These G10 women are smarter than we think

Saturday May 2 2009

By MUTAHI NGUNYI

Last Sunday, I said a new political order is coming. And that we will recognise it when “stupid” ideas hit our politics. My point was simple: if an idea is not “stupid” it will not fly. If people do not laugh and tease it, it will surely die.

Then the “sex boycott” by G10 hit the market. We have done nothing but laugh at it. In fact, we see it as the only “stupid” idea in town. And because we are blind, we have failed to recognise its power. Now it has become a virus.

Unseen to all, it has entered our system without warning. It is spreading silently, slowly but viciously. Everywhere, people are talking about it. Some are irritated, others fascinated. Bottom line: we have been outwitted. These women are smarter than we think. Consider the reasons with me.

For starters, this boycott is not about biology. To think so is to miss the point. In fact, and to console the men, national “sex activity” went up because of the boycott. And what is more, maybe G10 likes it that way.

If this is true, we must conclude the following; they used reverse psychology on us. But how so? On a normal day, and according to statistics, a man thinks about sex 12 times an hour.

This situation degenerates if he is idle. Then it explodes if he is challenged sexually. The question, therefore, is this: Did G10 capitalise on this weakness?

Did they build their strategy around the possible explosion? Maybe they did. And if so, their intention was to irritate, annoy and frustrate. But as we responded in anger, they collected their desired results.

As we aggressed them, they built a profile. From our mockery, an unknown group gained recognition locally and internationally. My hunch? This is all they wanted.

But I am fascinated by three other “stupid” elements of the G10 strategy. One, these women do not understand politics. In Kenya, tribes do not mix. And to mix them is to be a heretic. G10 has mixed the tribes without “mercy”.

The Kikuyus are kissing the Luos; the Somalis are hugging the Luhyas. This unity of tribes is unacceptable: it does not have the permission of the principals! And if this is our thinking, we are damn lost.

Maybe the unity of our nation will be achieved by our women. I say so because “…people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who actually do it”.

These women are crazy to think they will unify us. And maybe they will. As they push their unity agenda, the complaining country should remember this: “…man who says it cannot be done should not interrupt man doing it!” If the G10 women are doing it, the cowardly men should not interrupt. After all, what have they done to save the country?

Two, and from the media reports, G10 is “stupid” because it does not have a leader. It does not have a strong woman like Martha Karua to push its agenda. It is just a coalition of simple mothers and their daughters. And it is this “simpleness” that makes it powerful and revolutionary.

Ms Karua is a lone ranger; a “one-manist”. But as the Luo proverb goes: “…if you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go with others”. Ms Karua will go fast, but she will not go far.

Formless movement

If maintained, the collective and diverse leadership of this G10 will take them far. Because they have no leader, they are formless. To a rigid mind, a formless movement is “stupid”.

But in realpolitik, it is powerful and scary. In other words, G10 is “guerrilla marketing” its politics. And so long as we cannot understand its formless, leaderless structure, the movement will grow.

Three, their strategy is “stupid” because it is raw and they are weak. I watched one of them break down in tears during a press conference. At first I was scandalised. But the more I thought of it, the more I was persuaded by their raw sincerity and weakness. It reminded me of a book known as Subliminal Seduction.

According to this book, we seduce people with our weakness, never with our strengths. Our weaknesses make others feel superior to us. And once this is achieved, defences are lowered and persuasion begins.

The fact that these G10 women are nondescript, non-threatening and weak is politically “stupid”. But given our conditions, it is seductive and powerful. More so, their use of feminine power!

The question, however, is: will they tire? Will they run the full course? I have no idea. But they have no option. And this is best illustrated by a story from the Holy Bible.

Four lepers were stuck outside the gate of a city called Samaria. They needed food badly. If they went back into the city, they would die. And if they sat at the gate of the city, they would also die. Their only option was to match into the enemy camp in Syria and gamble for food. However, this was also problematic.

If they matched into enemy camp, the Syrians would kill them. Then again, they might spare them. And so they decided to gamble.

As they headed for the camp, their footsteps sounded like a huge force of cavalry. This scared the Syrian king and his troops. He had to take off and abandon camp. When the four lepers reached the edge of the camp, it was empty. Their gamble had paid off!

This is what G10 should do. They can either retreat to the gate of the city and starve to death, or decide to soldier on. And, like the lepers discovered, once they took the first step, God made their footsteps sound like the roar of a huge force.

In sum, the enemy is not always as strong as we think he is. If this is true, the G10 gamble could just pay off. But will they tire and give up? I pray not!

MrNgunyi is a political scientist with the Consulting House, a policy and security think-tank for the Great Lakes region and West Africa; [email protected]