Miss World Zimbabwe Trust chairperson Mary Chiwenga bans Miss Zimbabwe from having boyfriend.

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).
Miss World Zimbabwe Trust chairperson Mary Chiwenga bans Miss Zimbabwe from having boyfriend.
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.

“This directive indicates that Miss Zim Trust does not trust them to handle themselves in a way that doesn’t bring scandal and this is an insult to the young ladies. It is also patronising and authoritarian in that it treats them like kids.
But Chiwenga defended the decision.

“This is meant to avoid incidences that happened last year which saw some of the winners being involved in relationship scandals,” she said.

Still, other commentators said denying the girls their right to have relationships was tantamount to stripping them of the choice to make decisions about their bodies.

“What makes it more hideous is the fact that these young women were not privy to this information prior to entering the pageant,” said one Harare woman who did not want to be named.

“What does it mean for those that are presently in relationships?”

The Miss Zimbabwe pageant has never been far from controversy since Chiwenga took over.
Last year the pageant made history when the throne was exchanged between three models in one year.

The first Miss Zimbabwe 2014, Thabiso Phiri, stepped down in August under unclear circumstances to be replaced by Catherine Makaya. The latter was dethroned over allegation of indiscipline with Tendai Hunda taking over the throne.

This year, the finals were held at Mermaids pool in Shamva, 100 km from the Harare, a move Chiwenga said was meant to attract the right people who would not jeer or boo at the girls.

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