board.  And if we can't bring them on board by talking to them nicely, we will deny them something that we know they certainly would want. ”

Misihairabwi-Mushonga is from a small faction of the Movement for Democratic Change party (MDC), one of the three parties fielding a presidential candidate to lock horns with perennial rivals President Robert Mugabe of the ZANU-PF party and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai of the MDC.

Mugabe set July 31 as the date Zimbabwe holds national elections.  But that date has been challenged.  A ruling on that is expected this week.

The legal battle aside, Zimbabwe’s finance minister said treasury does not have enough money to conduct the election.

The voting, if it takes place, would like end the power sharing government of Mugabe and Tsvangirai formed in 2009 following a disputed election.

Currently, there is voter registration going on and Minister Misihairabwi-Mushonga thinks Zimbabwean men will participate if they are starved for sex.

“Sex strike is not a new concept.  It has been used to stop wars," she said. "It has been used to ask for developmental things in the areas and has been very successful.  So this is not a revolutionary concept that I am coming up with.  It is a concept that has been use the world over.”

The world will find out if playing the "sex card" gets the men of Zimbabwe to the polls.

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