Politicians work best in the dead of night. Witch-hunting, political gossip and shifting alliances are peddled in ungodly hours and looming elections lead to sleepless nights and scheming.
This leaves many spouses in cold sheets, empty beds and unfulfilled desires.
For some politicians though, their dwindling fortunes and uncertainty of re-election have not been helped by the empty, cold beds.
But just as men leave behind grumbling wives, so do fire-spitting women politicians, who also leave disgruntled husbands who have to come to terms with their wives spending days on end with mafisi on the campaign trail.
Indeed, it is emerging that while away from their families on these campaign trails, some female politicians use this period as an opportunity to spark up their sex lives and get back their groove. Their husbands have to contend with reading and seeing their ‘Jubilated’ or ‘Naswad’ wives in the media.
This takes a toll on most marriages, as is the case with one female politician from Nyanza. The politician started small and was barely known when she won her parliamentary seat, but her hubby shocked her constituents when he openly said that her political leanings are dividing the family.
Top party honchos are preaching ‘the six piece gospel’ when in reality, his family agreed that they should not support ‘incompetent politicians.’
But the public speculated that there was more than met the eye. Since her political star began rising, her hubby has been complaining of seeing less of her and that their marriage was a shadow of its former self.
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Those close to the two whisper that top of the man’s grievances is lack of conjugal rights.
So, how do female politicians juggle between family and politics. How to they appease their husbands besides dealing with suspicions of infidelity?
Atieno Otieno, the only female candidate for Kisumu Governor’s seat intimated that one’s “family is never worth sacrificing because of politics,” and that for a woman, it is hard juggling between being a wife and a politician.
“The problem with some of us is that we (women politicians) still think we are legislators when we go home. No! At home, you must be submissive and humble and seek the support and permission of your husband. Take care of your family first,” she advises, adding that she ensures she is in Nairobi every weekend to be with her husband and children, no matter how gruelling the demands of the campaigns are.
Atieno says that while challenges and temptations are many, “discipline is paramount for any woman venturing into politics. You must earn your partner’s trust.”
Veteran politician Phoebe Asiyo, the former MP for Karachuonyo, says that many a time, female politicians get ultimatums from their husbands demanding that they choose between politics or their marriages.
“One lady approached me and confided that her husband is planning to marry a second wife because he no longer trusts her and says she is so engrossed in campaigns, yet he wants more children,” recalls Asiyo. She acknowledged that being on the campaign trail can be “very trying” and issues not only rise from the husband, but also from the in-laws, especially, mothers-in-law.
“It could be a tragedy for this country if the current breed of female politicians engage in ungodly and less dignifying things to get ahead in politics. But I believe only a few individuals indulge in such things, with a majority being disciplined, genuine and have serious political agenda,” says Asiyo. She challenges men to support their spouses, just like women do when it is their husbands who are in politics.
Daisy Amdany, a political analyst, says female political aspirants and candidates must be on same page with their husbands and not be easily intimidated as “stories will often emerge and allegations be made and the only solution is to have a strong bond and good relationship with your spouse.”
Husbands of female politician having trust issues, while others complain that their wives are distant, are marital matters that affect all marriages at some point, explains Amdany.
Cynthia Wambui Otieno, a pastor and relationship coach, says a woman who wants to join politics needs to evaluate her value system, because at the end of the day, the marriage will last longer than the political campaigns.
She also emphasises on the importance of communication which involves compromise and negotiation.
“One should seriously consider if that is the road she wants to take, knowing it might isolate her from the family,” the pastor cautions.