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Friday, August 15, 2008

Is Kenya Ready For A Woman President?

You've heard it said that any Kenyan above thirty five and with certain attainments is capable and free to run for President of East Africa's most strategic nation, and no doubt the region's strongest economy. In the books, and thank God it is so, that's indeed the case. But in life things never fall neatly in place like water down a predictable line of weak resistance. On the contrary, the laws we place in our books are merely a road-map to what's possible if goodwill were brought to bear. In that respect, our constitution has paved the way for the eventual realization of a dream. A dream to elect the first female president in Kenya. But will it ever happen? And just how soon?

When you slap a map of the world on the table and start pinpointing the nations that have been brave enough to experiment with the leadership female chief executives, you'll be stunned by just how few they are. In Africa, we have Ellen Sirleaf-Johnson in Liberia. After years of men running that nation down, spilling blood and plundering the nation's resources, this

Harvard-educated lady took over and brought back sanity into the affairs of government. I've watched her at rallies in her devastated nation and seen how the adoring people of Liberia look up to her. I've seen children reach out to hold her hand, and I've seen her lean in to plant that cherished kiss on a child with dirt on their cheek. It's just lovely to watch.

In neighbouring Uganda, Strongman Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, had the foresight to bring in East Africa's first female vice president. You may argue that her powers were only limited, but you can't argue with the symbolic importance of being the second most powerful person in that landlocked nation. What it did was to shatter a glass ceiling, as Hillary Clinton would say. It made the girls in Uganda realize that a woman could do anything men could do...and do it even better.

We've all heard about Britain's Margaret Thatcher. This iron lady led her nation through the war with Argentina and actually won. Can you see in the eye of your mind Maggie sitting in that meeting, directing her commanders to draw a war plan, to present to her a plan of attack within days? Can you see her addressing the British people, telling them that the nation had to go to war over the Falk Islands? And finally watch as the British war planes drop bombs and subdue the Argentinians...all in the name of Margaret Thatcher. And lest you forget, the neat thing about a war planned by a lady is that care is taken to minimize collateral damage, which is another term for civilians caught up in the crossfire.

Back to Kenya. Are we ready for a woman president? When I look around, only two women at present seem like they could mount credible presidential campaigns. There's Martha Karua and Charity Ngilu. Are they qualified? Yes, they are. But if we were to seriously assess their chances, what would Kenyans be looking for in order to feel comfortable with female leadership?

Here is what I'd be looking for.

1. Beauty. Hold on, hold on. Before you call me fickle, let me ask you this question. How would you like to watch the face of a woman who is not pretty for the next five years? Personally I'd like to watch on TV a pretty woman. It just makes it a lot easier when a hot mama is the chief executive, especially when she has to persuade the nation to do something drastic like budget cuts or go to war. So is Charity cute? Just look at her, man. She's cute. How about Martha? Me thinks she's another cutie. If Phil and Chris don't think those two are beauties, tell me who is, guys.

2. Grit. What I mean here is toughness. In most traditional societies, men have always been wary of strong women. Women have always been cast as the fairer sex, people who were supposed to smile and look sweet. But you all know that Martha and Charity don't play that game. Those women are tough. Just think back to the days of the grand bargain that gave us the coalition government. Do you remember how Martha was out there telling off foreign envoys? Do you remember how she took on Orengo and Ruto and all the big boys? How about Charity? Weren't you impressed when she took on the Kalonzo wave in Ukambani and won? How about that day at the airport when she caught the VP trying to catch a government plane for a non official event? Didn't you like it when she called him up on it and forced him to issue a statement? Yes, those two women are tough and ready to lead.

3. Sober and Pragmatic. Can a woman be tough and sober at the same time? Of course a woman can. I take it you've been impressed by the juggling act in Liberia, where Madam Sirleaf has synchronously shown her tough side by taking on male-dominated institutions and making them work for Liberia and at the same time presenting a softer, sweeter side to her burdened people. Okay, has Martha ever shown a sweeter side? Sure, haven't you seen her smile? Haven't you caught her dancing with the folks, her eyes sparkling with childlike joy? And lately haven't you seen her try to get into alliances that are in sync with her presidential aspirations? How about Charity? What I've seen in her is a calculating, sober assessor of situations. I saw her walk out of Afya House on her terms. Saw her join the ODM Pentagon on her terms. And now she's running her ministry with pragmatism and efficiency. So again, can these two women lead?

4. Communication. One of the areas where our leaders have fallen short is in communicating their policies and intentions to the people. President Kenyatta was a master of intrigue. He never let Kenyans know what he was up to. In fact, even when he died we couldn't be told straight out that the president was dead. Moi was no better. To know what was on Moi's mind, Kenyans had to listen to the pronouncements of people like Shariff Nassir, Mulu Mutisya and Kariuki Chotara. What a way to communicate! Now there's Kibaki. Who the hell speaks for this President? Is it the perpetually hilarious Dr. Mutua or the super-secretive and assertive Muthaura? Whoever it is, they have done a lousy job. Now, has Martha communicated her intentions to the folks? Here is what she has said. I'm running for president in 2012. How clearer can a girl be? Charity has been equally succinct. Watch her as she talks to her teary-eyed staff on her last day at Afya. I will be back! again, how clearer can a girl be?

5. Faith. A president who doesn't pray for his nation and for wisdom from God has no business leading a nation. It's always nice watch a president pray. I liked it when Kenyatta was in a house of worship. I was moved whenever I saw Moi with a hymn book in hand, singing praises to the Lord. And I set my disagreements with Kibaki aside whenever he is before the throne of grace. Prayer is power. So do the two women I've been talking about pray? Yes, they do. But just imagine what it would mean for Kenyans to watch on Sunday TV as the president, a sweet motherly figure, kneels down in plea with God to bless Kenya. Don't you long to see that day come?

I do.

But 2012 is years away. We have a chance to evaluate all our presidential candidates. I'd love to see Martha Karua give the boys a run for their money, become Kenya's first female president. I'd love to see Charity Ngilu go all out to capture the presidency of Kenya and help us make positive history. That said, Kenyans are not going to elect somebody just because we yearn for female leadership. We are going to elect the best candidate out there.

Ladies, make 2012 your time to shine. If you don't become president, you'll have paved the way for the brave Kenyan girls who will come after you.

For Love of Country,

Guest post by Sam Okello

In your Kumekucha Weekend Special tomorrow:

The Truth About Kibaki's health and the serious danger for Kenya

Using sources deep inside State House we have unearthed the terrible truth...
you will go numb with shock. Wherever you will be make a date with Chris this weekend.


Knoppix!® said...

And what was the post all about? I have lost my comprehension skills once again!

I can't make a thing out of this post!Somebody help me!

Anonymous said...

This okello fella writes like he replying to exam question.

I thought i was the only one who didnt get what this writer puts across.

Chris said...

Excellent piece, Sam. As always.

The truth is that you can't go wrong with a woman in leadership, this has been proved time and again. If Kenyans were wise they would know what we have to do, we really don't have much time left to get things right.

BTW I suspect that knoppix and anon @ 3:36 are the same person.


Ivy said...

The post was "Is Kenya ready for a woman president".....I would say "YES" their is no day that a nation will say it is ready for a woman president, even Liberia didn't so as Germany but looking at the way women are running those big corporations (reservations only for CMA read Capital Markets Authority) in this country then i think we are ready.
The messes that we are having in this country have been caused by men so we definately need a woman to clean up after the mess (and i am not comparing to picking after your socks and shoes thrown all over)
Women have the drive, passion, accountable, transparent etc(show me any corrupt woman)
The question would have been "Yes Kenya is ready for a woman president...But Who will it be?

Sam you have narrowed it to only 2 women...Come on there are others outside there including me...Yes i could be...Yes i can, why not?

Knoppix!® said...

I was feeling sleepy after a meal of tripe but now am up!Ati what Ivy?YES we are ready,the closest we came was in 97 but ooops we flopped thanks to brothers from you know where.

Behind every successful man is a great Woman!I doubt the same can be said of Kibaki!So am saying all this men that loot all over here,at the end of the day that looted things boils down to a woman!Look at Akinyi and the Oga!

There is no doubt some women are very good managers if we look at some examples around here!Tabitha The Keroche woman for instance can make stuff move real time,but hey we are talking politics here,not managing some Kamweretho here!

My take is ,we need some more time for a Lady Prezzy,if anything,Sirleaf got the jab coz the opponent was merely a populist and a footballer at that!If there was someone of sound credentials,then Sirleaf's dream could not be seeing the light of day.

Chris, much as i would welcome this post i must discredit upon where i feel it falls short of my expectations.Besides i have never assumed double identity ever since i stepped into this blog.I don't hide over convictions i have in my brain and wisdom and or lackthereof the same.So take it from yourself that i do double landing,its unlike me!

Good day!

M-Pesa said...

Unfortunately in our macho-male dominated society, being single mums may work against Madam Ngilu and Iron Lady Martha. Also, Various well documented "escapades" involving certain male species may not help these ladies. Step forward Tony #@%&*% and Father @#$%@#. I think Martha is basically aiming for the stars so as to land on the moon (PM??). Whether we like it or not, our politics are tribal and no Kenyan outside GEMA would vote for another Kiuk so soon. Hata mimi being a PANUA damu would not vote for a Kiuk so soon. Then we have chapaa. Can those two lay-dees bankroll a presidential campaign in today's money mad Kenya?

Mama Njeri said...

Off course yes! Kenya has always been ready for a female president, its only they have never been given a chance. Kenya politics is a male 'gangland turf' and any woman who dare challenge them is deemed as 'unafrican' because most Kenyan men believe woman are for sex, having children and the kitchen. (bastards!)

I still believe it only a woman who can bring about the change Kenya so desperately need. A tough woman like Wangari Mathaai who have no interest in 'eating' and cares passionately about the needs of the common Mwanachi.

b-carotene said...

I would want to say this is a rather nice post on an important topic, but will hold back because the author seems to be biting and then blowing and I have doubts as to the sincerity of what he says. I think panyas are the species well known to do this: ana uma alafu anapuliza.

Look, all the naysayers here have absolutely no sound arguments to offer. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf is a PHENOMENON. Very capable woman with the savvy to navigate the murky waters of a severly socially and economically devastaed post-conflict country. She has also managed to juggle quite well the multiple tensions that engaging the US and China at the same time invites. She put together a brilliant governance reform commission whose performance has not disappounted--look at land, forestry, constitutional reform. It is hard to fault this woman. Perhaps Kenya should consult her governance reform committee!

Back to our own Kenyan women. Ivy made a very important observation--Kenyan women have been in leadership positions in the corporate sector, in academia, human rights, bureaucracy, judiciary etc, for a while now. They have been in the public sphere and have for the most part done well and we're now used to seeing them up there. I see no reason why they couldnt take a shot at the presidency, clinch it and perform brilliantly.

True, it may be hard to penetrate the old boys network, the resources it can mobilize, including the tonnes of mud it can sling (just look at m-pesa's post). But I think that a well thought out and organized campaign with a message that resonates across the board (and especially with women) can mobilize the necessary resources from a whole range of actors. So yes, women can.

I think all Kenyans of good will should ignore Sam Okello's number one point, which objectifies and trivializes women. Pity it was the first as it cast a shadow over the sincerity of the points that followed. Apart from Dr. Kalonzo, a very capable and decent human being, there's hardly any dishy fellow right at the top. But no one holds that against any one. So skip the pettiness and stick to the substance.

Ivy said...

Ah come on Knoppix i definately dont agree with you, if they move the corporate world then why not give the presidency a stab?

No one was pated president on the forehead and if they were then God did paste on the wrong people..

Anonymous said...

Ngilu had her chance in 97' but was outmanouvered by Moi. Martha has a lot of work to do b4 2012.

Money. This is one thing I dont think she has. She has the brains but for serious presidential campaign, $ is a big thing. Can she roll with the big boys? If she has a secret group of friends that can outdo the Ksh 1 mil a plate then that would be a head start.

Education: I know she has the brains but when I say education, I dont mean hers, I mean the rest of the Kenyans. We need to be taught that women can lead too. All this macho stuff is what plunged us into the bloodshed.

Numbers: Did you know that women outnumber men in Kenya? If she can galvanize all women irrespective of tribe to vote for her, then she would have a serious advantage. Are other women ready to join hands?

Respect: Do Kenyans respect her? If I remember clearly, one time in parliament some MP stood and told her to her face that he "does it while standing". I dont think Ole Kaparo did anything to the MP but surely that was very disrespectful. I know other MP's who have no respect for her esp because of that Fr. M@#$%^^ at UON. The smear campaign on her is a lot and rather than help her, it may destroy her. How many people will vote for a lady they hear was "supposedly involved" with a priest? To quell such rumours will have seriously eroded her character and by the time she tries to nyamazisha the story other stories will come up.

Kutangulia sio kufika: Just because she has declared her candidacy now doesnt mean she'll still have the firepower by 2012. Ameenza mapema sana and we still have 4 years to go. A day in politics is way too long so my guess is she'll either burn out very fast or by the time 2012 is here, she'll be rendered irrelevant and join some alliance. Isnt that what Nyagah did ?

b-carotene said...

"All this macho stuff is what plunged us into the bloodshed."

Fair observation.
Wengine wetu tuna roho ngumu zaidi. A different, more collaborative approach is sorely needed. It might come from more women in political leadership--who knows?

Anonymous said...

Martha Karua is too much of a macho to be president of Kenya. She needs to learn to act lady like before we can consider her candidacy.

As for Ngilu, we're ready. Go Ngilu. Give Raila a run for his money.

Bobie, Bristol said...

such Trite!

after all it is Sam Okello mouthing platitudes as we have come to expect

Mama Njeri said...

Okello, do you know who is likely to be Uganda first female president. Mark this name, Mrs Florence Mugasha, she was the deputy head of commonwealth for 6 years and only retired two months ago. Queen Elizabeth II (UK) whom she work together closely at the commonwealth is endorsing her to go into politics and become the president.

Knoppix!® said...

Mama Njeri however much i devote myself to respect your opinion,i beg to differ!

I have never seen anything much that has come from the commonwealth body other that the games!

Secondly,the Queen doesn't vote in Uganda and her endorsements might not was after all!In other words the voters are down there and she is up there.The Ugandan picture aint very diffrent from ours albeit ours is a tad advanced as voters are wiser.In Africa,its the incumbents who tend to decide who succeeds them.Look at Dakar and Tripoli for example.Talk from those two places indicates that the incumbents wish to be succeeded by their own Kin.So M7 might as well decide his son to taker over after him or someone that will not dig the grim past of his.So me thinks yours is a regrettably sorry example in regard to having a lady prezzy in Kenya.

But again you could be right,but wikipedia is a medium on which even mad men and women can post their ideas on!

Over to you mama njeri!

Githongo Fan#1 said...

Sam Okello, gender does not make a good president just like tribe does not make a good president-any donkey can lead a country as long as they are the right person for the right job
by the way i thought your first point was very fickle-beauty is not a qualification for anything other than to marry someone-it is all in the beholder's eye. Any ugly man/woman can lead a country as long as they are right person for right job

Vikii said...

This is a very nicely written article, but one lacking in substance.

I personally find it very self defeating when people advance their cases based on their gender; be it in school, at the office, in our living room, in politics, on our streets or wherever else.

When people say women are softer, more caring and all that crap, I laugh. Are there wonderful women out there? The kind that anybody would wish to be led by? Oh yeah. Are there good-for-nothing women just like there are good-for-nothing men? Oh yes, they are called bitches. It is wrong for someone to expect me to respect or admire them just because they are women. I will not expect them to admire my person or even respect me because I am a man.

It is an insult to such women like Indira Gandhi, Margaret Thatcher, Ellen-Sirleaf Johnson and Angela Markel when people try to attribute their success to their gender. These are not just women, they are much more than that; They are wonderful human beings that deserve(d) everything they have/had. You cannot tell me Nelson Mandela would have been greater had he been a woman. You cannot tell me Al-Gore is lesser today because he is not a woman just like I will not believe you when you tell me they are what they are because they are men.

I have a friend who considers Madeleine Albright the greatest political figure alive (I disagree of course). I have not heard anybody hail Madeleine for her gender. People have talked about her rounded education (she speaks about ten languages), her diplomatic skills, how well she can write, her exposure to major league politics and all that. This is because she is not just a woman, she is Madeleine!

When we come back home, it is a pity there are those who voted for Mrs. Ngilu based on her gender. It is just as laughable as voting against her based on the same.

Do I think Charity Ngilu deserves to be President? I dont. I know Ngilu well, I respect her and I have nothing personal against her BUT I just dont think she is fit for President. She is way pretty for her age but I am not looking for a fantasy sex partner for President.

I believe someone who wants to lead a nation must have stuff in her/his head. For heavens sake it has to be someone who can read a book and understand what they read. It has to be someone who can have a conversation with, say Condi. I will expect the same from the male politicians that want to be President. Is she tough, yes she is. As for her sobriety, I reserve my comments.

About Martha Karua, I would be comfortable with her as my President, anytime. I believe she is intelligent, she is tough, and yes she is sobre (she hates hooligans/hecklers) and above all she is incorruptible.

Now, it is important to keep in mind that voting for her, just like for anybody else, is not such a straightforward thing. It depends on who (male or female) she is running against as well as on the circumstances.

Those fellows who have talked about Martha's and Ngilu's marital statuses, I think we should be fair to Ngilu. She has been "happily" married for decades. She has a decent family. As for her 'escapades' with Tony,or whoever else, this is what is, quite frankly, trivia.

About Martha Karua's divorcee status, I think it should not pre-occupy us as well. Her outings with Wamugunda shouldn't either. There was a debate in the eighth parliament when Lawrence Sifuna got pretty petty and he talked about the unmarriageability of lady politicians. Martha answered that fool superbly. She called him "Hon Dirvocee" ever after.

Wangari Maathai once told us that our debates should be based on what is above the neck and not what is below the line. That is why I refuse to see anybody through the prisms of their genetalia. Sam, will you?

Anonymous said...

Who care whether the president is a woman or a man!!so long as they are corrupt kenya is still doomed-

deal with corruption first instead of offering shiate scenario's of presidency!!


Regency sale premeditated, Inquiry told
Posted on 14-08-2008 11:45:17 AM

NAIROBI, August 14 - The controversial sale of the Grand Regency Hotel to the Libyan government could have been influenced by decisions made by top government officials, the Commission investigating the sale heard Thursday.

Counsel Harrison Kinyanjui, representing Westmont Limited, tabled letters signed by top officials of the two countries in which the hotel was one of business interests the Libyans wanted to pursue.

However in her testimony before the Justice Majjid Cockar-led Commission, Deputy Director of the Kenya Anti Corruption Commission Fatuma Sichale denied that the sale was in the picture during the transfer of the hotel from Kamlesh Pattni to the Central Bank of Kenya.

“Before we recorded the consent, and immediately after, I had never heard of any Libyan investor,” Sichale stated.

She rejected a claim by Kinyanjui that the hotel’s transfer was expedited after the signing of an agreement between the two governments in June last year. She also denied knowledge of whether Pattni had been paid to relinquish the hotel.

The Deputy Director nevertheless stated that Central Bank Governor, Njuguna Ndung’u had made certain references to the Libyan interests in one letter from the CBK to KACC.

“It did not matter to the Anti Corruption Commission whether the hotel was sold to Kenyans or foreigners, what was important was that the hotel be sold within the law,” she added.

Sichale confirmed to the Commission that in one of the meetings after the transfer, the Governor expressed a need to dispose the hotel.

The Deputy Director reiterated that her boss, Aaron Ringera had cautioned the Governor over any contravention of the law in any disposal.

Ringera, she said, mandated her to ensure that the sale complied with the Public Procurement and Disposal Act.

She nevertheless fell out with the CBK’s legal advisor Kennedy Abuga and counsel Adan Ahmed (representing Pattni) after they resisted the application of the Privatisation Act in the sale, which according to her was the only law applicable.

The Public Procurement and Disposal Act does not cover disposal of immovables and as such could not have been used in the sale, she added.

“When I pointed out that the Privatization Act was the way to go, I noticed that there was a lot of discomfort. This marked the end of any engagement with CBK,” Sichale stated.

The Commission also heard that the hotel never changed ownership but rather the management.

“CBK suggested that the hotel be sold while still in the name of Uhuru Highway Limited but the bank was the one to determine the price,” she said.

Knoppix!® said...

Vikii applause!For the first or third time or thereabouts i agree with you wholesale!

Sam Okello said...


In that other wolrd called utopia, such trivial things like beauty and the sex of a leader don't arise. But here on earth, such things count for a lot. That's why you saw pundits and the political class go on and on about Hillary Clinton's trailblazing nomination run.

So you all think beauty is not an important factor in considering a leader? Come away from that world you've been living in. Beauty is crucial. Haven't you observed that most of the women who've risen to lead their nations were all beautiful?

We can all deny that we'd ever consider a person's looks, but when normal people get into that booth to vote, that sweet smile from a potential chief executive will roll out the numbers.

Trust me!

Anonymous said...

anon8:26 AM

here we go again "DicK man" I guess then your point is that you are one of those guys that vote with dick?? than brains??
opps!! such a sorry human being i pity you...

Ivy said...

Knoppix continue applauding no problem....None is refuting your point what i am saying which is very simple and no one has refused all that it is there sundry for all to see. I am saying in short is that the Kenyan men have failed...Yes and they have failed miserably....maybe just maybe they are jinxed so we should try out a WOMAN who will definately not be Akinyi....So you can relax you can keep all your bucks in your wallet without looking over your shoulder that she might be looking.....For once let the women rule and just maybe you gonna swallow your words one day.I thought we all go to the same class or is there one for women and another that has just been cut off for men.
By the way i am a firm believer of what a man can do i can also do and maybe i can do it much better and not that i went to Beijing, dont shove for me a seat in parliament coz you think i can't win fair and square...Hapana tupatane kwa mviringo (ring) we square it out and may the best person win. Ama? Women rule

But the other point for the Queen of England i agree with you, she doesn't have a voter's card for Ug and Ugandans will not be seeking her opinion and even if they will seek it will not count

Sam Okello said...

Hi Ivy,

I like your bravery. I of course narrowed down this to the two women who are in the public eye right now. Let us know where you fit in the points listed above so we can know where to channel the bucks.

Vikii said...

Sam, the subject of people's looks is something that doesnt make sense to me. I dismissed it here last year when Raila Odinga equated the Steadman polls to a beauty contest. They had him leading towards the polls. You cannot tell me he was the most good-looking in November because I will call you a liar.

I also respect your right to consider Angela Merkel and Marha Karua beautiful. I cannot define your tastes, bro.

But let us not lose foccus of what is important here, Sam. Are there people who will be motivated to vote for someone based on their looks or even gender? I bet. I agree with you. Now that's a very misguided approach. It is an approach that is premised on ignorance,it is an approach we should be seeking to discredit and not perpetuate, which is what your post seems to do, sir.

For those who want to pull me into their bulcrap, look elsewhere please. I have much better to do than fight over toys.

Ivy said...


Sam i was just joking...Enyewe channel your bucks somewhere else, i think i am comfortable in this other part of the world....Unless i am ready for the media to undress me...(you know what i mean)I like my privacy, i treasure that with all my heart i would love to make an impact to the kenyan society but will do it from where i am without necessarily getting into politics....But who knows God might just have another idea

kalamari said...

Folks, It's quite clear some of you are not a firm believers of affirmative action in any shape or form. Some of our heroes in Liberia got into Harvard via the same.

I could be wrong but outside of Sam's agenda, I think he pretty much wants a discussion on the empowerment of sections of our population who have been systematically disadvantaged under our current socio-political landscape; Women Power to be precise.

In the characters of Ngilu and Karua, we see the few women who have outmaneuvered some very painful obstacles to fashion their careers. While the two represent the strength we so much want to see in women, they also shed light to the millions who were abused and curtailed into amounting to naught simply because they cannot do some things while standing. A sober study into the abuses our girls go through may make us understand why the women at Nation Newspapers offer their bodies for favors on a daily basis. Such is the society we have crafted.

This is what I say; As a society, we need to appreciate, empower and protect our women. For every successful woman, there's thousands whose dreams were road-blocked by our Kenyan attitude towards women. The ratio for men is much smaller. I mean, what goes through your mind when you hear of book smart girls who were denied an education because the much younger and very daft brother was perceived as more prone to succeed?

I agree that we should not vote for a woman just because she's a woman. We must however try to ensure that they get an equal chance to reach such considerations.

Wouldn't political life be much sweeter if we had more women to choose from….other than Ngilu and Karua?

kalamari said...

That said, Ngilu and Karua are not beauty queens…lets get serious. Unless you a connoisseur of 'cover the face and fire the base'.

Vikii said...

Cover the face and hammer the base, Kalamari. Its called chausiku style.

b-carotene said...

I didn’t expect that kind of nonsense argumentation from you. The point to be made is—how many Indhira Gandhi’s has India had, or Thatchers in GB of Sirleaf-Johnson in Liberia or Merkel in Germany? Is it for lack of similarly capable women in India, the GB, Liberia, Germany? What is it that keeps many women as against men from reaching there? Why is Barrack Obama such a hot item right now? Answer that, silly, and don’t for a second act as if you don’t know what the stakes are.
Bure kabisa!

Kwale said...

For the first time I agree with you Mr. Okello, beauty counts and beauty give a good image to the country. It will do more good than harm to have a woman who can send testosterone surging for every hot-blooded male in the country. Look at Argentina, since the glamorous Mrs Cristina Fernández took the office of the president, the country has seen economic boost and good foreign relation especially with US. Not only she is a democratically elected president but she won with the widest margin ever since Argentina became a democracy. And the woman is beautiful men.
And off course my favorite woman Queen Rania of Jordan who has been dubbed as the most beautiful queen in the world. This Arab woman has even featured in many men magazines in the west. Even men who have never heard of the country Jordan knows about queen Rania. So lets have a beauty for the top job but definitely not Ms Passaris like most of you here like to think- she is an ugly duckling. I am for Wangari Maathai because she is a real human right campaigner. Karua and Ngilu are after power and fame and should never be voted in.

kalamari said...


And lest we forget, the average Kenyan girl/woman is not the district high school and above graduate with some college/university education, fashioning a two month old curly kit and 'pleather' stiletto shoes. You know, the ones with fake prada bags and plastic earrings. No folks, that's not average.

In fact, the average Kenyan girl is barefoot, digging potatoes with an illegitimate child straddled on her back while trying to get the attention of that village toughie who's visited the city once…..with dark spectacles and Bata rubber shoes to prove his story of his journeys up and down escalators.

So when we talk of Kenyan women, let us be sure who we are talking about.

Vikii said...

b-carotene, I respect you, but to be honest with you, your language, this time round, is disappointingly upsetting.

I love you the way you are, though.

Ivy said...

Oh sam okello if it is beauty that counts, then one must have brains, no more Moi tyranny again tafadhali. with the 24/7 here with us their will definately be night classes ama?

kalamari said...

Vikii…. And who said the rural electrification program is wholeheartedly welcome? Some things are best done in the cover of darkness. Au sio.

Ivy said...

Eish yawa Kalamari your comments at 9:26

Tafadhali i am disappointed. wacha tu...fifth ammendment.
So the next time i see an ignorant jamaa with the labels "mark & spencer" or Armani on his coats hand...then it must be fake

b-carotene said...

Sorry I snapped, really I am, and guess I spoke too soon. Now, just look at what Kwale is saying. And then at Kalamari lecturing us on who women are. I'm done with this conversation.

Vikii said...

Kalamari, maplantations za kahawa chali yangu.

E-Cop said...

what a sexist post written by sexist men describing what type of a woman PUPPET they would like to rule their sexist world where they can think of nothing else but how pretty she looks instead of her leadership qualities!
why couldn't Ivy, Shiko, Syra, PKW, Mrembo,Sue, Karol or any of KK female bloggers blogged about this instead?

Sam Okello said...


You're selling the average Kenyan woman short. But to the extent that there are women in the countryside who struggle with life, we must all be ashamed of ourselves. That said, don't you think a Madam President would try hard to make life better for the kind of woman you've described?

Anonymous said...

Knoppix, Ivy, Chris,m-pesa, mama njeri,b-carotene,Vikii, Kalamari, Sam Okello,Kwale and the rest of the kenyan bloggers here on Kumekucha

My question is - Seeing you are into politics why don't you see the global world connection to our kenyan politics and who or what the super powers want in place to run Kenya??(we all know the super powers do not care for the well being of ordinary kenyans)
Kenya is stratigraphical placed for their own use-
The usual fake fronts used by kenyan leaders showing they are in control doesn't wash...

I watch our young generation in are internet nerds digging information (i.e students) now find all this information on line unlike in the 90's and have a more broader picture on world politics and our leaders today plus what went wrong and exactly what has been happening in kenya and the world around us today...

I find it very odd that educated individuals such as the above mentioned come here to post trivial information or rather posts that do not enlighten kenyans or touching topics that are connected to why kenyans have to keep themselves informed on global politics which in turn determines who are how kenya is ruled/ controlled/ run/ managed/ or what ever choice od word one wants to use... Raila/ Kibaki are puppets and until kenyans realize that out country is a pawn of other masters ten we will keep on killing each other using tribal warfare and my friends that was instilled in our brains since colonization - it is about time we all opened our eyes.. the young generation(14-21 something seem to be well informed now and are asking serious questions- this is the future generation and i'm glad that they are hungry for information which in todays world it is very easy to access on the more lies or propaganda teaching -

It surprises me some of you like mama Njeri who claims to be abroad seems to have more or less 0% of world politics and it connection to Kenya politics and future(power struggle between the western Super powers and Eastern super powers over the control of Africa( for natural resources-Mineral)isn't why China and America are at loggerheads??

Watch:: if you haven't already- dig for the truth and it might save you and kenya..

Then again we have all the youth now days on the internet digging and watching and reading such video's on the internet today! what can they retain as the truth and who out there is shifting and helping them to discard the lies and keep the truth??
Yes my friends there is so much information out there now- that is overpowering our youths mind and you expect them not to rebel?? seeing what the leadership of kenya is doing?? the world has changed and we can't hide behind stone walls ever again- information is out there for everyone in the world to find it- so either people use it wisely to succeed or fail that includes the kenyan leaders today......

UrXlnc said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
UrXlnc said...

this is indeed a perplexing post and i would hope its not the mindset of most kenyans and happily its not as seen by the comments above from vikii, b-carotene, e-cop and a few others. Sam whatever your noble intentions were, e-cop is right this is sexist.

its one thing to make noise about discrimination based on gender, ethnicity, race, physical handicap, religion etc, then how do you turn around and expect that very attribute to become the springboard for advancement? thats absurd and rather shallow

we are still recovering from a very costly experiment on voting along one such discriminator (ethnicity) and here Sam introduces a new discriminator as basis for election. basically in the last election each camp told their supporters to not vote that other tribe.

so do we expect karua, ngilu and others to punctuate their campaign slogans with "... and because am a woman ..."? ridiculous

lets use the thatcher example on the Falkland conflict, did the troops go because it was a woman PM or because it was a directive from the PM? the bullets, bombs and deaths would they have been any different if it was a man or woman? the decision to fight it out was based on the interests of british people it could have been anyone else and the decision would have been the same.

as pointed out by vikii, b-carotene and some others above we have to make an effort to pick our leaders based on their (personal and party) policies, ability to lead and deliver on promises and where possible or when in doubt, peruse their history (trail of scandals etc, but good luck with that).

Everything else is eye-candy

Sam i think this was a rather lame attempt at reverse-discrimination which can easily be confused with affirmative action.

Anonymous said...


You've missed the gist the post by Sam entirely. What Sam is saying is that among other considerations, people are going to consciously(for men), unconsciously (for wonen) vote for someone they find attractive. Is Sam saying that beauty should be the sole criteria?


papa plus said...


You must have a lot of free time on your hands to write such an article.

I would ask you whether all of those qualities apply to our former and current presidents?

The answer is a simple no.

Kenyatta was not a handsome man. Moi was handsome at some point but in his old age he can not be termed as handsome.

Any Kenyan woman who becomes president is likely to be a product of the prevailing environment her looks notwithstanding. Surely, you are old enough to realize that while it is exciting to have a beautiful woman by your side, if her personality does not match her looks then she ends up being a very ugly person. The bar is set very low in terms of governance in Kenya. I don't think that a woman would do much to change anything. She would need a lot of grit to deal with the likes of Ntimama and other uncouth characters.

UrXlnc said...

anon 11:19

not really sure thats what he means and will wait for Sam to clarify but these excerpts from his text do not point me in that direction

"..Harvard-educated lady took over and brought back sanity into the affairs of governmen.."

"..It made the girls in Uganda realize that a woman could do anything men could do...and do it even better..."

"...Can you see in the eye of your mind Maggie sitting in that meeting, directing her commanders to draw a war plan, to present to her a plan of attack within days.."

all the above are in the opening or first part of his argument. in the second part of the article is where he defines his personal criteria which include inter alia what he will perceive to be the beauty of the candidate.

you know what, thats a personal decision and have long decided to avoid that pretty much the same way i shake my head when people set on their criteria ethnicity, i don't agree but really it needs the person to be willing to listen to divergent opinion, otherwise its like throwing yourself repeatedly against a solid brick wall.

Anonymous said...

Sam, I'm not selling Kenyan women short. I'm in fact highlighting their plight. I think it's callous for those of us with some sought of education and time to chat all day online to imagine that the average Kenyan woman (or man) is like us. To answer your question, yes a woman president who grew up in such circumstances is not a bad idea for Kenya.

The Kenyan population will be approaching 40 million in a few years. While a few of you have 'made it', most of our folk are penniless in the village. When we talk of empowering anybody, it is those people we should focus on.

Ivy, please stay away from that jamaa in a dark brown suit, pink sports socks and blue 'lawman' brand tennis shoes. If you grew up in the 80's, you probably owned those shoes. That said, I'm not saying that everything in Kenya is fake….but seriously, if you shop in those exhibition stores and purchase the latest prada bag from China…you will actually have bought 'b'rada.

Andy Capp

Anonymous said...

Kalamari, I agree. Martha Karua is no pretty face. I've just been watching her on you tube...boy she's ugly. Sam is dead wrong on this Martha woman. She's not a face I wanna see on TV for the next five years.

Anonymous said...


I take it that you are all ready to vote for any woman who is qualifies, like Adhenya my neighbour. I will run away from Kenya if she become prezo.

Sam Okello said...


I notice you've not taken issue with the other points raised by my post. The sex and looks of a canditate are just but one factor. What I'm saying is that it's an important factor. Then there are those other factors. Indeed, you must be aware that when voters evaluate a candidate, they'll do so based on a number of factors, most of which I did not bring up here.

What I find amusing is the way we all want to pretend that considering beauty makes us trivial. Not so. I hope for the day Kenya will be blest with a pretty, intlligent and tough chief executive. Does that mean a less than beautiful woman has no chance. Again, not so. There are multiple ways to make up for what one lacks in looks. But if you expect a woman to go all the way to the State House without us noticing that she's female, I don't know what planet you live in.

You point out that ehtnicity played a crucial and negative role in the voting patterns of the last election. That's true. However, comparing ethnicity to something as healthy as voting for a brilliant woman is like comparing apples and oranges.

Beauty is a blessing!

Vikii said...

Sam, with all due respect, can be kind enough to tell me who is not "beautiful" in our politics?

You have told us that Karua and Ngilu are beautiful. Now, don't you also think Raila, Kalonzo, UK, Mudavadi and the other guys are also 'handsome'.
What then should be the distinguishing factor?

San Okello, I dont want to shout, but it should have occured to you by now that beauty lies in eyes of the beholder.

kalamari said...

Not to push this discussion over the cliff but listen. Kibaki has taken us to China…so we should aspire to learn Cantonese/Mandarin etc i.e. be like them.

I'm sure you've read about how the Chinese chose to have a 'more beautiful' girl lip sync at the opening ceremony rather than display the actual 'not-so-cute' owner of the of the angelic voice.

Beauty matters!!!

Taabu said...

Point taken and you deserve kudos for FIDELITY to your take. Sam may have had his reasons to rank beauty at the top but who knows he have arranged this qualities in DESCENDING order.

All the philosphy os beauty lying in the eyes of the beholder are attempts to justify UGLY formations. It is natures balance act that supus OFTEN have plenty of vacuum upstairs while ORGREs compensate for the appeal deficit with brains.

This is one post that has everybody remaining relevant albeit on the sideshows. But it tells alot on our affinity to matters pleasant to the eyes. At least they make us temporarily forget the hard path of life.

PS: Vikii kesho the fireworks begin and pass my regards to Deco. hope he gets a productive baptism with FIRE. Na big Phil, wish him luck. No more serial flower girls.

Sam Okello said...

Hi Vikii,

Hope you had a good lunch, ma man. In most African societies, men are never judged on the basis of their looks. Take a look at Kenya where the more pot-bellied a dude is the more attractive he is to the women. That patriotic front is equated to wealth and importance. Still, if you want to know how our male politicians fare in in the realm of cuteness, just thin about RAO without his millions and power, Uhuru without the Kenyatta name, Mudavadi without the family back to climb on, Gideon without the Moi name and billions...get the drift?

kalamari said...

……and the show stopper of them all….Kibaki without the millions. Picture him in kaptula shorts selling roast maize in Kiamaiko. Now that's a site to witness.

Not forgetting Mama Lucy without that hideous wig.

Babawatoto said...

Ati Karua is kind cte...Negro pleeaseeee

Vikii said...

Kalamari umenichekesha. There was an article by Philip Ochieng about six years ago where he asked folks to imagine Kibaki in the colonial era having a bad stomach. A second std big eyed pupil without an underware. Yaani bila ngotha. Bila chama!

Hiyo yako ni bomb lakini.

Taabu, tuko. Tuko. BTW, Deco will soon be a bench warmer. Kuna Lamps, Essien and Ballack. Dont forget kid Obi too.

Anonymous said...


my point is if you were CEO of some firm (for e.g lets call it Sahel Publishing) and when presented with two candidates for a position you decide to choose one because she appeals to your sense of beauty then you have practised gender discrimination epsecially if your requirement did not explicitly request for pageant qualifications.

however without necessarily over indulging in the semantics, the personal criteria listed for selecting a president are not in the real sense gender specific and the gender references are perhaps smoke screens

beauty = presentable
grit = unwavering determination
sober/pragmatic = realist
communication = articulate
faith = religion

am against and a strong advocate against any form of discrimination veiled or blatant. if you havent noticed almost all our women legislators have competed against men equally and in some cases floored them and in others been decked irrespective of gender but on account of principles and needs of the voters, i think you are deliberately trying to take us backwards, and berating the intelligence of the kenyan voter.

going back in time to Jael Mbogo who took on and floored Kibaki in Bahati, Agnes Ndetei, Ngilu, Wangare Maathai, Karua, Mwendwa, and the recent ones Wavinya who even took the wind out of the ODM-K wave, Sally kosgei, the late Lorna laboso, margaret wanjiru and so many others. All these women were voted in not because of their gender but on what they stand for

lets not belittle the achievements of these galant women and their supporters.

Sam, what you're attempting is no different than what happens when a genuine intelligent person of african descent makes a remarkable achievement in an industrialized country and the bigots are always looking for ways to trip them up or find the "hidden reason" (read white institution) behind their success.

am sure you also understand that am not against you but am against any little or large form of discrimination (gender, religion, physical handicap, ethnicity, nationality, race, pecuniary, etc) that bigots use to deny others opportunity.


Anonymous said...

I would vote for Ngilu and not Karua. Remember we are viting for an idea and not a personality

Kwale said...

If good looks don't matter why do the prime time television all across the global hire pretty faces? For those who remember, when Catherine Kasvuli came into our living room so many people got interested in watching the news. I also read when Julie Gichuri (spellings!)joined KTN the number of viewers went up. So you see, they know the image sells, even when you want to advertise anything you go for the pretty face and fit body.
Unfortunetly we don't have pretty faces in politics. Some like Sally Kosgey looks like she never had a good wash for weeks. Her hair is all over the place with a terrible taste of fashion. And Ngilu with that wig or hair urrghhhhh.
It's time we encourage our beautiful sisters to step forward in politics and raise our temperatures.

Anonymous said...

New Kamukunji MP charged with theft

Guess theft runs in the party or is it the tribe?

Anonymous said...

anon @ 3:15, that's why we need a change of regime in Kenya. The woman of the moment needs to stand up and be counted. We have several capable women out here in the diaspora who can lead Kenya to a new tomorrow.

I like women who wear pant-suits though. No skirt-suits.

Anonymous said...

Kumekuchans, why not me? I hope I can change Kenya for the better?

Regards, Akinyi Jaber

papa plus said...

Guys why are you scared of calling a spade a spade? Okello and kwale and company, Urxlnc put forth his arguement in very simple terms; having a standard of beauty while hiring females is gender discrimination.

Now you can come up with all soughts of scenerios like TV news anchors ala Kasavuli but it is what it is. And in Kasavuli's case, she was qualified to do the job. I will remind you that Katie Couric was hired to read prime time news and she did not change any significant numbers for the her company's viewership.

The point being that it is friday and we just want to shoot the breaze talking about less weighty issues like Karua's legs, Nyiva's hair and so on. Let's just call it what it is. Defending it as serious scrutiny towards the presidency is a joke.

Lastly, I can tell you that no where in the world has a leader ever been elected primarily for her looks. This is not the Trump pagent folks, rather it is serious business. So if Karu and anyone else for that matter want the hot seat they better bring it with substance issues.

Anonymous said...

Energy minister Kiraitu Murungi*****most corrupt minister in parliament today*****

THIS THIEVE SHOULD TELL KENYANS HOW MUCH KICKBACK HE RECEIVED FROM THE LIBYANS FOR MAKING SURE THE GRAND REGENCY SALE WENT THROUGH BACK DOOR( this minister should step down to be investigated he is a big corrupt thieving goon!!!!!!!!!


State had agreed to sell hotel before Kibaki visit, Cockar told
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Ms Fatuma Sichale of KACC during the Cockar hearings at Anniversary Towers in Nairobi. Photo/STEPHEN MUDIARI
By MUCHEMI WACHIRA (email the author)
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Posted Thursday, August 14 2008 at 19:43

The Government had already committed itself to sell the Grand Regency Hotel to a Libyan firm when President Kibaki visited the North African country last year, it emerged Thursday.

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* Grand Regency ‘worth Sh1.7bn’

According to a letter read to the Cockar team investigating the controversial sale of the five-star hotel, Energy minister Kiraitu Murungi was among the leaders who had appended their signatures to the correspondence between the Government and the Libyan firm.

The other people who had signed the letter dated June 5, 2007, are Information and Communications permanent secretary Bitange Ndemo and Mr H.E. Bashir for the Libyan African Investment.

The President made a three-day official visit to Libya between June 4 and 6, last year.

During the visit, the commission heard that the Libyans’ interests to invest in Kenya were discussed, with one of the businesses proposed being the Grand Regency Hotel.

Denied knowledge

These details emerged when the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission deputy director, Ms Fatuma Sichale, was being cross-examined by Westmont Holdings lawyer Harrison Kinyanjui.

The hotel, one of the letters indicated, was to be sold for $45 million to the Libyan firm with a dollar being exchanged at Sh70.

Ms Sichale denied knowledge of negotiations by top Government officials to sell the hotel, prompting Mr Kinyanjui to refer her to the correspondence, which confirmed that negotiations between Government officials and the Libyans continued even after the President’s visit.

However, in her statement, Ms Sichale indicated that KACC disagreed with CBK on how the hotel was to be sold. “I looked at the public procurement law and it was clear that it did not cover the disposal of immovable assets belonging to the public,” she told the commission.

The witness said the only option available for CBK to dispose of the hotel was the Privatisation Act. “My suggestion of using the Privatisation Act was countered by my colleagues who appeared uncomfortable,” she explained.

And this, she said, marked the end of further engagement between the graft body and the Central Bank.

Anonymous said...

papa plus,

with all due respect, leaders looks matter big time. You cannot have an ugly commander in chief. Case in point Kenya's Kibaki. Look what we have. Another case is Zimbabwe. Look what it got the Zims!

You know honestly, Kalonzo got the hot looks. Raila too. Karua, a long story. Ngilu, Yes and Yes.

Anonymous said...


Phil said...


Immediately after the referendum in 2005, we had Kalonzo, Raila, Uhuru, Ruto, Balala, Nyagah and Mudavadi all saying they were going for the presidency. How many of them actually did?

By merely making declaration to run for presidency, some politicians who would otherwise be in political Siberia are now serving in cabinet.

Take Martha Karua's case for instance. This has nothing to do with gender. Until we get a new constitution that will 'reserve seats' for the so called weaker sex, the current constitution does not distinguish sex when it comes to running for elective seats! Karua knows that the Kibaki succession is already a done deal and that she has been expressly left out of it. What she is trying to do is to negotiate for senior posting in the next cabinet. And as I have told you before, she is gunning for the PM seat which was originally due for one William Ruto. The Captain's headache is to find accomodation for Karua (read incorporate into the Pentagon) and make her and Orengo co-chairs of ODM's constitutional reform agenda.

Meanwhile, depending on whether the actual zero draft passes the referendum test, it remains to be seen how the ODM line-up will shape up. Whats definite however is the that captain will be the FLAG BEARER if executive powers remain with the presidency. If these powers are split between the prime minister and the presidency, there is every chance the ODM presidential candidate might be any of the other members of the pentagon who will have to square it out in a NDC to pick out the most popular amongst them.

In the meantime, the Speaker of the National assembly (Marende) whose Emuhaya seat was sacrificed by ODM in order that he be made speaker is turning out to be a major disappointment for ODM. Not only has Marende jumped into bed with PNU, he seems to be busy travelling overseas and forgetting that ODM is only in the GCG temporarily and that the legislative agenda forms a crucial agenda in ensuring the party reaches its final destination. The man has visited state house (at night) and met with some insiders. What was discussed and agreed upon is still scanty but disgraced former finance minister Kimunya let the cat out of the bag during the homecoming rally. Its pretty obvious Marende is a SELL OUT.

I will update you guys later about what is really happening behind the scenes. I can assure ODMers, the captain is very much on top of things, and in the run up to grass root elections in December, the party is using the interim period to consolidate its membership (read..weed out the PNU and KANU spies)before embarking on full throttle joint campaign programme for the referendum and the next general elections.


Wewe ni chizi. Tulia maanze.

Anonymous said...

what happens when she goes on maternity leave for three months? what happens when the husband makes her scream as she comes in ectasy and the body guards laugh?

Anonymous said...

wangari maathai

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:42 The late Benazir Bhutto former PM and one of the hottest seat in Pakistan had all her children when she was still in the office of PM. She was only 35 years when she took the office in a muslim male dominated country.

Anonymous said...

If beauty had anything to do with leadership then passaris would be mp for embakasi as we speak, but she lost in the battle of beauty and the beast(thug),if beauty was a factor then martha karua should be the last person to declare her intrest in the presidency ,and lastly if beauty was a factor then elief johnson wouldnt be chief commander and neither would margret thatcher ever had made it, aslo ngilu would have been the 1st woman president in africa but then beuaty is in the eye of the beholder.

Anonymous said...

There are certain things though that come naturally to each gender which cannot be ignored, and that the other gender has to learn, usually coming across as a bit forced. E.g, a woman is a nurturer by nature, and by nature a selfless giver. It is v. hard to alienate this from her, because it is her nature. Also ruled by emotion though,and complicated in many s because of those emotions. On the other hand, a man is very selfish in nature(try a simple experiment of giving him food and atch if he'll share even with his kids)competitive, and aggressive. Not complicated or much emotional. These are granted by nature (or socialization), and ill count into whatever they do, and can be of help/detriment in the long run if unchecked - e.g competitive, selfish male rule.
I guess what okello is trying to do here i remove ethnic animosities through the introduction of a different divisive factor - not smart.

@Ivy, because you asked: No, I would never vote in a kid like you, who in all probability will remain a kid forever,tip-toeing around people, afraid to offend and begging for love and attention wherever they can be found. There are mature women - or people- that can be voted in before you could ever be a candidate for the least bit position out there. I'd rather vote in maina kamanda first(never going to happen) before I entertained the erroneous thought of your possible candidacy. Grow up, and grow some independent view and maturity before asking,annoying lil kid. Just sayin'.


Anonymous said...

very offended you think a main quality a female president needs is beauty. because ugly girls can't run a bath, let alone a country.


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