Shun large families

Calls by some Mt Kenya leaders to families to bear more children have been met with reprisal by proponents of family planning, who argue that couples should have a family that they can provide for.

That the political angle to the controversy—to maintain the region’s hegemony in national politics—is preposterous is not in doubt. What is worrying, however, is that the campaign is driven by prominent leaders who many Kenyans would ordinarily look up to for guidance. Career administrator Joseph Kaguthi, a former Nairobi Provincial Commissioner and head of anti-drug abuse agency Nacada, and Kiambu Woman Rep Gathoni wa Muchomba seem to have taken over from where former Kigumo MP Jamleck Kamau left in 2017 with his Sh2,000 reward for every pregnancy.

But family planning is no longer a choice; it is a necessity. Having a large family that one cannot take care of should not be a source of pride but shame for any right-thinking parent. Parents who follow the misleading advice will only have themselves to blame when, after ‘creating’ more voters and easing politicians’ entry to positions of power, will be abandoned and have to struggle with fending for the children alone.

Leaders should be advising Kenyans to plan their families so that shared amenities and social services can better benefit the children. As Murang’a County Director Health Services Winfred Kanyi said, a country with planned families easily gets it right in planning for services. The country is already struggling with a huge population numbers and growth rates against constrained resources, making life tough for many. The last thing politicians—whom Kenyans have pampered with huge salaries and privileges—should do is mislead the citizenry to defy expert advice to have smaller families.

Such selfish politicians should never be allowed anywhere near a public office.


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