“Women are being chosen as running mates on matters of inclusivity and not their leadership skills or what they are bringing at the table” Participants said
Coffee Bar Tuesday this week was discussing if gender is the new agenda in political space? With political leaders choosing their women as running mates, does this mean we are achieving the 2/3 gender principle? Does this also mean that women’s voices are now being taken seriously?
This was one of the most heated conversations that we have ever heard during a coffee bar. With 25+ participants, the majority felt that women don’t need to be running mates to anyone, they can be able to run for any presidential seat.
7 of 24 participants felt that women are now being chosen as running mates because of their leadership skills, track record and their urge for better governance, 9 felt that women are being used as mobilization tool and won’t have any say when it comes to governance of this country while 4 felt that women were picked as a result of sympathy.
“Wanawake wamelia sana, wacha tuwapatia hii top seat ndio wawache kulia sana” Participant said
With examples of Wajackoyah choosing Justina Wamae as running mate, Reuben Kigame unveils Irene Kamau as his running mate, Raila Odinga choosing Martha Karua as his running mate, Moses Kuria picking Faith Mwaura as his running mate and William Kabogo settled on Esther Ndirangu means that women are being noticed at the high table. These are just examples of top candidates who have picked women as their running mates.
Participants believe that top politicians choosing women as running mates have a hidden agenda. One of the hidden agenda is women being used as running mates in order to get votes from women.
Trends & Insights for Africa (Tifa) released polls indicating that Azimio La Umoja-One Kenya Alliance presidential candidate Raila Odinga is the most preferred presidential candidate at 39 percent after choosing Martha Karua as his running mate. Does this mean that many people will vote for a presidential candidate who has a woman as a running mate? You have the answer.
Participants felt that women running as running mates will be puppets as soon as they win the elections. This means that after getting the votes, the deputy president office will be another occupied busy office with no moves. Others may have been selected in order to gather sympathy votes from women. Participants also argued that most of the women have nothing they are bringing at the table apart from the sympathy votes. Is gender the new agenda that the political class is using to get votes?
Others argued by the time someone is being picked as running mate, there is something the presidential candidate had seen in them. They could perform even better than their male counterparts. The fact remains that choosing Martha Karua, Irene Kamau, Justina Wamae, Esther Ndiragu among others has given hope to our young girls that leadership is not patriarchal.
Kenya is among countries with lowest proportions of female parliamentarians in East Africa with 23%. Efforts to implement the two-thirds gender have so far not beared any fruits. However, the efforts are coming into realization with more women having interest in politics and vying for various political seats. If any of them wins, we will have a new record of the first female deputy president. See you Tuesday!