- The rival movements serve only to confirm that women leaders in Kenya are mere appendages of a patriarchal system.
- Women should be in the thick of things — but as equal players taking the opportunity to ensure that their own specific interests are inserted into the agenda.
A collection of women politicians calling themselves Team Embrace, mostly drawn from the ruling Jubilee Party, have been traipsing around the country campaigning for the Building Bridges Initiative that is championed by President Uhuru Kenyatta and leader of the former opposition, Raila Odinga.
From the other side of the Jubilee divide, a rival bunch calling themselves Inua Mama have also been gallivanting all over, campaigning against BBI while also rooting for Deputy President William Ruto’s 2022 presidential election bid.
One can look at Team Embrace and Inua Mama as positive engagement by womenfolk in important national issues.
For too long, women have, figuratively, sat in the kitchen and allowed men to dominate national discourse.
Now they are coming out and taking their campaigns all over, becoming influential players in their own right and helping shape the national agenda. That is a charitable view.
The fact is that both Team Embrace and Inua Mama are mere vessels serving agendas designed and run by men.
The rival movements serve only to confirm that women leaders in Kenya are mere appendages of a patriarchal system.
When not being wallflowers, they are busy fighting one another on causes that are of absolutely no benefit to women leadership in Kenya, or to the women’s agenda in general.
In the bad old one-party days, then-President Daniel arap Moi had his Kanu Women’s Wing, and at one time even had the sole political party swallow Maendeleo ya Wanawake, a once-influential national women’s movement.
Team Embrace and Inua Mama are no different from the women movements of the Kanu era.
They are, respectively, merely the women wings of the Uhuru-Raila Kieleweke pressure group and the rival Ruto Tangatanga campaign team.
They do nothing more edifying than gyrating on the national stage like in the old days when women’s contribution to national political rallies was playing the role of traditional dancers, as the curtain-raisers.
Women in Kenya have a myriad causes crying out to be addressed.
There are the glaring inequalities where half the country is badly under-represented in Parliament, corporate boardrooms and management suites in both private and State-owned enterprises, economic levers and the professions.