Why 2013 will not be the right time for a #woman-#president in Kenya. @Marthakarua,#Ngilu

Before you go ham on me ostensibly for being a misogynist this or the other, let me state this: I personally  know and believe that women are as good leaders as (some even better than) men.

The issue at hand, therefore, is not the qualification, or lack thereof, of the various women  presidential candidates. Rather, it’s the small issue of the presidency as stipulated in the current (new) constitution. I had this nagging feeling during the run-up to the referendum on the constitution that most Kenyans had no idea what was contained in the constitution, and even less the implications. This malaise  seems to have afflicted both the Wanjiku and the leaders alike, to the extent that one can question the origin of the document we now call the new constitution… that’s a story for another day.

My concern is the perception about the presidency and it’s powers. Having watched kibaki and his “unilateral appointments”,as well as the various presidential candidates promise Kenyans heaven once elected, I am convinced now more than ever that everyone is deluded that the presidency is as powerful as it used to be in the old constitution. It seems no one wants to come out and state the painful truth that the presidency is virtually ceremonial.

The implications of all this is that the president will get into office carrying a heavy burden of Kenyans’ unrealistic expectations. In fact, and as far as I can tell, most Kenyans are expecting once elected the president  will be a miracle worker or magician, and will thus be in a position to transform their lives instantaneously. The disillusionment that will follow when the Tyre that is their president meets the rubber that is the reality of a president who can’t help himself, let alone the electorate, will be a spectacle to behold. Then again one may always  blame Parliament and the gullible voter will buy it…
Now imagine that the president happens to be a woman. “The failure to perform” will be laid squarely on the perceived  “inability”/ “weakness” of women and their “lack of leadership qualities”. It’ll now be official that “women can’t be trusted with leadership”,and the vicious cycle of “women are weak” mentality will continue, together with it’s attendant implications for our young daughters. I envisage  a scenario where Parliament and the Senate will come together and impeach her faster than she can say CIC. I know this sounds sexist, but I’m just the messenger! Imagine if it was Hillary Clinton not Obama facing reelection in the USA in such a weak economy…

My advice, the women presidential candidates should take a break for 5 years (should vie at 2017) , let Kenyans experience the weak presidency under a man, then it’ll be hard to sell the idea that the presidency isn’t working because of the gender of the holder.

The presidency in the new constitution is so checked by the judiciary and legislature that the president will even need permission to scratch his/ her backside!                         


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One Response to “Why 2013 will not be the right time for a #woman-#president in Kenya. @Marthakarua,#Ngilu”

  1. kimemiamaina Says:

    I’m not feeling you logic, plain and simple. I mean, the checks and balances in our system aren’t even as thorough as those in the country we copy-pasted this presidential system from. The impression of a ‘diluted’ presidency is largely down to Kibaki being a kichwa ngumu and picking fights with parliament over public appointments and that ultimately PNU is a minority party in parliament anyway. It won’t matter what gender the next president comes from, if they are on the same page as the shot callers in the next parliament (whether by dint of coming from the same political party or some other loyalty to each other) then the president will have a free hand to implement their vision for Kenya. This gender bit of yours is a red herring.

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