RIGHTS groups have condemned the announcement by Miss World Zimbabwe Trust chairperson, Mary Chiwenga, that the top five ladies in the Miss World Zimbabwe pageant are not allowed to have boyfriends for the next twelve months.
“No boyfriends for all winners when they finished their reign then they are free to date, we don’t want trouble makers,” Mary Chiwenga confirmed in an interview with NewZimbabwe.com.
Those affected by the love sanction are Miss World Zimbabwe Emily Kachote, Annie-Grace Mutumbu (1st Princess), Chengetai Marcia Kanonhuwa (2nd Princess), Anissah Ndiriwani (Miss Talent) and Vanessa Mutemasango (Miss Personality).
But rights activists told NewZimbabwe.com that the restriction imposed by the wife of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) commander were not only archaic and preposterous but also a clear contravention of one’s fundamental rights and freedoms.
Chiwenga and pageant organisers, they said, needed to come clean on whether were running a religious convent and seeking to control the young women’s bodies and choices.
Edinah Masanga, Chief Executive Officer at Women Empowerment Foundation Scribes Africa, said the girls have the right to be loved and supported by those close to their hearts.
“The decision to have a boyfriend is a personal one and should not be dictated by the pageant,” said Masanga.
“In my view, if this (restriction) has been imposed on the girls, it takes us back to the controversies surrounding beauty pageants which have, for long, have been criticised for disempowering girls.
“I hope that this decision will be reviewed immediately and the girls offered deals which are in their best interests.”
‘Decision is authoritarian’
Social commentator Wisdom Katungu said it’s grossly unfair for the organisers to put a condition that infringes on the participants’ personal lives.
“This is an infringement on the participants’ rights; in fact that condition has no moral, legal or social justification.
“I have not heard of any pageant that comes with such archaic conditions. I believe that condition should be resisted.”
Gender activist, Tino Hondo, said the ladies were grown-ups and perfectly within their right to date, love and be loved.
“It’s control of these girls’ love lives and sexuality as a means to ensure the honour of the pageant; it’s uncommon. Families too, and religions for years tried to impose the same sanctions on women.-NewZimbabwe