Heckling of Ida in Meru was uncalled for

Ida Odinga

Mrs Ida Odinga addressing Catholic Women Association prayer meeting in Meru town on March 26, 2022.

Photo credit: File I Nation Media Group

Mama Ida Odinga, the wife of former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, was heckled by her fellow women on Saturday, when she graced the Catholic Women Association prayer day in Meru County, despite being an invited guest at the event. I condemn that act in the strongest terms.

Mama Ida tried to make her remarks but the hostile crowd refused to be addressed by her. She pleaded with the women at their celebration of the Annunciation that she is a mother like them. But the crowd grew hostile with heckles and chants filling the air.

The Meru people are known to be very welcoming and kind. Having gone to the Kenya Methodist University (KeMU) Meru campus,I interacted with many people in the county who were very welcoming and families that were ready to host us, students, in their homes. So when l saw that clip of Ida being heckled,l was both sad and shocked.

Women drowned out her voice. Even pleas by the MC, a reverend Sister, could not deter them. There are allegations that there were other people in the crowd. They were moving among the crowd, making noise and inciting some of the Catholic women. That should be investigated and whoever is responsible  punished.

Tolerance

The Catholic Church advocates peace and tolerance; it even has an organisation called Peace and Justice, which advocates equality for every human being. Why insults when we need peaceful campaigns and elections?

Let women be respected, regardless of their position in society. The heckling was uncouth and uncalled for. Immature even. Why would you invite someone to your function and then you don’t want them to speak?

Those who heckled Ida sank to the ocean floor. Let them pick fights and political theatrics with her husband, the Azimio la Umoja presidential candidate. Let them ponder this: Were Ida their wife, what would they have done at that time? They have mothers, and must know that she should not be judged by her husband’s failures, real or imagined.

Church function

The women would have known that this was a church function and not a political rally. Men don’t fight women in public; that was stooping too low. Other churches cannot allow such shame. Let this be the first and last time a woman is shamed because of her family background—political or not.

The Catholic doctrine advocates for tolerance of other people and their faith. Let Meru Catholic Women Association tender an apology to mama Ida and such a thing should not happen again.

The Catholic Church’s social teaching on human dignity is, “We believe that every person is precious”. The church proclaims that human life is sacred and the dignity of the human person is the foundation of a moral vision for society. 1Jn 4:7 says, “Let us love one another, because love is of God”. I wonder if their prayers were accepted by God.

Veronica Onjoro, Mombasa

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