High number of women MPs meaningless because they are just playing second fiddle
Posted Monday, October 14 2013 at 01:00
Christopher Kayumba’s “Rwanda’s record number of women MPs reflects the death of patriarchy” in The EastAfrican (September 28-October 4, 2013) is grossly misleading. Mr Kayumba is obsessed with the high number of women MPs in Rwanda, asserting that it is an unprecedented feat that should go down in the Guinness Book of Records.
To argue that this redefines women as political actors in post-genocide Rwanda is simply loaded political correctness. His argument oversimplifies Rwandan women success in politics vis-à-vis patriarchy. In developing democracies, men generally use women as ladders to serve their populist agenda.
Which is why, women are usually content to play the second fiddle in the male-dominated political structure. They clearly do not take advantage of their numerical strength to form viable alternative to challenge the typical impunity at the highest office.
Kayumba inadvertently plays into stereotypical profiling that marks women as mere statistics to amplify their symbolic and marginal roles in politics. No wonder Kayumba shoots himself in the foot by implicitly suggesting that women should be grateful to the patriarchs for granting them visibility. Number is not the sole determinant of the political conscience of a country. Women should step out of men’s shadows and begin to take their destiny in own hands.