Kenya searches for ‘first woman president’

Saturday June 9 2018

Delegates at a women’s conference in Nairobi. PHOTO | NMG

Delegates at a women’s conference in Nairobi. PHOTO | NMG 

By VICTOR KIPROP
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As political and legal efforts to achieve gender equality and have more women in leadership positions build up across the world, a reality TV show in Kenya aims to take the conversation further, by encouraging debate around the concept of “women as leaders” in order to promote gender equality and women leadership.

Dubbed Ms President, the 26-episode reality TV show is premised on the original series by the Palestinian Ma’aan Television Network’s highly popular reality TV programme The President, which involved choosing a young Palestinian to be the next president of Palestine.

The series in Kenya will be produced by Media Focus on Africa with funding from the European Union.

The series will showcase intelligent and articulate women who can make good “presidential candidates,” with the aim of increasing the chances of women in Kenya taking up leadership positions.

“We are not looking for beauty queens, we are looking for women who are leaders. It’s not just putting women on TV but putting them through leadership training and mentorship,” said Frenny Jowi, the project officer at Media Focus on Africa.

Successful applicants will be provided with leadership training and mentorship as part of a peace building initiative that also seeks to demonstrate that women can play a key role in preventing the spread of violent extremism.

Women aged between 20 and 70 with a minimum secondary school qualification have until July 27 to apply to be featured in the reality show which will culminate in the crowning of Kenya’s ‘Ms President.’ Application forms can be requested through [email protected]

“The women who make it into the programme must be the best version of us. We would like to work with all the women that will apply for the programme as the Ministry of Gender,” said Lydiah Mathia, advisor to Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Public Service, Youth and Gender. 

Despite having excellent laws with provisions for ensuring fair representation of women, youth, persons with disabilities and ethnic minorities, Kenya still trails other African nations in terms of having women in leadership positions.