Gender and Governance

The taste of the economy around the world is taking unprecedented turns that could have devastating effects on the poor masses who form majority of the population.

Today the world is walking towards marking the seven billion mark in its population. However, the economy is not working well and the political leadership lies divided within political lines.

Looking at the debt crisis debate currently going in the United States of America, where I am currently visiting, Kenya comes glaringly to mind as I wonder what will happen to us middle and low class as prices escalate to an immoral level.

Anne Stella Fomunbod after speaking in Washington DC. Photo: Florence SipallaThe limited involvement of women in politics has often been linked to the patriarchal nature of most African societies.

Women are part of these patriarchal societies and sometimes act as agents in perpetrating patriarchy. This is true particularly where tradition and culture have a central place in the lives of community members. Therefore, to effect any change, there is need to engage players at the grassroots and make them change agents.

“In ten years, Liberia will not require foreign assistance,” said the President.[Photo:Florence Sipalla]Even as it takes the path to recovery, Liberia will not let history define their future. According to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, they are working towards recovery and have set very ambitious goals for the country's future.

Sirleaf was speaking at a public lecture organised by the Centre for Global Development in Washington DC.

“In ten years, Liberia will not require foreign assistance,” said the President.

While governance has always taken place top to the bottom, Interfaith Vision’s Foundation, through its head, Anne Stella Fomunbod, is looking at 

empowering women bottoms up.Women all over Africa remain marginalised when it comes to political and decision making leadership. Except for a few countries such as Uganda, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania and Sudan that have laws enabling women to have positions in politics and governance, the rest of the continent has women in subservient positions.

One such country is Cameroon, and it continues to exploit women as patriarchy takes dominance. Cameroonian women’s political empowerment has been hampered by a society that is deeply patriarchal.

Jane Godia and Ellen Johnson SirleafI used to be a fan of former footballer George Weah. Tall, handsome and moneyed, are qualities that only added to my being his great supporter.

When he indicated that he was vying for presidency, I said to myself, there goes my vote.

Then I had not heard of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the woman who went ahead and defeated Weah in the first post war elections of Liberia.

However, the other day, I was forced to shift goals posts and my loyalty to Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

Women leaders at a meeting: Over 

90 percent of Kenyan citizens have not read the constitution. Picture: Jane Cherotich

Over 90 percent of Kenyan citizens have not read and understood the Constitution despite the fact that the first General Elections under a new constitutional framework are around the corner.

Chief Executive Officer of Kenya Alliance of Resident Associations (KARA) Stephen Mutoro said this during a one day meeting with residents of Busia and its environs in the town.

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Act opens up more opportunities

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Water Minister Charity Ngilu who is the chairperson of the National Party of Kenya (NPK) submits registration documents to Registrar of Political 

parties Lucy Ndung’u in a bid to comply with the Political Parties Act.

Kenyan women stand better chances to join political parties than ever before.

The women have received a boost from the Political Parties’ Act 2011 which among other requirements directs that political parties must uphold gender balance.

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Media must wear gender lens during elections

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Cameramen pictured covering a function. They have been asked to be keen and cover all genders equally without 

favour in the coming General Elections. Picture: Odhiambo Orlale


Aspiring women politicians have never had more opportunities as they do today, thanks to the new Constitution.

They can now contest for any of the six elective positions which exclude the 47 seats reserved for women representatives in all the counties.

Participants at a past training. The cultural socialisation of Kenyans does not encourage women to participate in politics. Picture: Courtesy AWCThe latest gender gap index report ranked Kenya women poorly compared to their counterparts in East Africa. Kenya is ranked 72, behind Tanzania (46), Uganda (28) and Burundi (24) in a study of 135 countries globally.

The World Economic Empowerment annual Global Gender Gap report released in November in Geneva; Switzerland indicates that Kenyan women fair badly on political empowerment.

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