What you need to know:
- Maraga's directive to President Uhuru Kenyatta to dissolve parliament clearly dealt the MPs a lethal blow.
- They misdirected their ‘anger’ towards the CJ and women, forgetting the number of times motions to pass the two-thirds gender rule had been tabled before, debated and collapsed in the august House.
- BBI campaigns now beckoning, in addition to the chaotic rivalry and loud fall-out in the ruling Jubilee Party, call for vigilance and alertness.
- The National Cohesion and Integration Commission must look out for hate speech .
When Chief Justice David Maraga issued the advisory in which he asked President Uhuru Kenyatta to dissolve Parliament in accordance with Article 261 (7) of the Constitution last month, the response that greeted the unexpected move, particularly from a majority of politicians of the male gender, was very telling.
It was clear he had dealt the MPs a lethal blow. The likelihood that the President would obey the law and dissolve Parliament was too unnerving to take and would be too much for them to bear.
So, the group took to pouring vitriol, most of it misguided. It was misguided because the target – women in general, the female leadership in particular and Chief Justice Maraga – was the wrong one.
But even as they misdirected their ‘anger’ towards the CJ and women, they forgot and conveniently so, the number of times motions to pass the two-thirds gender rule had been tabled before, debated and collapsed in the august House.
Instead of discussing the merit or demerits of the advisory – which should, in actual fact, be on the equitable representation of women in decision making spaces or lack of it, they elect to cast aspersions on women in leadership and generally blame women for the situation the country finds itself in, in terms of uneven representation of the female gender in nearly all key sectors of development.
And given that sentiments, which border on violence are being churned out at a time when political temperatures are rising, never mind that the General Election is two years away, gives us a reason to worry.
The equally divisive Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) campaigns now beckoning, in addition to the chaotic rivalry and loud fall-out in the ruling Jubilee Party, calls for vigilance and alertness against those who take advantage of such political mediums and environment to entrench unbridled patriarchy and stereotypes against women.
The potential of this in addition to thinly veiled insults against women that rear their ugly heads at times like these, is and has been full blown political thuggery and violence against them.
The World Health Organisation defines political violence as the deliberate use of political power and force to achieve political goals. In the broad definition, WHO further explains political violence as being characterised by both physical and psychological act aimed at injuring or intimidating populations.
Clearly, this definition of political violence goes to explain that it goes beyond our own interpretation of it. We know it as thuggery in political rallies with mostly sponsored mobs physically fighting and insulting their opponents. Insults, innuendos and downright abuse against women, whether made from the floor of the House, political rallies or at any other forums, is political violence.
These calls for awareness and alertness. The National Cohesion and Integration Commission must not only look out for hate speech but also include those that perpetrate, instigate and incite political violence against women.