First of all, the assertion that we should turn to
African women for leadership because men have failed
in that capacity seems a tad sexist to me. It suggests
that women should only be empowered politically when
men fail, and that, otherwise, their political talent
and abilities could be ignored. In order words, if our
male leaders perform well then there is no need to
have women leaders.
I strongly disagree with such reasoning because; 1)
depending on your perspective, it could mean that
women have an innate capacity to save the day,
politically; and 2) it affirms women as subordinates
to men and as people who should only be stand-bys and
who should only play second fiddle.
Secondly, the notion that women are incapable of
political excess and maladministration is simplistic
and logically flawed. It is an argument that is
founded on absence because African women have largely
not been given a chance to demonstrate their political
competence or lack thereof. It is a logical fallacy to
argue from an absence. Also, while some African female
politicians have performed credibly when put in
political office, others have, like many of their male
counterparts, abused their offices and engaged in
The late Mrs Stella Obasanjo routinely abused her
power as Nigeria's first lady, detaining and
persecuting journalists who criticized her vain
lifestyle and her alleged corrupt practices. Mrs
Kibaki of Kenya is similarly inclined.
Only recently, Mrs. Osomo was sacked as Nigeria's
Housing Minister for corruption.
My point: we cannot gender competence and incompetence
in the political arena. I personally will always
support a female politician who has an appealing
agenda. I will not support her merely because she is a
women or because of the belief that women are innately
disposed to political sensitivity or that they are
incapable of the familiar evils of African politics.