GENDER PROGRAMME: ENHANCING WOMEN’S POLITICAL LEADERSHIP IN 2017 ELECTIONS.

STRATEGIES FOR PREPARING FOR POLITICAL OFFICE

The fundamental objective of the majority of women that engage in politics is not only to gain power but also to use the leadership position to advance and provide desired services or goods to the constituent group that they purport to represent. Women are every bit as capable of being political leaders as men yet they continue to be marginalised in many areas of society, especially in the sphere of leadership and decision making. Melinda Gates appropriately stated that a woman with a voice is by definition a strong woman but the search to find that voice can be remarkably difficult. In the quest to find their voice in political circle, it is imperative that women prepare themselves sufficiently to run for political office.

 It is important for women to connect with community leaders and get involved in local community initiatives and course to enable them understand the issues that that affect the community and how to address them. It is also imperative to set up a political team to help in formulating and implementing the strategies needed to win an election.

The following are the crucial aspects that one needs to deliberate on while preparing to run for political office;

  • Presentation in terms of personal branding and personal presentation
  • Public Speaking
  • Dealing with propaganda
  • Boosting confidence

 

  • Presentation

Personal presentation

In the action arena a person is judged by appearance. How a person presents herself tells whether the person:

  • Cares about him/herself and what he/she thinks about themselves.
  • Pays attention to details
  • Conduct themselves in a professional manner
  • Is capable of communicating their ideas effectively

Often all that people initially have to consider in deciding whether to pay attention is the external presentation of a person.

Personal Branding

Personal branding describes the process by which individuals differentiate themselves and stand out from a crowd by identifying and articulating their unique value position. It enhances their recognition as experts in their field, establishes reputation and credibility to advance their careers as well as build confidence.

Personal brand helps to communicate what one stands for (competencies and qualities), what one is committed to (standards) and how an individual presents themselves to others.

 Components of a personal brand.

The components of a personal brand include:

  1. Appearance in terms of body language, clothing attire and overall posture.
  2. Personality which espouses personal behaviour, communication skills and attitude towards people.
  • Competencies which is comprises special skills needed to fulfil tasks allotted
  1. Differentiation in terms of what separates an individual from others and leaves a lasting impression in the minds of others.

The most important aspects of personal branding include development of a logo, colour themes, nick name, dress code, and walking habits among others.

  • Public Speaking

Public speaking is the process or act of performing a speech to a live audience. This type of speech is structured, with the general purpose to inform and to persuade. It is commonly understood as formal, face to face speaking of a single person to a group of listeners. Public speaking must be contrasted with casual conversation. In casual conversation the language is not formal although it may be used to inform or persuade, mostly it is used for entertainment. Public speaking on the other hand is more structured and generally takes on a more formal language. The audience does not engage with the speaker. It takes careful planning and research.

A good public speaker is one who:

  1. Has a definite agenda or issues to address
  2. Reads the mood of the audience (voters) before selecting the best approach to share the targeted agenda/issues
  • Projects his/her voice
  1. Dresses appropriately for the occasion
  2. Handles criticism, propaganda in a strategic way.

 

  • Dealing with propaganda

Propaganda is information, especially of a biased nature used to promote or publicise a particular political party or point of view. The word propaganda is often used in a negative sense especially for politicians who make false claims to get their way. In fact any campaign that is used to persuade can be called propaganda.

 

  • Boosting confidence

People who are successful have confidence in their ability to achieve their goals. They project that confidence and it inspires other people to work with them and trust in their capabilities. Although they have their moments of doubt they believe in themselves, their vision and their ability to accomplish it. We don’t need to set out to do something major. We just need to stick with it until we achieve success. This builds our confidence and allows us to tackle the next challenge.

 

 

LEADERSHIP AND ELECTIVE POSITIONS

The constitution includes specific qualifications for and the means to regulate leadership. Chapter six emphasizes that public trust is basis for leadership and authority given to state or public officials.

This means that the people assign authority to a leader. This makes the leader a custodian of this authority.  In this regard, citizens are responsible for directing how the State exercises its authority.  This includes determining the requirements of those who seek leadership and the type of actions that disqualify people from leadership positions.

    Chapter six of the Constitution exists to ensure that the priority of a leader is service to the nation. As such, a leader is an instrument of service in the constitution and not a means of personal enrichment or pride.

 

Guiding principles of leadership and integrity.

The Constitution revolutionizes the standard of leadership of public and state officers by placing a strong emphasis on the importance of exercising honesty, transparency, and integrity

It stresses that the responsibility of representing the people of Kenya is a privilege and that individuals who fill this role must be dedicated to express their gratitude by ensuring that their actions meet moral standards expressed in the Constitution. The principle of leadership and integrity in the constitution, therefore, should serve as guidelines for citizen to consult when electing their representatives.

 

The leadership and Integrity Act (No. 19 of 2012, assented to on 27 August 2012, establishes procedures and mechanisms for the effective administration of Chapter six of the Constitution.

The Act also provides a general Leadership and Integrity code for State Officers, which covers like issues citizenship, public trust, and financial integrity. Furthermore, the Act addresses personal behavioral issues of state officers like impartiality, bullying, and conduct of private affairs. It also outlines specific enforcement measures and penalties to ensure all state officers follow the Code.

The Act has two schedules: the first Schedule includes a             “Self –Declaration Form” that must be completed by state officer, and the second Schedule, which gives a list of “interests” that state officers should disclose publicly. This includes any existing contracts for goods and services held by a state officer, directorship in public or private companies, and land or property in their possession

 

Article 75(1) of the Constitution of Kenya 2010 stipulates that “State officer shall behave, whether in public and official life, in private life, or in association with other persons, in a manner that avoids

  • Any conflict between personal interests and public or official duties;
  • Compromising any public or official interest in favour of a personal interests; or
  • Demeaning the office that the officer holds”.

 Article 76 explicitly prohibits state officers from absorbing financial contributions from having a bank account outside country, and from receiving loans that can potentially interfere with the integrity required of a state officer. There are several prohibited activities of state officers outlined in Article 77 of the Constitution. State officers may not pursue or accept any other form of employment or occupy any leadership position in a political party. The intent of Article 77 is to ensure a state officer remains focused solely on serving citizens in a manner that demonstrates honesty, integrity, and accountability.

 

ELECTORAL POSITIONS

There are six elective positions in Kenya namely President, Member of Parliament, Governor, Member of County Assembly, Senator and Women Representative.

Qualifications for Presidential Candidate:

  • A Kenyan citizen by birth
  • Of sound mind
  • A registered voter
  • Qualified to stand for election as a member of Parliament
  • Nominated by a political party
  • Is an independent candidate nominated by not fewer than two thousand voters from each of a majority of the counties.
  • A degree holder from a university recognized by Kenya
  • Satisfies the requirements of Chapter Six of the Constitution

 

Qualifications for Member of Parliament

  • Be a registered voter;
  • Hold a post-secondary qualification;
  • Satisfy moral and ethical requirements set by the Constitution and relevant Acts of Parliament;
  • Nominated by a Political Party or to be an independent candidate nominated by at least 1,000 registered voters from the constituency where he/she is contesting for the National Assembly

According to the Constitution, the following will disqualify a person from being a parliamentary candidate:

  • Is  a State or public officer, other than a member of Parliament;
  • Was  a member of the IEBC in the last 5 years before the election date;
  • Has not been a citizen for at least 10 years before the election date;
  • Is of unsound mind;
  • Has been declared bankrupt;
  • Has been sentenced to at least 6 months in prison at the time of registering as a candidate or the date of elections; or
  • Has been found to have misused or abused a State or public office.

 

Roles of Members of the National Assembly.

  • Represent the people of the constituencies and special interests;
  • Deliberate on and resolve issues of concern to the people;
  • Enact legislation in accordance with the Constitution;
  • Determine the allocation of national revenue between the levels of government, as provided in the Constitution;
  • Appropriate funds for expenditure by the national government and other State organs;
  • Exercise oversight over national revenue and its expenditure;
  • Review the conduct in office of the President, the Deputy President and other State officers and initiate the process of removing them from office (impeachment), if necessary;
  • Exercise oversight of State organs; and
  • Approve declarations of war and extends of states of emergency.

Qualifications for gubernatorial Candidate.

  • Be a Kenyan citizen
  • Be of sound mind
  • Be a registered voter
  • Be qualified to stand for election as Governor
  • Be nominated by a political party
  • Is an independent candidate endorsed by at least two thousand voters from the county of his/her interest
  • Be eligible for election as a member of the county assembly
  • Must possess a degree from a university recognized in Kenya
  • Satisfy the requirements of Chapter Six of the Constitution

Roles of the governor

A county governor has general roles and responsibilities, which include:

  • Acting as the head of the county executive;
  • Being in charge of all county services;
  • Appointing the county executive committee with the approval of county assembly; and
  • Appointing town committees and municipal boards for towns and municipalities within the county area.

Qualifications For County Assembly Candidate

  • Be a Kenyan citizen
  • Be of sound mind
  • Be a registered voter
  • Be qualified to stand for election as a member of the County Assembly
  • Be nominated by a political party, or is an independent candidate
  • Be eligible for election as a member of the County Assembly
  • Satisfy the requirements of Chapter Six of the Constitution
  • Possess post-secondary school education

Qualifications for Senate Candidate

  • Be a Kenyan citizen
  • Be of sound mind
  • Be a registered voter
  • Be qualified to stand for election as Senator
  • Be nominated by a political party
  • Is an independent candidate endorsed by at least two thousand voters from within the county of interest
  • Be eligible for election as a member of the senate
  • Must possess Post-secondary education
  • Satisfy the requirements of Chapter Six of the Constitution

 Roles of a Senator

  • Represent the counties, and serve to protect the interests of the counties and their governments;
  • Participate in the law-making function of Parliament by considering, debating and approving Bills concerning counties, as provided for in the Constitution;
  • Determine the allocation of national revenue among counties, as provided in the Constitution;
  • Exercise oversight over national revenue allocated to the county governments; and
  • Participate in the oversight of State officers by considering and determining any resolution to remove the President or Deputy President from office in accordance with the Constitution.