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Aspiring political leaders should know better than posing nude

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Every human being is entitled to the right to privacy, more so all African societies throughout the world value the dignity of women to the utmost. The past week has seen a frenzy of excitement over the leaked nudes of Rwandan presidential hopeful Diane Rwigara and this episode cannot go unchallenged.

guest column: Shingi Nyahwa

Diane Rwigara
Diane Rwigara

Rwanda as a country has been put into disrepute by this incident. Writing from Zimbabwe, we knew Rwanda as the light bearer on the African continent in participation of women in the politics and this has a detrimental effect on how the Rwandan political system treats its womenfolk.

A few days after Rwigara announced her presidential bid, we saw her nudes being leaked and this must not be seen as just character assassination, but as clear pervasion in broad daylight done by power-hungry old people, who don’t have the decency to respect the privacy of a young woman since they are willing to go to great lengths to stay in power.

As the elections are drawing close, I would urge the Rwandan people not to vote perverts into office. Whoever is liable for leaking those images is a pervert and does not deserve to be in power, hence, the people of Rwanda must be very aware of the identities of these perverts.

Diane Rwigara dared to demystify the crude Rwandan politics by exercising her right to run for the presidency under the shadow of the almighty President Paul Kagame and this is a remarkable feat considering she is just a young lady.

Regardless of all these attempts to assassinate her character, Rwigara resonates with a new generation of young passionate African leaders all over the continent, who are demanding the space to take the initiative and solve contemporary issues, which the likes of Kagame have failed to address in their tenure.

The main reason that she has managed to gain popularity is the simple fact that she is ushering in a new dispensation of political leadership in Rwanda, which is in touch with the realities of the day like poverty, clean water, hunger and land. These have helped in modelling her constantly growing popularity and approval rating among the Rwandan people.

Rwanda, as most African countries, is a very conservative society. As such, the nudes scandal presents a unique opportunity for the people of the country to debate issues like stalking, cyber bullying and victimisation of women for who they are.

It is quite unfortunate that most of the time only women are victimised in nude picture scandals but no one talks of the man who took the picture or about who she was with.

As much as I am not condoning nudity, it is indeed essential that we look into these issues using an all-round perspective and not seeing the ladies as the criminals.

Politics, as a game, has principles and it is extremely disturbing to note the assault of the character of Rwigara by these female-stalking sexual predators. This hullabaloo by the Rwandan government in falling even to condemn the leakers leaves a lot to be desired on their part and can prove them as equally guilty.

The 21st century is all about equality and respect for the dignity of the woman and failure by any political leaders to uphold these values warrants them disqualification from holding any form of public office since they will be a menace, if not monsters, to society.

As a political analyst, this fiasco can also work to the advantage of Rwigara if it’s properly managed since she can be able to play the pity card and draw out the sympathy of the Rwandan people as a victim in this scenario.

However, the biggest and most crucial piece of advice to all those who aspire to be public leaders and, most importantly, Rwigara, is you need to avoid over-excitement during your sequestered moments and take images of yourself in compromising situations.

In this technological age, you never know where they might end; and even if you delete them completely, they can be recovered quite easily for the right price. These nudes scandals have led to the demise of the political careers of many prominent politicians globally, hence, it is important to safeguard yourselves.

Shingirai Nyahwa is a Zimbabwean social-political analyst and also a blogger; follow him on Twitter@SNyahwa

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