Thursday, January 4, 2018

Women should work for positions of power

Women should work for positions of power

Africa and indeed the whole world have refused that power in whatever form may be transferred from husband to wife. We thought it was going to be easy and simple but we have all learnt the hard way that it would never be so.

Hillary Clinton tried it in the United States of America. She had hoped to take over from her husband Bill Clinton, but her efforts fell flat. Grace Mugabe tried it in Zimbabwe and Nkosazana Ndlamini Zuma tried it in South Africa and it did not work. One is bound to ask why? In all the cases, their husbands secretly harboured wishes to have their wives take over.

At the core is the execution of the process to hand over power to one’s spouse. If it was a different person altogether with intentions to take over power, that would have been tolerated. The transfer of power within a family is what people do not want. One should come from somewhere to contest any political position and they would not face resistance from the general populace. What people are against is a woman coming into power through their proximity to the throne, especially when the husband has been holding the reins. Why do women want to ride on the popularity of their husbands to come to power?

These ambitious women should come on board and seek power fairly without riding on their husbands’ backs. There should be no arranged power transfer.  Husbands may have succeeded but that does not mean that power, knowledge and skills would transfer to the wives easily. We must say “over our dead bodies shall we allow women to take over from their husbands”. When the husband retires, they must go and enjoy their pension together. What are they saying to us? The message is that when the husband was in power, he showed his wife how to run government so they begin to entertain thoughts of taking the bull by the horns.

In Britain and Germany, Theresa May and Angela Meckel respectively came to power through sheer hard work. They were convincing to their people. They did not use their husbands in any way. The women should know that every man who comes into power is there to serve and not to share the power with the wife. Whoever aspires to be in power, must work their way up. The saying that “behind every successful man there is a woman” is not only untrue, but just a convenient saying which is said in public to appease women.

The world has seen through these men and they have been dead right in seeing the man as a leader in his own right. Women get the accolades, well and fine, for their support of their husbands. It would be folly for these women to want to take over. No woman should then dream that because the husbands did well in the office, there must be some kind of power transfer.

I am not saying that women cannot lead. They can if they come up from their own angles, not from behind their husbands. We see clearly and we do not want to be fooled. The world has its eyes open and wants to be led by men who would have been looked after very well by their wives. When they have done the job, we will thank them for a job well-done. In cases where women eventually get the power, they tend to brag by saying they were actually the ones running the show when we thought it was their husbands.

Clinton wanted to go for presidency and competed with Barack Obama to become American’s president. She did fail, and he made her secretary of state. But she still wanted to be the president. She tried, and she did not know what she was into. She tried hard but she failed at it again. It was like they liked her all over America, but even with that show of love from the people, she lost the leadership. Indeed, Bill Clinton helped her to achieve her goal. He supported her right up to the end.

The amount of money and effort put into it was huge. For all those efforts that the whole nation put into it, nothing worked out. She had all the groundswell in most states. She lacked nothing in her campaign. All systems worked in her favour, but all that came to nothing. We cannot say that they were lacking anything. We only hope that she had what it takes, but to no avail. After those gruelling efforts, she lost the big post.

Then it was our own. There were innuendoes to the fact that Grace wanted to be president. She really pushed Mugabe to the end. At each of the interface rallies we thought each one was putting her to the front. It seemed as if all systems worked in her favour.  Nothing could stop her. It seemed she was closing in on the vice-presidency. Even the vice-president Emmerson Mnangagwa was finally pinned down and we thought he was gone.  But Mugabe was careful not to appoint her soon after he sent Mnangagwa packing. He waited a little bit and that was going to work in Mnangagwa’s favour.

The army intervened and in no time, we were all caught in that moment of anxiety and anticipation. The first family got the message that their efforts had been thwarted. The army could not let Grace and her friends stampede the presidency. Efforts to get her out of the way were in place. Prior to the “coup”, then army general Constantino Chiwenga was out in China for an official duty. We are told they had wanted to ambush him.

The G40 faction was out-smarted by the army. The waiting as deliberations went on at state House. As the nation waited for Mugabe’s resignation, he held fast, leaving the nation in suspense.
The final debacle was that of Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma. This time we had one who had all the support of the ex-husband and all the party structures. Days and nights of hot campaign were put into her candidacy but all that did not work out.  When delegates started arriving at the place of the conference, everyone was canvassing for support. It was like every woman was for a lady president. 

What she lacked was the generality of the members.Anyone who mattered seemed to be on her side.
Come the election time, she did no make it. It was very close though, but all the efforts came to naught. Cyril Ramaphosa won the election hands up. South Africa was taken by surprise as the vote were announced. But everyone was in agreement that the election went the right way.  The seal was put.
Those with ears, let them here
 l Rev Dr Levee Kadenge is a lecturer at United Theological College in Harare.  He can be contacted at

Friday, December 22, 2017

Why it is not advisable for couples to work together

Why it is not advisable for couples to work together

The new thinking is that spouses should not work together. A man and his wife should work separately so that each one of them enjoys his/her independence. There are dangers associated with working together as husband and wife. 

They can work together just for a while, or as one of them looks for work elsewhere. There is need to work in different fields so that you have the freedom of working with workmates without your relationship getting in the way. While working together brings the two of you together, co-workers may find it difficult to relate to the two of you in your official capacities and as a couple.

It is workable in some instances, for example in teaching. A couple can be at one school and find it easy to work together and have fun. They can share accommodation and other amenities. The profession offers the convenience of staying and working together. It makes bonding easy. That arrangement gives comfort and looking after children is made easy. The family feels safe together.  Problems may arise when one gets promoted. If the woman gets the promotion, it is notch higher for the family, but this can be very demeaning to the husband who might not be able to come to terms with his wife’s new status.

With or without the challenges of promotion, the couple is required to maintain a professional relationship at work.  This is very tough, but it can be done.  There is no need for one to shy away from the other because of a promotion.  As long as the promotion is on merit, there shouldn’t be any problems both in the family and at work.

Work in the health sector also allows couples to live together and work separately, say in a hospital.  Suppose you are working in the same place and one of you gets promoted, you can accept the new post yet opt to remain in your allocated house. This gives the impression that you are humble, if you choose to remain in the same house you lived in when you got promoted. 

Some couples work in the industrial sites and may happen to do the same job. They travel to work together. Such couples must respect boundaries and not encroach onto each other’s work space.
A typical example is what happened recently to the former first lady Grace Mugabe. She wanted to compete with her husband, Robert Mugabe. While there is nothing wrong in aspiring to do what your husband is doing, you have to be very strong to convince people that you have the capacity.

The end result was no one wanted to support the wife because of her actions. People just turned into spectators and there was no sympathy for what befell Grace. Now both the husband and wife have been retired to their home because they failed to negotiate their way as the wife sought power.  It was clear she was fighting to be where the husband was, but she lacked the tact and decorum to weave her way to the throne.

So many women have brought down their husbands because they do not look at the hazards of trying to work together. Grace wanted the husband to leave the post for her even if it meant creating a dynasty.  She took a lot of things for granted as she pushed and shoved people to land the coveted prize.

There is much to it than just working together. Everybody is working to succeed in his or her career. It must come as a shock to find out the one vying for your post is your spouse.  If your spouse wants your post, it is very difficult to work at cross purposes with your husband or your wife.  The load is more damning if it’s the wife who wants to grab the post.

To be safe, work as far apart from each other as possible, otherwise you pay heavily for working together in this world of competition.  Let your own prowess take you to the greater heights of growth. We are where we are not because someone backed us, but because we worked for it without anyone pushing us.  So, no man or woman should be given what they do not deserve because they are in it because of their partner.  Work towards your own goal without compromising those that are close to you.

There is no need to grab power by taking advantage of proximity to it. Grace should have worked her way

up without being backed by the husband, mindful of the fact that she was eventually going to be by herself after the husband retired. She had to prove her acumen and political shrewdness without being unnecessarily disrespectful. Now people use her as an example of how a wife can bring down a husband if both of them are not careful.

Let those with ears hear.
l Levee Kadenge is a theologian based at United Theological College.  He can be contacted at