The coming elections in Kenya are promising to be very competitive and aspirants are using all manner of tactics to win the race.
But what has caught my eye during the on-going political party nominations are women in the contest for the County Women’s Representative. The run-up has attracted a large array of women from all sorts of background and professions.
They are using varied campaign styles to woo votes from the electorate. But what is interesting is that the women, across counties and across the political divide have turned the contest to be a show of who can pose best, who is more beautiful or who has the best slogans to attract the youth.
This is well portrayed in the campaign posters glued on all and any surface which can take them such as walls and electric posts. In the posters, some of the women are scantily dressed and others have posed seductively.
The slogans are catchy. The ones that I have seen so far include: “Msupa na Kazi” “Mama na Masomo”, “Toto si Totois wa Nairobi”, “Miss B Tosha”, “Bae wa Nairobi”, “Msupa na Kazi”. And “Manzi wa Nai”.
The posture and the slogans seem to suggest that the women are focused on wooing the youth to vote for them, and considering their large numbers, the youth-leaning aspirants may find their way into Parliament. Whether posing like this is orthodox or not is a debate for another day. They are all beautiful, I can give them that, and it seems they expect beauty to translate into votes.
Yes, I know that men too are using tactics to try and destabilize their opponents for the Parliamentary and County Assembly seats, such as kidnapping opponents and kidnapping themselves to win sympathy votes.
The fact that Kenyans are tolerating, and even seeming to like what they are seeing on the posters is enough evidence that the Kenyan electorate has changed drastically over the years. Today’s youth, who make up the majority of voters, have values and norms which are way different from those of older generations.
I can’t wait to see what happens next, when these women get to Parliament. If this happens the August 2017 elections may well turn out to be a beauty contest where the public will have elected the forty seven finalists. We may, thereafter, want to ask Parliament to host a Miss Kenya Parliament Beauty Pageant so as to select Miss Parliament and the runners up.
Yet on the other hand, this may turn out to be sweet relief, where Kenyans shun the ethnicity, party affiliation and other filters and focus on electing suitable candidates on the basis of issues, even if the issue that brings them together is beauty and pose styles.
It is said that ‘the end justifies the means’. What will happen in the end, only time will tell.
Let us hope that apart from beauty, the next Women’s Representative in all counties will effectively play the three crucial roles that are expected of Parliamentarians by the constitution, namely, legislation, representation and oversight.