Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Go! and be done with you!

Misogyny, apparently, has not been vanquished from our fair land by the Constitution. The exhortation against discrimination on the basis of sex, among other grounds, seems so much ho-hum when measured against the gubernatorial slap or the senatorial verbal assault. If the men at the highest echelons of our government are unable to see that what they did and what they said is wrong, or that they should ask the good people who elected them for a fresh mandate, then Kenya has many miles to travel before it can truly say that women are the equal of men in every respect. Those that would argue that the women at the receiving end of male assault were to blame, whether for finger-wagging or for pseudo-character-assassination, are wrong on the merits and on the facts.

Dr Evans Kidero has attempted to come across as an erudite and civilised kind of politicians. When measured against his erstwhile gubernatorial challenger, Ferdinand Waititu, Mr Kidero is miles ahead of the Embakasi Brawler. That, at least, was the image that he had cultivated in the nation's broadsheets, TV studios and salons of the chatterati. With a misjudged angry reaction to a finger-wagging-in-your-face incident by Nairobi's Woman Representative, Mr Kidero must struggle to rebuild his much-sullied image. Gideon Mbuvi aka Mike Sonko does not suffer from the image of erudition or civilisation. But his diatribe against a famous radio personality, punctuated with references to four-letter-word career progression, demonstrated that when it comes to the competition for the intellectual soul of the nation, Nairobi's Senator has decided to give that particular arena a very wide berth.

What the actions of the Governor of Nairobi City County and his Senator say about the state of woman liberation in Kenya is a cause for pause. It seems not to matter that, even in the pig-in-mud arena of Kenyan politics, women are truly the equal of men. In a twenty-first century Kenya where more and more women are going to school, graduating from university, running businesses and institutions, and keeping home and hearth together, it is incongruous that men elected to high office will not lead by example by treating even the most disagreeable women with respect, and courtesy. 

This blogger is on the record as thinking that Nairobi's Woman Responsible as being no better than her colleagues in the National Assembly. This blogger thinks that the pseudo-intellectual twaddle peddled by the radio presenter on the receiving end of the Nairobi Senator's assault is one more reason why Kenya is surely doomed to mediocrity and flash-in-the-pan plans of no merit. But despite this blogger's despise for the two women, he knows that it is vital for the soul of the nation that they be given a voice in the national commons. If they make intellectual fools of themselves, so be it. But the masculine reaction cannot a muscularly violent one. If we are to remind Kenyans of the vital place of the views of both men and women in the cause of national growth, Mr Kidero and Mr Mbuvi must resign their positions. if they will not do so willingly, their parties and coalitions must call for their resignations. If their parties or coalitions will not do so, it behooves the champions in the civil society industry to take the matter to the High Court and argue that by the elected representatives' public behaviour, they are in violation of the principles enshrined in Article 10 of the Constitution.

We must send a powerful message to all the girls contemplating a career in the public eye that their nation will stand foursquare behind them when they perform their public duties, even when they make fools of themselves. Men have this guarantee and they have abused it for far too long. It is men that gifted Kenya new words in their lexicon such as Goldenberg, Triton, Maize Scam, and Anglo-Leasing. It is men that demonstrate day after day that school-going girls require armed police to protect them from pederasts and molesters of all shades. It is men that have laid this nation low. It is men who are responsible for the very public death of civility and courtesy, and the celebration of mediocrity and political cant. For the sake of our national soul we must tell Mr Kidero and Mr Mbuvi, "Go! and be done with you!"

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