By Dikembe Disembe
When President Uhuru Kenyatta named six women in his technocratic cabinet, the dynamic duo shattered the glass ceiling for the women. Now, another blogger, the feminist Betty Njoroge, would rather want us to believe the women shattered their own ceilings in a society still suffering from male chauvinism. But I digress.
The little that I know of Raychelle Omamo is that she is not a career soldier. My friends also say she has red peppered eyes, like her boss. But these are observations of haters.
Omamo studied law at the university of Kent. In Kenya’s public service, she was the first woman chair of that elite body of the country’s lawyers, the LSK. She has served as an ambassador to France, the Holy Sea, Portugal and Serbia.
She was at the Ndung’u Land Commission. She saw the Establishment of TJRC and little known task force for the review of Landlords and Tenants legislation.
As to whether these experiences were enough to propel her to the defense helm of a country grappling with an open war on terrorism; that dumbfounds.
Enter Christine Fox, nominated by Barack Obama to head act as the Deputy Â Defense Secretary in a position left vacant by the outgoing occupier, Ash Carter. Fox will be the third civilian in command of the defense hierarchy of the most powerful military on earth, after the Commander in Chief, President Barack Obama and the Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.
Where Raychelle studied law, Fox studied Math and Applied Mathematics.
Where Raychelle served as an ambassador in France, the Vatican, Portugal and Serbia. She has no ambassadorial duty. Not in religious destinations as the Vatican, or international political dumping sites for grown up children of the “known” in Kenya, like in Serbia.
Where Omamo served as LSK Chair, the TJRC formation board, the Landlords and Tenants Legislation task force; Christine Fox first served in the US military as the director of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation (CAPE) for four years, and worked closely with Chuck Hagel ( the Â secretary) on the Pentagonâ€™s Strategic Choices and Management Review.
Prior to this CAPE duty, she was the president of the Center for Naval Analyses, a Naval think tank, and the scientific analyst to the Chief of Naval Operations. Her bioÂ states that she has served as a member of NASAâ€™s Return to Flight Task Group and was a member of the Applied Physics Laboratoryâ€™s Advisory Board.
Since leaving the Pentagon (headquarter of the US military) earlier this year,Â she has been a senior adviser to the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory and remained an unpaid consultant to Carter, whom she is taking over from. Clearly, this is a woman who is already cut for the military.
Unlike Omamo whose appointment is ‘permanent’, (just saying), Fox will act in the capacity of deputy defense secretary for 210 days, after which Obama will make a substantive replacement; or confirm her into the position.
However, it is the stark differences in the training and education of the two women which make their work an interesting study.
One clearly has a career history in the field of military command. The other has none. Both women are highly educated. Both women (will) serve in a profession where male sexism rule all mortals and where, military experience and competence sometimes serve as punching bag when decorated soldiers begin making fun of the civilian heads.
May be, Omamo would have fitted well in the Lands docket. If anything, she was an assisting counsel to the Ndung’u land Commission and understands, more deeply, the intricacies of the “land question” in Kenya. By the way, do we have career military women high up the KDF?
As for defense, I go with Fox.
Dikembe Disembe comments on politics, higher education and ethnicity in Kenya.