- Posted January 14, 2013 by
johanesburg, South Africa
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Impact Your World
Patriachy in Feminist Movements?
Nairobi has fond memories for women’s and feminist movement, having been the centre of the adoption of progressive policies by nation states, right from the Nairobi foward looking strategies that paved way for the Beijing Platform for Action. At the centre of the push towards gender, development and peace for the 21st Century was FEMNET, a respected network of women-individuals and organizations. The founder members of the organization envisioned a communication network that would galvanize women in the continent towards emancipation from the clutches of patriachy, violence and inequality.
This legacy today is called into question.
We have come across Communication from the Chairperson publically terminating the Contract of the Executive Director. One Member asks "why do NGOs hire in private, interview in private and then fire in public"?. The conversations further reveal that the termination email with attachments seem only to tell one side of the story. It is yet unclear why the Executive Director whose details have been laid bare infront of the world has yet to defend herself against such massive allegations.
However, consensus emanating from the now public emails reveal that the correspondence seem to reflect a growing frustration in the manner in which the termination was handled. It is our view that the this is the worst case an organization can handle a crisis such as Name calling by organization's office bearers etc
The correspondence obtained are part of evidence deliberated by the Court in Kenya and have therefore not been disputed by any of the parties.
The attachment reflect our findings from the documents obtained by our sources.
As this process unfolds, it speaks to a high level of impunity, disregard to the rule of law. With a Court Ruling in place, having been affirmed initially through a ex-parte injunction, then a full hearing: a Contempt of Court is a matter that should not be taken lightly especially for an organization that seeks to fight for the rights of women. Documentary evidence suggests that the organization is held hostage by two board members. The Court Ruling attached even suggest that the Judge had isolated "we" in decision making as two of these members. The Chair and the Resident Trustee (Names withheld).
The firing of the ED in this manner as emails and emails refer to as inhumane and one sided. It seems that these actions are isolated and such individuals must be held to Account.
Impunity in all its forms must be challenged: how different is this ‘leading’ FEMINIST organizations from the governments that it challenges. If this is the form of leadership and treatment to any of its movement members, moreso, to the individual charged with leading the day-to-day running of is affairs? Members and comments that we read from the lists suggest a disgust on the handling of the matter, as we develop this article, some members are suggesting to be removed from the list.
Incidentally, FEMNET according to their website is celebrating 25 Years of its existence this year. What a way to mark their achievements!
Is this the Feminist Fifth wave? Will the movement engender transformative leadership within? Where does such leaders find legitimacy? Where are the real women leaders?
Our assessment of the earlier situation seems to be confirmed by a letter now in circulation from the staff members. The Board of FEMNET requires some serious soul searching, as outlined by one member communique. Impuniity does exist in NGOs, it rears its head in the most ugliest of ways.
See Staff Letter - Click link: Secretariat Letter