By Winnie Kabintie
Professor Margaret Kobia, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Public Service and Gender has received a public backlash for condemning Kirinyaga MCA’s for impeaching governor Anne Waiguru, saying they “do not value strong women leadership”.
Margaret Kobia, in a statement issued a day after Waiguru was impeached by a majority vote, said it was unfortunate that the governor’s term was being cut short by an impeachment motion.
“It’s unfortunate that Anne Waiguru’s term is being cut short by an impeachment motion, this is an indicator that some of us do not value strong women leadership,”.
Kobia’s statement alludes more to a “personal allegiance” to Waiguru and narrowing down her impeachment to gender erodes her objectivity on the alleged illegalities surrounding the governor’s ouster.
While Waiguru is among the four female governor’s historically elected in the 2017 elections in the male-dominated gubernatorial positions, she is not the only female leader whose office has been “politically” challenged, in fact, she is the only female among the five governor’s that have been impeached so far.
Nakuru Senator Susan Kihika, who did not take Prof Kobia’s statement kindly took to twitter to express what she termed as “double standards” by the CS, who never uttered a word on “female leadership” when she was ousted as the Senate majority chief whip.
& I got lost in the mail? Could the Ministry of Gender not be aware that we are women too? Cess, perhaps it’s time for you & I to send Kobia our naked pics then she might stand up for us against the bully too”.
Susan Kihika was ousted from senate leadership in May when President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Jubilee party reportedly kicked out “Ruto allies” in new changes made to the Jubilee senate.
Kihika was replaced as Majority Whip by Murang’a senator Irungu Kang’ata. Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen was also replaced by KANU’s West Pokot Senator Samuel Poghisio as the Majority leader in the Senate.
Embattled Nairobi County Speaker, Beatrice Elachi was also last year ousted by Nairobi MCAs. Elachi got a reprieve in February after the Employment and Labour Relations Court quashed the decision by the assembly to censure her, arguing that the House committee had no powers or jurisdiction to impeach Ms Elachi without according her due process.
Perhaps the other issue that draws criticism for Prof Kobia’s quick statement to show solidarity to Waiguru is her “loud silence ” during the Kariobangi and Ruai demolitions that left families out in the cold during this Covid-19 pandemic, which the CS is quick to point out that it’s not ideal to impeach a governor.
“We are disappointed that the governor is being disturbed during the fight against Covid-19 which is negatively impacting on socio-economic development of the country,” Prof Kobia said in her statement.
Other women leaders including Homa Bay Woman Representative Gladys Wanga, Senate Deputy Speaker Margaret Kamar and Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu have also rallied behind Waiguru and condemned her impeachment.
Senate Deputy Speaker Margaret Kamar on her part said Waiguru’s impeachment was malicious and full of illegalities, adding that female leaders should be respected.
“Due procedure shall be followed in the Senate and sober deliberations made without sideshows. The right to a fair hearing is well safeguarded in the constitution,” she tweeted.
She further added that female leaders must be respected and political witch-hunt should never be confused with matters integrity.
While I’m a big proponent of female and youth leadership, I think using the gender card anytime a female leader is challenged does more harm than good in solidifying the crusade for female leadership.