The Art of the Kenyan Political Wife Part 1

Last time I wrote I talked about finding my happy place, My Idea of a happy place is accepting life as it is and learning to live with my pain. It was all about recreating a happier mental picture and finding the everyday beauty. Well my days are better, I laugh more, I have travelled and I have been reading more. I still have my bad days but honestly, I am happier. It is always nice to sometimes stop and try to live in the moment; a wise lady recently told me that I should not deny myself the low moments, I should accept them, ride the wave and they soon pass away. When we fight the low moments to force ourselves to be okay we tend to get frustrated. Treat the low moments like a visitor, with acceptance knowing soon they will be gone.

Well, for the longest time people have asked me how it feels to be married to a politician, I feel the like political wives are the most misunderstood people around. Disclaimer though, am not an expert. well it’s been about 4 years now. Any political spouses out there who feel they have an addition or feel some certain way about the topic please do write to me. we can keep it anonymous.

When I met my husband, he was already in politics working as an advisor in the office of the prime Minister. I could tell he was going to be active in national politics but I could never have guessed it would be that soon. We took a break shortly after that and life continued for both of us. By then Working at transparency international for the Governance and Policy Programme meant that politics was part of our core business and parliament was one of the institutions we worked with for institutional strengthening and legislative development.

Fast forward to 2014 when we rekindled our romance he was already very active in national politics and I became a political wife. What I never expected was the attention we got around the engagement, wedding and other activities we did that a normal couple does. However, the worst part was being trolled on social media, the snide comments I got from my friends and even family and of course the uncertainty in people’s faces. Of course, there was the obvious issue of the fact that my husband has albinism. To be honest that was never an issue for me so it is not something I would discuss or explain. I was of course afraid of the expectations that came with being a political spouse, expectations that I was not ready to live with and still working on.

My Oxford Dictionary defines a politician as “person engaged or interested in politics” and politics as “science and art of government; political affairs or life or principles etc.” Politics consists of “social relations involving authority and power”. A politician is defined as one who is actively involved in politics or one who holds or seeks a political office. A politician is an individual who is involved in influencing public policy and decision making in government. Politicians are ideally the voices of the people who work hard to improve the people’s welfare. Since politicians play a major role in our everyday affairs it therefore explains the interest in their lives beyond their offices and this includes their families and of course the person they have for a life partner.

We live in a patriarchal society and unfortunately the rules of patriarchy dominate the family; political couples are not an exception. Based on this a political wife is expected to take the back banner and play the role, of a supportive role. I am happy to know numerous wives of politicians who are winning in different spheres of life; I know auditors, magistrates, awesome lawyers (hi Clare), awesome business people just to mention a few. The expectations that political wives face is an impossible set, be pretty but no too pretty, be stylish but not uppity, quit your job, be a people person but not controversial, support your husband regardless. Sometimes people may associate being a political wife with glamour and wealth, others associate them with living in the shadows of your husband well others associate being a political wife with the scandalous side of life, mistresses and various disgraces. Well some of this is true, most of it is wrong.

One thing I know about political wives is that they are women with inner strength, courage and determination that makes then an awesome partner to a politician. However, there is always the reservation on the uncertainty of a politician’s life and career. The hardest thing about being a political spouse is being aware of the fact the politicians calling of service to humanity will always come first. Something that I have slowly learnt and am trying to accept; being married to my husband; that life with a great man is sometimes life without him. And sometimes most times they never really pretend that you will have special claim to his time and attention but this is not say you are unwanted NO. The greatest thing is that when he turns his attention on you, you will have no doubt in his intentions.

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8 Comments on “The Art of the Kenyan Political Wife Part 1

  1. This is a great read. It also must have taken lots of courage to bring this out. Good job!

  2. Great piece over there Mukami. Proud of you and the woman you have become. You are a true inspiration doll.

  3. You never dissapoint Mukami, I’ll save this as a reminder because I love this part and I want to apply. “My Idea of a happy place is accepting life as it is and learning to live with my pain. It was all about recreating a happier mental picture and finding the everyday beauty. ” It’s true a politician wife has to be strong especially with social media.

  4. A great piece. I totally agree with your sentiments. It’s hard to be a spouse to a politician…. Better still taking your position is even harder…. Many a times you have to suppress part of your ambitions to take the “supportive role”….being a young political family is not palatable….. The strength exhibited by political wives is immense….. You stomach many things…. Looking forward to your unpacking….

  5. This is quite a bold move MuQami, i see strenght, commitment, sacrifice and above all being intouch with yourself as a political wife and the ability to have been aware of this your situation and the journey…..we work towards becoming better, wiser everyday.proud of you and keep on learning and acknowldging yourself.

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