Engineering a New Breed of Kenyan Women Politicians

Disclaimer: The letter below is meant for diasporadical purposes only. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead is purely coincidental.

To whom it may concern,

Even as we will endeavour to attain the 33% minimum female representation in future Parliaments (as enshrined in the new Constitution), I believe there must be a shift of focus from just considering the numbers to a closer examination of the calibre and character of the women political representatives themselves.
Not to understate the importance of this 33% critical mass but it is crucial we start examining the specific women vying for public office, considering their educational and professional training, religious views, family and social background, temperament, other idiosyncracies and overall personality. All these other variables will assist Kenyan voters and taxpayers alike to determine what qualitative impact a particular woman candidate will make once she sets foot into parliament or any other public office in the land.
The required 33% of our current number of 222 MPs comes to about 73 women MPs. So the question which I ask is: would you want 73 Sally Kosgey’s or 73 Charity Ngilu’s or 73 Martha Karua’s or 73 Esther Murugi’s?

I’m sure the majority of you would obviously say none of the above and would opt for a mixture of these women politicians based on their individual strengths and weaknesses so as to arrive at a well-rounded and suitable woman politician, if it were possible. In the animal and plant kingdoms, this selection of attributes from various species is known as ‘breeding’.

So allow me to suggest, hypothetically, two possible “breeds” of Kenyan women politicians.

Sally Kosgey and Charity Ngilu:
Both these figures have mastered the political game better than many of their male counter-parts. They both love power and have been successful in wielding it through the toughest of political storms. Therefore a breed between these two would literally bring forth the most ruthless, power-hungry female politician in Kenya’s history. In order to engineer this particular Kosgey-Ngilu breed, several things must be taken into account. Charity Ngilu or ‘Mama Rainbow’, as she was once affectionately referred to, definitely has the image, presence and charisma to endear herself to all Kenyans let alone those of her native Ukambani. However, her Achilles’ heel is her intellect and refinement. This is where Sally Kosgey comes in. Dr. Kosgey not only holds a postgraduate degree from Stanford University but has served in both Moi and Kibaki administrations. Kosgey is as tough, calculating and strategic as they come. Kosgey also has the benefit of an illustrious career as a diplomat which means she’s brings a wide array of experience and technical skills to the table. Therefore I believe that we should not take out of context Kosgey’s recent infamous remarks to the effect that the representational flag on her ministerial VW Passat is but a mere piece of cloth that helps her get through Nairobi traffic. These remarks were not addressed to you, wanainchi. She was talking directly to the Rt. Honourable Prime Minister Raila Odinga and reminding him that she has tasted power before and making her one of his ODM Ministers is nothing new for her. These remarks are reminiscent of Charity Ngilu’s fall-out with President Kibaki in the run-up to the 2007 General Elections.

Martha Karua and Esther Murugi:
This particular breed is primarily motivated mainly by political expediency as well as aesthetics. Murugi’s soft features and equally soft-spoken character are motherly and very easily appeal to Kenyans. Karua on the other hand, has physical features that can only be described as intimidating, starting with that “laser-eyes” stare of hers! However, what Karua lacks in the looks department, she makes up for it with an abundance of intellect. As a revered and highly articulate lawyer of long-standing, Karua has played an instrumental role in shaping the policies and laws that this country has in place. Karua is a fearless and tireless campaigner of the rights of all marginalized and excluded members of society and has throughout her political career displayed integrity, honour and dignity of the highest order. Unlike Murugi, she has no apologies to make for speaking her mind and expressing the views of her constituents and the common man on the street. She does so in a professional, energetic and convincing manner and so far enjoys the largest number of supporters among all other women leaders in Kenya.

In summation, the four women leaders selected for this “breeding exercise” are all unique and have dominated the news headlines in the recent times and I believe they represent the benchmark with which all future women political aspirants will be judged.

Just a thought.

Yours,

N.V

12 thoughts on “Engineering a New Breed of Kenyan Women Politicians

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Engineering a New Breed of Kenyan Women Politician « Diasporadical -- Topsy.com

  2. Wow, wow, wow.., wait a minute. Did you just place Martha Karua and Esther Murugi in the same category on your list? Dude, that’s like talking about Sarah Palin and Condoleezza Rice in the same vein. Blasphemy man.., utter blasphemy.

    That aside, your post just confirmed why women will always have to struggle 4,000,000 times harder than their male counterparts to achieve anything in this life, and especially political office.

    You’ve clearly outlined the variables by which the electorate should crucially examine the flock of female contenders vying for political office – “their educational and professional training, religious views, family and social background, temperament .., and overall personality.”

    All good, and rather reasonable. But my question to you and other would be readers is: Shouldn’t the majority 67% of male politicians be scrutinized based on the same criteria?

    Oh but wait, we’ve never done that with the guys. Nah.., we can crucify Martha Karua for her bad looks, but Hon. William Ole Ntimama can get a free pass despite looking like a ran-over walrus (and that’s when he’s happy). Just yesterday, the papers were awash with the story of Gatundu North MP, (dis)Hon. Clement Waibara who got his friend Martin Ndirangu to sit a language test for him so that the then ECK would clear him to run for MP in the 2007 elections. His friend “passed on his behalf” scoring 23/25 and Waibara went ahead to become MP but the truth is (dis)Hon. Clement Waibara dropped out of high school in Form 3, and in his last test managed only a D plain in English. English people! English. What did he get in Physics.., a Y?

    Women are so damn tired of these double-standards, the very reason they slowly venture into supposed “male territory” outdoing men in their very own game. And if it has to take female politicians 4,000,000 lifetimes to fulfill their ambitions, then so be it. We’ve come this far, bad looks, bad weaves, bad legs and everything else you guys think is super-ugly about female politicians, but we’re not looking back. No, never, ever.

    • The meter by which women aspirants are measured by, is not set by NV or I as a male. Its a society thing. Its so deep rooted and ages old that undoing it might take the same lifetime they have taken to get rooted. I am not saying we cannot make an effort but its ‘almost a thing we have to live with’ Harsh but that’s the harsh reality of the life we live.

      The story of that MP enraged so much that I choked with anger speaking about it. Thats how rot our society is. The people of Gatundu North were conned, defrauded, much like the Kenyan tax payer.

    • To add on to what my brother Supreme has said, I put it to you, Nittzsah and BintiM, that what I have done here is merely get people to think about what the majority of males would consider as strong and weak qualities for a woman leader.

      By the same token, I invite any of you two ladies to write your own blogpost in which you tell us what women would consider as a good combination of attributes for the perfect male politician: perhaps Marende’s mind, Orengo’s voice, Peter Kenneth’s complexion, Danson Mungatana’s mole? who knows 🙂

      • I humbly accept your challenge. Better still, I’ll add a personal account of how I ran for student government back in campus, and lost by a mere 40 votes coz I was “ugly” 😀

  3. Beth Mugo? Naomi Shaban? Helen Sambili? No mention of them yet they are also Cabinet Ministers as well as MPs. As for honourable mentions, you could have included: Njoki Ndungu and Millie Odhiambo.

  4. I believe that most of our women politicians are far better suited to lead this country than most of our menfolk, none of which is because their are least likely to engage in petty politics as compared to their men folk. testosterone makes men take risks, hence corruption is usually exclusively a male preoccupation, entrusting women with public resources might be a better gamble.

  5. What a shallow comment to make.

    What proof do you have that if we put women in positions of power and influence that they wouldnt be tempted, let alone succomb to corruption? Are they not human beings like their male counterparts?

    Admitted, research in management and leadership has shown that women’s style of leader tends to be more co-operative than competitive, empathetic, collaborative, of high performance standards, persuasive and inspiring. Although the masculine style of leadership tends to be on the opposite side, it has its own specificities.

    For the greater good of society, both the feminine and masculine models of leadership ought to interpenetrate.

    A society that taps the talents of 100 per cent of its people is a stronger society. Because it can draw from a broader talent pool, it leads to governance that is more reflective and representative.

  6. Pingback: 5 Questions on International Women’s Day | Diasporadical

  7. Pingback: Why Do You Women Hate Martha Karua? | Diasporadical

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