Why Martha Karua Doesn’t Like The Nickname ‘Iron Lady’

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Azimio la Umoja One Kenya presidential candidate Raila Odinga’s running mate Martha Karua has said she does not like the now popular nickname ‘Iron Lady,’ which she was christened due to her political intrigues.

Karua says the moniker, which many attribute to her no-nonsense attitude during her three-decade tenure in government, is a misrepresentation of her gender.

Speaking during an interview with CNN’s Larry Madowo, the Narc Kenya party boss opined that the nickname is misogynistic to the feminine gender in a perceived male-dominated society.

“I think that nickname in a way speaks to the misogyny within society. Strength is not perceived as female, strength is perceived as male,” she said.

Odinga picked Karua as his running mate in his quest for the presidency in next week’s elections, a move that was seen as having been meant to woo the female votes and bridge the gender gap as well as capture the Mt. Kenya voting bloc.

Political pundits also opine that Karua could easily ascend to the presidency after the end of Odinga’s tenure.

Asked whether the country is ready for a female Head of State, Karua said: “That question suggests that women ought not to be on the ballot because I have never heard anyone question whether Kenyans are ready for yet another male, so that question in itself is discriminatory Kenya is ready for women at all levels.” 

Despite the government advocating for a two-third gender rule in recent years, many of the political seats in the country are still held by men.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) is also pushing for adherence to the law and has directed all political parties to implement the directive in the August polls.

If political outfits meet the required threshold, them out of 290 Member of Parliament positions, not more than 193 candidates can be of the same gender while for the Senate, not more than 31 out of the 47 should be of the same gender.

In the 2017 election, women held only 23 per cent of seats in Parliament, the least in East Africa.


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