It is quite evident that the women presidency fever has emerged and now has a tight grip over the political scene in South Africa, and one can also observe that majority of the ANC’s structures are also heeding to the call. It wouldn’t be that farfetched to say that one can hear a mumble between certain individuals in Swapo, and certain publications trying to develop the exact narrative. However within Swapo, the culture of silence and fear for prejudice holds back the views of those that believe in the cause.
One needs to understand that within many political organizations, women had to fight tooth and nail against the male dominated structures enable to break ranks. Namibia has seen the rise of women in key positions and leaders of government business. It is also observable that Namibia possesses a caliber of women that can lead the country; however the sphere of full bright politics always taken its toll. In the Namibian context, an error made by the establishment was to hire somewhat capable executives to take up presidential advisory roles; the thought was admirable however these executives do not possess the skills to deal with full bright politics. We can define full bright politics, as the process where different political elements such as factionalism, contemporary issues and certain acts determine the political landscape. Why is this analogy important? It plays into the notion that one can’t simply, but must look for individuals that pass through the eye of the needle criteria.
The existing narrative is that women must come and fix what men have broken. In times of need many look to women leaders to come in as unifying candidates to come and unite the political organization and the country. a reality that we must accept in the Namibian context is that the country is divided on whether President Dr.Hage Geingob is delivering and whether he should get a second term, this scenario is accommodating the call for a woman to take over the reins at next congress. The Swapo party women’s league has also made it clear that they will back any female candidate for presidency; this notion by the women’s league is highly flawed. It might come to the point where any female candidate avails herself; however that candidate might not be well placed for presidency. The women’s league needs to focus on ensuring that the crème de la crème of available women leaders get into positions. The women’s league might justify their position by playing the “Women have been marginalized” card. We recognize that women have had their disadvantage share of oppression and unfair inclusion. However this argument still doesn’t justify the need for “any” kind of female leadership. Those that back the narrative of women’s leadership, make it difficult for themselves as they complicate the process of sensitizing the masses.
In RSA, it is easy for one to support Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma in her verge to cling the hot seat, because she speaks out on issues, she let’s known her belief and perspective on many contemporary political issues. One might not always agree with her views, but the fact that she allows one the opportunity to analyze it plays in her favor. On the other hand in Namibia, it becomes very difficult for one to rely on existing women leaders in the establishment, as they are rather num on issues that require their perspective.
It is easy for one to say that they are maneuvering strategically, however the political dynamics have changed as more conscientious and academically oriented youth challenge the establishment. The harm of this perceived “maneuvering strategically” is that only when it is time to tally up to the masses, is when we get to hear the views of these leaders, furthermore one can also analyze that one can’t then take them seriously because at this stage their views are very much systematic and agenda driven.
Mitigating the political sphere
Women leaders in Namibia and around the world owe it to themselves to remain defiant and resist being used in the name of “it is time for female presidency’. For us as Namibians to start taking grip of the possibility of Women Presidency, we need start hearing independent views and perspectives of women leaders in and out of the establishment; it sets the platform for much needed growth of women within the country. When one observes at how revolutionaries embark on change and sensitization, the simple answer is that they let their perspective be known, an engage all forms of criticism on it. Independent perspective development allows one the opportunity to be critical on an intellectual level, and it gives the gallant masses the platform to engage purposefully, this is the kind of growth that the women presidency narrative needs.
It would be easy for die-hard feminists and Feminist radical sympathizers to allude that this opinion piece diminishes the image of women and further intelligently marginalizes them, however from an intellect perspective, this opinion piece looks at factors that influence and hamper the growth of women leadership, and how women can spearhead their own growth in a just and independent manner.
By Dylan Mukoroli
Managing partner at Social Chapter Consulting