Our future president could be the one we ignore
Posted Saturday, June 2 2012 at 20:00
Late last week we hosted a visiting American senator at the University of Nairobi.
This visit happened in the afternoon after the National Breakfast Prayer meeting, at which the said senator had given the keynote address.
Our event was, as one would expect, much simpler than the one earlier in the day and the reason for it was that the senator did in fact study at our university as an exchange student in 1984.
I must now say that in my estimation he did prove himself as being worthy of having been in Kenya in those years.
His interest in Kenya and in the questions that Africans ask about American involvement in their affairs was quite obvious and rather sincere.
He is the chairman of the senate committee on Africa. Our students took the opportunity to engage the senator and the ambassador and asked all manner of questions.
They were even challenged to state their interest in our elections to which they rightly said that their interest is in a successful electoral process but not in any outcome.
As they addressed their involvement in our human development initiatives, there was an issue that each of the two gave seemingly serious attention and which captured my imagination.
Answering a question from a male student who was questioning the emphasis on support for the girl child, the ambassador said they have come to terms with the fact that if one woman is empowered, it is the whole community that is empowered.
The actual words that he used were that “a woman is a strategic thinker”.
Then the senator talked about women in leadership and said that unlike himself, his 13-year-old daughter who watched Hillary Clinton compete for the presidency will grow up knowing that even a woman can be president of the United States.
Many of us — who have good mothers, sisters, sisters-in-law, and so on — have a problem coming to terms with that proposition.
Incidentally that same evening, I watched President Kibaki admonishing those who are seeking leadership for their own personal gain without knowing that it is God who gives a leader.
Two Sundays ago I said the same thing. The leader of a people is given by God depending on the prevailing circumstances.
Just like we got a chief justice who we would never have expected, may be our future president will be one we ignore.
Father Wamugunda is dean of students and sociology lecturer at the University of Nairobi email@example.com