Poverty borne of poor leadership is the real insult to Kenyan women

Kapseret MP Oscar Kipchumba Sudi (2nd left).

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • An insult is therefore an offence given in word and deed.
  • To abuse is to treat with cruelty, especially regularly or repeatedly.
  • Disrespect, scorn, abuse and cruelty are components of violence.

Going by the recent travails of certain viongosi kutoka bonde la ufa, it has now been established beyond all controversy that insulting mothers is a cardinal taboo in our Republic. This is actually great news and we must all be tremendously chuffed.

We must also go beyond the hunting and grounding of a couple of MPs and take the sanctions mandated by this taboo seriously, and to their full logical extent. We must dissolve Parliament. Yes; both houses thereof, and send all MPs, back to the village for insulting our mothers vehemently, scurrilously, rabidly and persistently. Please ask me, “Why?”

To insult, according to clever people, is to speak to or treat with disrespect or scornful abuse. An insult is therefore an offence given in word and deed. To abuse is to treat with cruelty, especially regularly or repeatedly. Disrespect, scorn, abuse and cruelty are components of violence.

Apart from assaulting the person, insults and abuses injure a person’s dignity. Poverty does that too. Poverty, which is spawned by bad governance and corruption, disproportionately victimises vulnerable groups – children, the elderly, people with disability and women.

It renders them powerless in all ways and thus vulnerable to further abuse, especially through deprivation, as well as disease, starvation, stigma and contempt. Smith and Todaro’s Economic Development, 12th edition, captures these poignant voices.

“When one is poor, she has no say in public, she feels inferior. She has no food, so there’s famine in her house; no clothing, and no progress in her family.” (A poor woman from Uganda.)

“For a poor person everything is terrible – illness, humiliation, shame. We are cripples; we are afraid of everything; we depend on everyone. No one needs us. We are like garbage that everyone wants to get rid of.” (A blind woman in Moldova.)


As a result, poverty is the ultimate injustice because the power to free its victims exists, but has been captured and perverted. Such poisonously chauvinistic manifestations as the systemic sabotage of women’s right of participation in democracy and governance, in state and society, are proof of this perversion.

There is no evidence whatsoever that our Parliament ever seriously considered devoting more than three brain cells to unshackling our country from the frightful primitivity of thought that cheerfully tolerates the enduring marginalisation of half of its citizens. And for what? It is not as though exclusive male hegemony ever gave us heaven-on-earth.

Through bad governance and corruption, we have emphatically, persistently and with riotous glee perpetrated the direst insults, delivered the rankest epithets and aimed the foulest of abuse on Kenya’s women.

This gargantuan insult has been propounded by men in suits, robes and uniforms, from the tremendous citadels of state power to the humblest hamlets.

The maniac who recently hacked his wife to death over a serving of ugali and the speakers of our Parliament are all united in insulting our women.

Official audits of our public sector by the Public Service Commission and the National Gender and Equality Commission show that failure to actualise gender justice defiantly persists and pervades government.

Our parliamentarians have failed to obey the Constitution and take measures to entrench the gender equality principle in the membership of Parliament. The Constitution dictates that this failure can only be cured, upon a determination by the Chief Justice, by the dissolution of Parliament.

All mothers are women. An insult to women is therefore an insult to our mothers. Corruption and misgovernance are therefore serious violations of a cardinal taboo. The negligence by Parliament of the Gender Equality Principle is a particularly rancid instance of this repugnant impunity.

Instead of the grand tower of Parliament, our leaders have erected a colossal middle finger at the women of Kenya.

This particular insult must be redressed urgently and resolutely by inflicting serious pain to the men and women who snore daily inside Parliamentary chambers as our mothers cry for justice. The petitions are before the Honourable Chief Justice, David Kenani Maraga.

I hope he finds that our mothers have been insulted. I hope he joins us in our bitterness and righteous anger. I actually pray that he sees red, catches major feelings and orders that the delinquent 12th Parliament of the Republic of Kenya stands dissolved.

I also wish that he directs that the misogynistic inscription above the entrance of the chambers, which seems to cast a chauvinistic spell on all who enter, be replaced. Henceforth, it must stop reading: “FOR THE WELFARE OF SOCIETY AND THE JUST GOVERNMENT OF MEN”. Government of men is terribly unjust. Government belongs to, and serves, the people.

To atone for perennially insulting our mothers, two things suffice for a good starting point: A committed return to our National Values and Principles of Governance and the abolition of the 12th Parliament.