I stop at the traffic lights –of course not working – and as I cautiously check to see if I can proceed through the intersection, someone in an in-your-face 4x4, comes up on the illegal left and zooms past me, oblivious to the near miss. He’s saved two seconds and nearly lost somebody’s life.

I’m fed up with this macho posturing. At traffic lights, in offices, in politics. everyone is trying to get ahead at the expense of someone else, and in the case of politics – of everyone else. We’ve forgotten how to be African. We talk about Ubuntu. We talk about caring community. We talk about relationship with the land, but all we really want is a PHD. (Pull him or her down!)

In Zimbabwe we have been watching this in action over the last weeks and the locking of horns has reached its peak in the MDC-M, (not to be confused with the MDC-T) and now perhaps to be called the MDC – N.

There is a paucity of party names in Zimbabwe. As they fracture and factionalise, they refuse to let go of the name. A litany of name variations litters a history marked by brief moments of opportune collaboration and backstabbing. Zanu -PF, Zanu Ndonga, Zanu Sithole, PF-Zapu, Super Zapu, MDC-T, MDC-M.

So MDC –M held a party congress at which its leader Arthur Mutambara was voted out and replaced by Welshman Ncube. But Mutambara holds the post of Deputy Prime Minister (one of two DPMs). A cornerstone of this so called power-sharing government – which includes Zanu-PF. MDC-T and MDC-M - is the duplication of posts.

To be sure there is one President - Robert Mugabe of Zanu-PF. And one Prime Minister - Morgan Tsvangirai of MDC-T. Then the posts proliferate. There are two vice presidents, both from Zanu PF - one woman and one man, two Ministers of Home Affairs – one each from Zanu-PF and MDC-T, (because Zanu-PF refused to cede control of police, prisons and immigration), two deputy prime ministers – one from MDC-T and one from MDC-M.

No-one voted for Arthur. He was chosen as party leader when his party (now M) split from the original MDC (Now T). When the (GPA) Global Political Agreement was implemented two years ago, he took up the post of Deputy Prime Minister as representative of this, the smallest party in the agreement. Now that he is no longer party leader, he refuses to step down and claims the DPM post as his. Who is he representing? It feels all about ego, all about clinging on to some perception of power. Zimbabwe has certainly taught leaders how to cling on. The boss has been there for over 30 years and we are still counting. He managed to cling on to the Presidency in spite of losing an election. So Arthur has a fine precedent (president?) to follow.

While this political posturing continues, there is no listening and little consultation. More than thirty years after liberation the leaders still talk the masculine language of war. They claim we are battling for our land, our heritage, because of our deep, indigenous, sacred connection with the earth. But we have ceased to listen to the land and to our ancestral spirits who guided us through the war of liberation. Along with the rest of us, they have become expedient, sacrificed on an altar of ego and ownership.

We have licence to cut trees because they are ours. We pollute the rivers because the land ‘belongs’ to us, and no-one should tell us what to do and how to live. We rip diamonds out of the earth to enrich a few and while the political in-fighting occupies media space thousands of children cannot afford to go to school, teachers cannot afford to teach and citizens are arrested and charged with treason for discussing the fall of dictatorships in North Africa!

We need a new story. This macho one doesn’t work anymore. It’s time to recover, to acknowledge feminine wisdom, to listen. We have not been allowed to get on with living, with ordinary business because of egos and politics. It’s time to reclaim that space - to nurture our land, our children, our future.

This article is part of a writing assignment for Voices of Our Future, which is providing rigorous web 2.0 and new media training for 31 emerging women leaders. We are speaking out for social change from some of the most unheard from corners of the world.

Take action! This post was submitted in response to Voices of Our Future 2011 Assignment: Op-Eds.


This is a non compromising political voice dear! African leaders are grooming the-young-leaders-to-be a wrong theory of leadership. That you have to stick to power, to rule, to position forever. Economies and sectors are rotting because every development is meant for political campaign, every development is channeled in the political campaign agenda. One wonders what a country would look like without the support from the international community. It is time for change, it is time to reshape leadership, it is time for role model-ship.

Thank you.



I believe everybody has the potential to live a better life. Given the Opportunity, Education and Motivation ANYONE can become someone admirable. Nobody is a NOBODY, everybody is SOMEBODY.

Great piece! I could feel the words awakening my spirit to rise up and change the status quo! The alphabet soup was quite entertaining...I had a hard time keeping track of who belongs where and how the split occurred. It's quite confusing...A change is more than overdue! Keep speaking, we are listening =)

Blog: Threads of Our Fabric Project

yes it is hard to keep track of who belongs where! except the one at the top - who doesn't move! good to know you are all out there.

My Sister,

Thanks for clarifying the Scrabble game of political party names. It clearly sounds like a mad scramble for power that is power in name only. What can two people in the same post possibly accomplish? If anything, their actions serve to contradict each other, nullifying any progress they may be making. And while the leadership stays the same (which is probably the point of allowing multiple parties and duplicate positions)...the people continue to suffer.

You have a clear and, at times, witty way of writing (i guess you have to laugh to keep from crying?) and I enjoyed the way you turned the phrase precedent and president. I also enjoyed the poetry of your words when you described the damage being done to Mother Earth. You are right! Enough with this macho leadership style, It is killing we! Tell us more about what feminine wisdom can accomplish, and give us examples of how it would work. You have a powerful voice. The floor is yours...


I agree with Isisara- please tell us more about the feminine wisdom that can take us away from power for power sake....keep using your voice.

I too enjoyed the witty yet painful description of sad men hanging on to seats of power because they have nothing real to offer


This is a brilliant piece of writing and brings a lot of images to my mind while reading through it. I think you have done a very good job of also integrating humor into what is definitely a difficult topic. What I would have loved to have heard more of, is what is positive steps, if any, are being taken to undo this macho language and posturing...in a country that unfortunately exemplifies the picture of a dictator gone, what positive things are there to look forward to? Especially with the recent uprisings for democracy in the Arab world...do you see any of these sentiments echoed in your own part of the world?

Keep up the great work!


"Tell me then, what will you do with your one wild, sweet, and precious life?" -Mary Oliver