It is time for women leaders to take off their gloves and shame the devils

Published on 20/01/2009

Njoki Karuoya

It is now official. Women leaders don’t matter much to the political elite and their inclusion into the inner circle is nothing but window dressing to assuage the feelings of the larger women constituency. Unless our women leaders are satisfied with these token droppings, which I know they are not, it is time to take the male leaders head on. It is time to stop them from continuously taking women for a ride and reaping the benefits without giving back.

The recent appointments of the ten-man (literally) committee to midwife the affairs and operations of the Grand Coalition Government and ten new ambassadors were glaring demonstrations of exactly how the political elite feel and think about women — that they really don’t matter much.

Big five

When the two principals met to draw up the final list, it must have crossed their mind that there was not a single woman named among the 20 appointees. They must have had a little debate about this issue and wondered how Kenyan women would react, especially considering that both had promised — in public — that women would, in this new Government, be acknowledged, respected and awarded their due space.

The very fact that they both agreed to turn the ten-man committee and the ten ambassadors into an exclusive bulls’ club says a lot about their genuine feelings towards women leaders. And the right way, nay, the only way, to deal with this insult is to make them pay. That’s what politics is all about as this is not a religious affair.

It is time women took matters into their hands. If they cannot be invited into the kitchen Cabinet (which, frankly, was where the first insult began when not a single woman was selected to make up the Big Five), if they cannot be part of the political elite yet they are the ones who vote them in, then it is time to withdraw their support unconditionally.

society watchdogs

It is great that the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Development, Hon Esther Murugi, together with other key leaders from ODM, came forth immediately to condemn the principals for their two-faced appointments, but more should be done.

For instance, women can embrace the role of society watchdog and boldly shame the devils. With the women leaders literally taking the lead, we can smoke out the corrupt leaders and their corrupt deals and publicly hang them out to dry.

The women leaders should inspire public outrage at the corrupt officials and leaders and force them to resign.

And once women embark on this road, there should be no turning back. The reason why male political leaders succeed in corruption is because they maintain a concrete conspiracy of silence.

On their toes

Women leaders can break this wall and spew the sordid details. It has been done before (way back to Biblical times) and it can be done again, and again, until they appreciate that women are a force to reckon with.

And even after they do that, women leaders should never relinquish their role of nurturing and protecting our society from leaders who don’t deserve public goodwill and the women’s vote as they are doing nothing to improve their lot. As Kenyans, we need a representative Government that is keen on overall development, and our women leaders can ensure this happens by keeping the political elite on their toes.

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