I miss Lucy.
No, I'm not crazy. It's just that when I look at Michelle Obama I sometimes wonder why Kenyans are okay with a situation where our first lady doesn't ever come out to say jambo to us. Wouldn't it be nice if she walked down the street every two or three months to tell us what's going on with her? I'd like to know that the nation's first lady is okay and that she's happy. Knowing that makes all of us feel good about the state of affairs in the State House, in Muthaiga and back in Nyeri.
Lucy, I hope to see you somewhere in Nairobi soon.
Having said that, I have to wonder why Kenyans, especially the press, never scrutinize the wives of the men who want to lead us. What, for instance, did we know about Mrs. Musyoka? And what did we know about Mrs. Ruto? Tell me what we knew about Mrs. Mudavadi? Granted we knew a lot about Lucy, but that was only because we'd come to fall in love with her dramatic ways in her husband's first term. By the time Kibaki was sworn in in that secretive ceremony at the lawns of the State House, we all knew exactly what we were getting. Another turbulent term. But Lucy has behaved herself. She's allowed the President and the Premier to grapple with the myriad problems facing this nation without distractions. So I think we need to clap for her.
In 2012, here is what I'll be looking for in a first lady. It's wise to throw this out there so we can start watching the wives of the men who want to lead us.
1. A photogenic woman. Once we elect a President, we are stuck with the man for years. At the very least, the woman he presents as the mother of the nation needs to be beautiful, and must look sweet in pictures. A tired, mean face is fodder for comedians and fireside prattles, but it eventually depresses the nation. So beauty is a critical factor.
2. A Godly Woman. I know somebody is getting ready to jump me for not placing this factor first. The reason is simple. When you meet somebody for the first time, what you instantly see is their looks. Matter of fact, most people judge us by their first impression of us. Given that state of affairs, a potential first lady must prove to us, after we've determined that she's cute, that she loves her God. If a first lady is prayerful, it's a good indicator that her husband is too.
3. A Simple Woman. Remember Imelda Marcos? Three hundred pairs of shoes! Remember Sarah Palin? U.S. $150,000 in stylish clothes and a hairdo. Talk of frugality. The point is...a woman who has the guts to dress like Cleopatra or Cindy Crawford at a time when most Kenyans are struggling is probably going to become a fashion statement in the State House. Is that what we want? The time to scrutinize their wardrobe is now.
4. A Single Wife. This is not something most women have control over, but as a nation we must insist that our presidents have one wife. I'm not saying this because of the Lucy-Mary wars. I'm just suggesting that as a Christian nation we need to be true to the biblical principle of one man one wife. In any case, there is no provision for a first and second lady in our constitution. A man with two wives must be disqualified. Period.
5. Well Educated. Having a ding dong as a first lady can be a traumatic experience. Whenever there are state visits, our Head of State is "required" to be accompanied by his wife. Now just imagine our ding dong first lady in Paris with Carla Bruni, or in the States with the stylish Michelle Obama, or in Uganda with the well traveled Janet Museveni. Get my point? We can't afford to embarrass Kenya, so let's avoid presidential candidates with wives who think South America is the bottom half of the United States.
I need not go on. Obviously there are other crucial factors to consider. Let's hear them from you.
In the mean time, I hope that when First Lady Lucy Kibaki steps out to greet the nation we will all accord her the respect and the adulation she deserves.