EJS had an impressive sweet at the Serena, a posh
EJS sat behind closed door, regally on a plush couch filled with many cushions, wrapped from head to toe in woven blue and white silk. One of her ladies-in-waiting was wearing an outfit made out of cloth with EJS’s face printed on it. This fabric comes in several varieties, and for many an African leader you’ll find people wearing entire head to toe outfits made from cloth printed with their silkscreened portrait. Some are in black and white, some in color, most framed in an oval or circle. This is a level beyond a president on a Tshirt – this is full body representation.
Anyway, after sitting in the lobby for hours and basically ambushing her to get the interview, here it is, or parts of it, at least. The whole thing will be in the East African next week.
And since I got a picture of Paul Kagame too...
There are many women in positions of power but many powerless. What can women in power do for those who are powerless?
We can examine our laws and policies as relates to women to make sure that women have full equal opportunity. We must work with women groups to encourage women to not only seek professional positions but leadership positions at all levels of society. We must find a way to create and broaden the network, particularly in those societies where the laws and the policies restrict women’s rights and participations. We need to reach beyond our own societies and borrow the experiences of others that have done well and share some or our experiences that have done well.
Poverty and things like gender based violence are deeply entrenched. How long will it take for these things to change?
will not make it by 2015 because we have not put in those policies and staid with them long enough.
It strengthened my resolve. I realized this has happened in our society to many others, the unfortunate. And those of us in decision making did not pay attention. Those thrown in prison for mere infringement of the rules, many times stayed in prison for a long time without their cases being heard. It just brought to my attention that those of us who have reached the policy making level must pay much more attention to what’s happening in society. For the purposes for which I was thrown in prison, political activism, it just strengthened my resolve to come out and do even more. To seek the kind of changes I wanted to see. In a way, that has also contributed to who I am today.
What do you think of your nick name, the “Iron Lady?”
I think it comes from the fiscal discipline that I have adhered to over the years in my professional life. So I like it in that respect because it’s a signal to people that because I’m a woman, don’t take me for granted. During the last campaign we tried to soften that, bring the motherly approach. There’s a need for healing in our society, a society that’s suffered so much. That’s why you need to be firm and stern in certain matters, and soft as a mother and grandmother in other matters. That’s why you have the two nicknames that go side by side.
How do you balance your role as a mother, grandmother, woman, and leader?
These days most of my time is spent in professional life. My children are grown and married. I’m a grandmother so I don’t have any true parental responsibilities. I do try and see my sons as much as possible, the time is limited. I do get the opportunity to be with them for awhile.