Just when we were having a sigh of relief- that benevolent men were beginning to appreciate the indispensable role and participation of women in politics, leadership and issues of national discourse, we are shocked with the show of shame at a mere Ward Congress and the Primaries of the ruling political party in Africa’s most populous nation a few days ago. With the exception of a few locations, the exercise was marred by thuggery and ruffian-ism. It witnessed uncouthness, yelling, throat-grabbing, vituperations, snatching and hijacking of papers, throwing down of chairs, and rowdiness that contradicts any concept of human decency.
Amidst the whole fracas, only one woman could be spotted at the scene of the exercise. Women, even if they were participants, were alienated from the event. This is a very worrisome development. The continuation of unrestrained thuggery by male politicians is a threat to all inclusiveness and equitable balanced participation that should feature inclusion of women.
Women are fair creatures. They are more gentle, delicate and inhibited. They, by design cannot participate in misdemeanour and shameless behaviour that characterize the politics and electoral processes of today. Are the men trying to say that politics which opens the door to national leadership and governance is the exclusive reserve of people with brawn and brawl?
Do we not agree that the role of women in political leadership has become imperative as well as salutary and redemptive? How can female politicians fare in the ugly show of unrestrained ruffian-ism, thuggery, throwing of punches and throwing down of chairs? These questions should agitate our minds. Male politicians should balance their wild unregulated emotions with reason, cool-headedness and exemplary decency- at the polling booths and all political rostrums.
If the narratives of leadership in Africa is to change, if gender equality and equity is to be achieved on time, then the female inclusion in politics and leadership should not only be in words but in deeds. And the environment for that change and growth that Africa desperately needs is one where peace thrives freely.