Champions of governance
• The Institute of Certified Public Secretaries of Kenya (ICPSK) in year 2010 partnered with other like-minded organizations in the design and implementation of an Award for excellence in Governance, the “ICPSK Champions of Governance Award.”
• The Award was inaugurated in November 2010 and the Institute will be holding the third edition of the Award during a Gala Night event on Friday, October 12.
• All organisations are eligible to participate in this Award. Participation demonstrates that an organization is keen about good governance practices and that its business transactions are above board.
By Macharia Kamau
Catherine Musakali answers to the title chairman. Not because she is seeking equality but because politically correct terms like chairperson are yet to be embedded in the institutional memory of the body she chairs given that all previous chairs have been men.
She also answers to the title because the law that created the body makes reference to the term chairman unlike other Acts that provide for chairperson. She quips that perhaps at the time, it was never imagined that a woman would one day chair the Institute.
In May, Musakali was elected to chair the Institute of Certified Public Secretaries of Kenya (ICPSK), a body created by an Act of Parliament in 1988 to push for good governance among public and private sector organisations.
But in the first few months of her chairing the institute, she has had to grapple with the title of chairman that is entrenched in the minds of members as well as the Act that created the Institute.
Other than that, there is the chairman’s chain of office that was donated to the Institute by a previous chairman and one that is physically too ‘manly’ for the comfort of many women.
“The Act makes reference to a chairman and it has been natural to make reference to the chairman. There are arguments that the term is gender sensitive and can be applied to a person of either gender while there are some members who feel the term chairperson is more appropriate,” she said.
“I have no problem with both titles and I will answer to either. However, I think that it is an area that we could re-look at especially if it makes some of the members uncomfortable.”
“The chain of office is quite manly and again there are some views that we should change it to be more gender neutral. For me, it is about what it represents, the roles and responsibilities of the person in that office.”
The political correctness aside, one might argue that tenure would be an unenviable one. She is coming into office when there is what can be termed as an unusually high number of poor governance cases in the public and private sector.
The number of institutions whose directors and management are accused of mismanagement brings to fore the question whether ICPSK has delivered on its role of promoting good governance.
“What has changed in Kenya is that people have become more aware of their rights and are demanding good governance from all institutions both public and private,” she said.
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