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THEIR ‘EXCELLENCIES’ KARUA, WAMBUI AND RANNEBERGER?

Dr Nyokabi Kamau is ‘a gender specialist’ no less. In the opening paragraph of an article written by her in The Daily Nation (April 27) entitled Feminism vs gender agenda: It’s time women recognized their political rights’, Dr Kamau stated that, ‘In a recent poll during this year’s International Women’s Day, it came out that if Kenya was to go to the vote then, 60 per cent of the electorate would vote for a woman president’. As Forum readers will also know, the Moon is made of cheese.

Dr Kamau did not say where the poll was taken or give an indication of the sampling technique and the number of those polled. Ten women sporting short hair cuts and Doc Martens whilst attending an International Women’s Day seminar one suspects.

Before the sisters rise up in arms against us, regular readers of The Forum will know that we are most certainly not against the idea of a women president being ensconced in State House (see, for the most recent comment on this subject, ‘Martha Karua for President? – Is that so fanciful?’). However, we doubt the poll results quoted by Dr Kamau and wonder how they would stack up against a poll of Kenyan women on, for example, whether they support the legalisation of abortion.

Dr Kamau concluded her article with these words: ‘I am convinced that most of what Western feminism stands for can be applied to the Kenyan context especially with regards to women taking their rightful places in the political governance of the country’.

The skepticism of The Forum aside, it’s good news for Martha Karua: she’s got Dr Kamau’s vote, and if the opinion poll is right she’s on for a landslide victory at the next Presidential elections in Kenya.

If you didn’t know, the redoubtable Martha announced her bid for the presidency on Wednesday and received good coverage in the nation’s newspapers on Thursday as a result, where it was reported that she would transform Kenya into a social welfare state (The Star), re-settle IDPs, and improve food security and education (The Nation) if elected.

So who knows, it could be ‘Her Excellency’ Martha Karua come 2012.

Sharing the front page coverage of The Star of Karua’s announcement of a bid for the presidency was the news that another woman was in hot water for already assuming the title of ‘Her Excellency’.

Mary Wambui claims to be President Kibaki’s second wife under ‘Customary Law’. The President, we understand, denies this, and First Lady Lucy Kibaki’s thoughts on the subject are probably not fit to publish.

Ms Wambui it seems had termed herself as ‘Her Excellency Mary Wambui’ when signing a condolence book at a funeral service leading to calls for her official bodyguards to be removed. Meanwhile, Government Spokesman Alfred Matua went on record to say that ‘”His Excellency” and “Her Excellency” are reserved only for the President and First lady of the Republic of Kenya, or for envoys in Kenya’. He added, ‘The person shown in The Star… referring to herself as Her Excellency has no entitlement of the same…’.

The brilliant Nation cartoonist, Gado, hit the nail on the head the following day. If Ms Wambui is not the second ‘wife’ of the President, “why was she given security in the first place?”, asks one of his characters.

Finally to a man who is allowed to use the title ‘His Excellency’.

His Excellency US Ambassador Michael Ranneberger is shortly to stand down from his post in Kenya. Writing in The Star on Thursday, commentator Wycliffe Muga declared that, “‘It’s more than likely that future historians will record Ambassador Ranneberger as having been ‘the last of the titans’”.

So will Ranneberger gain the epithet ‘titan’? Well, possibly so but unlikely says The Forum but there’s more of a chance of it than ‘Her Excellency President Karua’ come 2012, whatever Dr Kamau’s poll says.

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Raila Odinga Speech at the CSIS Washington DC, USA

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