“For most politicians, political leadership is not for service but for power”
“I decided to be an MP because I want to provide an alternative voice in Parliament and articulate policies that will address the poverty that we see every day of our lives. I want to make a difference in the lives of the poor people I represent.
Women in Politics Support Unit (WiPSU) supported me during my 2008 campaign. They printed calendars and posters which encouraged people to vote for women candidates. It is a beautiful thing that WiPSU supports all women candidates and through their work women feel that we can work together across political lines.
Being a woman leader in a political party is not easy. For most politicians, political leadership is not for service but for power and people will do anything for power. They can frame you, use their muscle and remove you and I find being a woman in a political power struggle challenging. You need to develop survival strategies. Sometimes you almost want to give up but you tell yourself to remain strong and not give up. My children have also been very supportive and it motivates me to keep going.
In my constituency, I have learnt to work with women and young people so that they know what the role of the MP is and what is expected of their leaders. A lot of women do not have this information. I am happy that WiPSU has enabled me to have a relationship with my constituency members. There has been a lot of political violence in the constituency but the workshops we have with WiPSU have enabled us to discuss this openly.
WiPSU and Womankind’s support has helped women in Zimbabwe to be stronger and have a greater voice in the politics of our country. It is not a new thing for women to struggle but what is important is how we brace up for the struggle and support each other to fight the injustices.”
Lucia Gladys Matibenga is the MP for Kuwadzana constituency in Harare and Vice President of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions.