By Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda*
My heart is reaching out to my sisters in Cote d'Ivoire. I had hoped that in this new decade, we continue to build on a positive narrative and image of a great continent!
Yet another, negative story of Africa, elections and chaos is repeating itself before our eyes in Cote d'Ivoire, with the usual impacts on women and children. Massive displacement, abuse, loss of livelihoods and loss of life. As the world celebrates the new year, the women of Cote d'Ivoire are praying, crying and calling for a peaceful end to the political chaos and stalemate.
This is yet another case of how global and regional resolutions and commitments to women, peace and security like UN Resolution 1325 demands practical application with immediacy. ECOWAS, we understand has a mediation team; the African Union has just appointed the Kenya Prime Minister Raila Odinga as special Envoy, and there is no mention of the role, space and voice of women. Does the AU plan include resourcing women's leadership in this effort as expected by article 4 of the Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality?
Does the UN effort include the spirit of the commitments pronounced at the recent 10th anniversary of the resolution 1325. Are therefore any serious efforts to support, enable and facilitate the voices of women in the country, who are clear about their expectations on politics and governance of their country? Is this possibly the right moment for UN Women to position its role, with status and voice in the on-going political response and negotiations?
Its painful , each year to see the tears and blood of African women as part of the narrative of building democracy. Its time to double the efforts and continue seeking a new narrative of hope and possibilities. Its time to see new numbers, not only of death, displacement and suffering of women and girls; but more numbers of women well funded, protected and resourced at the frontline of finding solutions. This is the power of citizens, of mothers of a nation and those who will be at the centre of rebuilding communities.
Lets all stand on solidarity and supportive of the women in Cote d'Ivoire especially at this moment' as they seek rule of law, human rights protection, peace, justice and a return to normalcy..
*A member of the United Nations Civil Society Advisory Group on Women, Peace and Security; General Secretary of the World YWCA, and Chairperson, Rozaria Memorial Trust.