Open Letter to Odinga and Ruto
The 2022 presidential elections in Kenya is evidently a 2-horse race between you former Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Deputy President William Ruto.
What Kenyans are not sure about is who your running mates will be, we can only speculate until you go public but what we are quite certain about and especially as women leaders in Kenya, is that the country is ripe for a female vice president and that time is now!
For a long time, women in politics in Kenya have been perceived as mere “flower girls” in the male-dominated political arena but that goalpost has long shifted and the last two elections, where more women were elected to political seats than at any other time in history, can prove it.
The 2017 elections for instance had 3 women elected governors against 44 male governors, still minimal but a milestone considering we had no female elected governor in the 2012 elections. We also had 5 women elected Senators.
Global events that have played out over the years and positioned women in other countries at the helm of some of the most powerful political seats have also gone a long way to affirm women leaders in Kenya and the electorate at large that female leadership is viable and recognizable beyond our borders so why not embrace the same in Kenya? the country that has been known for many firsts save for the political empowerment of women?
Liberia did it in 2005 when it elected Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to serve as the 24th President of Liberia, becoming the first elected female head of state in Africa.
Malawi had its first female Vice President in Joyce Banda between(May 2009 to April 2012) she would later serve as President of Malawi from April 7, 2012 to May 31, 2014 following the death of President Bingu wa Mutharika.
In 2015, Mauritius also elected its first female president; Ameenah Gurib-Fakim following the resignation of President Kailash Purryag.
Ethiopia did it too in 2018 after the National Assembly elected Sahle-Work Zewde, becoming the first elected female President of Ethiopia and has been the only female out of the 54 Presidents in Africa until 2021 when Tanzania Vice-president Suluhu Hassan took over the presidency following the death of President John Pombe Maghufuli.
At the time, Suluhu was the only female vice president in East Africa.
Kamala Harris Historic Vice Presidency Inspiration to Ambitious Women and Girls in Politics
Recently, the US made history in the 2020 elections when Kamal Harris became the vice president of the United States of America, deputizing president Joe Biden.
Female leadership has proven to be quite essential for promoting peace, development and democracy and we need more of it in Kenya.
According to the 2016 Women Matter Report by McKinsey Africa, there are a myriad of benefits associated with female leadership, which include; robust work ethic, Openness to new perspectives, Commitment to professional development, collaboration and inclusiveness.
Perhaps one of the best things you two can do in the history of Kenya’s politics is to give us female candidates for running mates; we have Martha Karua, Anne Waiguru, Charity Ngilu, Wavinya Ndeti, Prof Margaret Kobia just to mention a few.