Silvanus Osoro: The king of demeaning women

 South Mugirango MP Silvanus Osoro who has been accused of demeaning women with unbecoming comments.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • On Tuesday, while defending Tourism CS nominee Peninah Malonza said perhaps she had failed because she had been on her period at the time.
  • His remarks immediately drew fury from a section of the MPs present who castigated him for demeaning women.

South Mugirango MP Silvanus Osoro is a man under siege following his latest outburst in Parliament.

On Tuesday, while defending Tourism Cabinet Secretary Peninah Malonza following her rejection by the National Assembly Committee on Appointments (COA), Mr Osoro made remarks that have elicited uproar from Kenyans.

The MP  said that perhaps Ms Malonza had failed because she had been on her period at the time.

“I think we need to be fair. The rejection ought to be of matters that are serious, mostly touching on Chapter Six of the Constitution on the suitability, but not on issues of presentation to the committee. Maybe she was not well dressed, or maybe she was on her periods,” the MP told Parliament.

His remarks immediately drew fury from a section of the MPs present who castigated him for demeaning women.

Samburu West MP Naisula Lesuuda, called on the MP to stick to issues, not sideshows, when deliberating on women competencies.

“You cannot also raise issues on women’s matters to trivialize it and make it about our moods, our emotions, our periods,” said Ms Lesuuda.

Vulgar man

The MP’s remarks have also received condemnation from social media users who described them as insensitive.

 “If this is a leader and his words do not respect women, then imagine his supporters. Black men can do much better than this brothers,” Mr Tedd Josiah posted on his Twitter handle.

“What a crude vulgar man. And he calls himself a leader. Even if it's clout chasing, this is very disrespectful to all women, that they can lose out on opportunities because they are on their period. Shame on that man,” said another person identified as SforSorry.

However, some people have come to the MP’s defence saying his statement has been taken out of context

“Let us be honest here guys/ladies, let us not attack the young Osoro, as a matter of fact, all of you who are married know that you have to be careful when your woman is going through the issues, and women can agree with me on this one. Answering deep things can be tough,” said Pastor Thomas Mutai on Twitter.

A section of the rights groups also condemned the legislator’s remarks challenging him to apologize over the slur.

Kajiado Gender Advocacy Network said the MP’s comments were distasteful and perpetuated stigma over menstruation.

They were spoke at a training in Ngong’ town, Kajiado County on Wednesday.

“It is about time that period shame is put to an end. We do not take the comments lightly as they depict he is misinformed. Girls and women are able to perform at their best even when on their periods,” said Jackline Saleiyan, founder of A Pack a Month.

The officials said a leader like Mr Osoro should be well informed. Otherwise, he should learn more about women’s issues to enable him understand his female constituents better.

Demean women

“How will he govern if he does not understand a simple yet integral component of female anatomy? Is he using the same plumb line to discriminate against women in his office?” she asked.

Julian Nekesa from the Forum for Women in Development, Democracy and Justice (FODDAJ) also faulted the remarks.

“Those are very insensitive remarks from such a would-be respected man in society. They display disrespect and chauvinism of the highest order,” she said.

This is not the first time that Mr Osoro is accused of making using language that demean women.

In the run-up to the August 8 election while addressing the Abagusii community in Thika town, Mr Osoro went after Azimio La Umoja running mate Martha Karua's marital status claiming she was unfit to be deputy president on account of being single.

The MP further attacked the Narc Kenya leader's looks - using unprintable words to describe the veteran politician.

"Martha Karua will resign after only two months and that is why the system picked her as Raila's running mate. She is very impatient and there is no way Raila will handle her. Even though her marriage lasted only two months, who is this who thinks he can handle her,” he said then.

Kenyans on social media attacked the MP, calling on him to respect women.

“I have seen a disturbing video of South Mugirango MP describing Martha Karua. We agree to disagree but body shaming a woman based on her looks and private life is a new low,” Dennis Nyambane remarked.

“Silvanus Osoro should know that a woman brought him into this world and he has no right to disrespect them,” Abraham Owiti stated.