June 17, 2019

Can a woman make a great Kenyan President?

By John Brian Oyaro


One of the most broadly deliberated topics in Kenya since the enactment of the New Constitution has been the implementation of the two-third gender rule.

This law meant that we would have more competent women in the Public Service and that we were willing to create room for our Knowledgeable and qualified sisters, mothers and wives to drive the country’s transformative economic agenda.

The two-third gender rule has experienced an interesting fate, from an optimistic venture to a lawful act and now a dream that we all hope will come true one day. But why? What makes it hard for us to implement a law that we agreed upon unanimously, a law that was enforced by the High court, only to find a near death experience?

It’s this stalemate, that makes me believe that a woman can make a great Kenyan President. My bet is that when she wins the election, we might be forced “for once” to forget our ethnic prejudice, and celebrate or just marvel at a milestone we would have achieved as a country.

When she names her cabinet, she will ensure that men have an equal opportunity as women, or else the men will be forced to remind her that they deserve an equal chance too. She would have to tread carefully in her cabinet choices, and get past awarding her campaign team but rather make the hard choice of choosing competence over convenience.

In the Youth and Gender Ministerial docket, there will be a man in charge, because, “you know men have issues”, they feel there power is being threatened and they need to have their “voice heard”. She will ensure that initiatives and campaigns surrounding the “boychild” are attended to promptly.

Her words and actions will be weighed in more aggressively by political analysts, because she will have to measure up to her previous male counterparts who occupied the position.

The media might be forced to focus on her character as a person and less on her ethnic political base, because her very presence will be edifying.

She will sail through turbulent economic and political storms like the Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel. Her gesture will be that of strength and gentleness. She will ensure that the children in her country get the best healthcare, not as an economic blueprint but because she genuinely cares.

She will be swayed by emotion, when a soldier dies protecting the country, but she will also be brave enough to call for a just war.

Since her country got Global prominence because a woman (Wangari Maathai ) had fought hard to conserve the environment and won a Nobel Peace Prize, she will prize the effort and enforce laws that would ensure that the future generation, find a safe haven to live in. She will not just watch when the Aberdare Forest is being depleted by the same people tasked to protect it.

Being the first female President, she will choose to have a legacy over riches and fame, because she knows the latter will fade away anyway. This will enable her to crack down on corrupt officials in government whose only pursuit is to enrich them. And before I’m accused of dreaming, isn’t it a woman (Lupita Nyongo), who showed us that dreams are valid.

I once witnessed a young brilliant lady win an election meagrely. She became the first Student President of her institution and faced a waging storm of criticism and an equal measure of love. She had to prove her worth and offer leadership at the same time.

She made a big bet, to bring forth change and seek a new beginning. She had both the will and circumstance to bring forth change. With a couple of hard choices, a wave of change swept through the institution – “a dream became valid”.

Women have made major strides in Kenya since independence; they have fought hard for a seat at the table and have earned it. When society embraces an improbable occurrence, we can easily start solving what ails us the most, our comfort zones.

Kenya does not just need a random woman as President, but rather a woman with the heart of Mother Teresa, the courage of Wangari Maathai, the resilience of Rosa Parks, the patience of Malala Yousafzai and the nobility of Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel.

My gap between ideas and action, is the choice to write it out. We have no reason not to implement the two-third gender rule because our women have made and have the potential to continue making our country great.



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