Linda Masarira Biography: Early Life | Education | Activism | Political Career | Presidential Ambitions
Early Life and Education
Linda Tsungirirai Masarira, a Zimbabwean politician and human rights activist, was born on October 3, 1982, in Harare. Growing up in a challenging environment after losing her mother at a young age, she attended Marlborough High School and Chipindura High School. Subsequently, she worked as a train woman for the National Railways of Zimbabwe, moving to different towns such as Bulawayo, Hwange, and Mutare.
Linda Masarira Activism and Politics
In 2015, Masarira became involved in activism by joining the Zimbabwe Activists Alliance (ZAA) and the Tajamuka/Sesjikile Campaign movement. These organizations organized protests and petitions against human rights violations by the government of Zimbabwe under Robert Mugabe. Later, she founded the Zimbabwe Women in Politics Alliance (ZWPA), advocating for democracy, equality, gender balance, women and girl child rights, and economic and political freedom for marginalized groups.
Throughout her activism, Linda faced numerous challenges and arrests. Notable incidents include her arrest for allegedly insulting Mugabe in May 2015, her involvement in a nationwide shutdown protest in July 2016, and her leadership in occupying Africa Unity Square in August 2016. She spent over 80 days in Chikurubi Maximum Prison, where she faced mistreatment and solitary confinement. Linda also mobilized fellow women prisoners to protest against poor conditions. During her incarceration, she received support from various local and international human rights organizations.
In 2017, she joined the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and became the spokesperson for the MDC-T faction led by Thokozani Khupe in 2018. However, she was later fired from MDC-T for wearing Zanu-PF regalia at home, leading her to form her own political party, LEAD (Labour, Economists and African Democrats). She aimed to provide an alternative vision for Zimbabwe based on social democracy, economic justice, and pan-Africanism. In July 2019, she won the third vice presidency of the Convergence PanAfricaine.
Linda Masarira Presidential Aspirations
In June 2023, Linda Masarira declared her presidential ambitions and announced her challenge against President Emmerson Mnangagwa in the upcoming presidential election. Despite facing financial challenges in filing her nomination, she demonstrated confidence in her ability to lead Zimbabwe and bring about positive change. However, she encountered obstacles in filing her nomination and had to appeal to the Electoral Court.
Linda Masarira is a mother of five children, a widow, and a Christian. She has expressed her dedication to God on social media and has advocated for various social issues, such as gender-based violence, child marriages, corruption, education, and health. Linda has faced controversies, including making derogatory remarks about Ndebele people on social media in 2018, which she later apologized for, and being involved in legal disputes and assault incidents.
Linda Masarira has received several awards and recognitions for her activism and leadership, including the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) People’s Choice Award in 2016, the Zimbabwe International Women’s Awards (ZIWA) Humanitarian Award in 2017, and the Zimbabwe Achiever Award.
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