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Outrage over MP's sexist comments

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By Violet Gonda

MABVUKU MP Timothy Mubhawu last night torched off a furious row with women's groups after claiming "it is against God's principles for men and women to be equal."

Mubhawu who was recently cleared of engineering an assault on the female Harare North MP, Trudy Stevenson, faced calls to apologise from within his MDC party.

Mabhawu made the sexist comments while contributing to a debate on the Domestic Violence Bill which seeks to impose stiffer penalties on perpetrators of domestic abuse while providing wider protection to victims.

Lucia Matibenga of the MDC Women’s Assembly described Mubhawu's comments as "outrageous" and said they would press for an apology.

Mativenga told SW Radio Africa last night: “We strongly feel that the party, in terms of protocol, has to deal decisively with the conduct of Mubhawu in parliament.”

Both Mativenga and Mubhawu are loyal to a faction of the feuding opposition party led by Morgan Tsvangirai.

Mubhawu also stated in parliament that the Bill should look at the way women dress, because “some of the dressing by women is too inviting.”

The Mabvuku MP added: "I stand here representing God Almighty. Women are not equal to men. It is a dangerous Bill and let it be known in Zimbabwe that the right, privilege and status of men is gone. I stand here alone and say this bill should not be passed in this House. It is a diabolic Bill. Our powers are being usurped in daylight in this House."

His comments have sparked widespread condemnation from women's groups. The Women's Coalition said it planned to hold a protest march against the MP's comments on Tuesday.

Political commentator Professor Stanford Mukasa said: "Mubhawu’s comments, if he indeed was correctly quoted, were completely sexist, unfair to women, uncalled for and way out of line. We should all express our great indignation on this and call upon Mubhawu to withdraw them and apologise to women.”

Women's Affairs Minister Oppah Muchinguri revealed recently that 60 PERCENT of murders in Zimbabwe were all a result of domestic violence.

The Domestic Violence Bill will widen the scope of domestic violence to include physical, sexual, emotional, psychological and economic abuse as well as stalking and harassment. The Bill will go to the committee stage on October 17th.

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