Connect with us

Strictly Personal

How patriarchy underpins gender violence today, By Tee Ngugi

Published

on

On January 27, Kenyan women flooded city streets to protest rising cases of femicide. These were the largest protests ever held against gender-based violence in the country.

The killings that triggered the outrage were especially horrific. In one instance, a woman was raped, beaten and forced to swallow acid. Another young woman was beheaded in airbnb establishment. In January alone, 14 women were killed in the country. Between 2016 –2024, 500 women were killed. The figures, horrendous as they are, are thought to be higher.

Statistics on gender-based violence paint a very sick society. Almost half of women in the country experience gender-based violence in their lifetime. Then countless others face daily sexual harassment in schools, public transportation, universities and workplaces.

Boda boda riders are notorious for harassing women drivers. In an incident that caused national shame, boda bodas descended on a hapless woman driver they accused of ramming one of them and physically and sexually assaulted her.

A few years ago, some self-appointed moral police would beat and undress women they deemed indecently dressed, as if in a country in which billions are stolen every year, and in which so many sleep hungry, the most egregious crime is a woman’s short skirt.

To be sure, femicide and physical and sexual violence against women is not a uniquely Kenyan problem. In South Africa, rape has reached crisis proportions. In eastern Congo and other war-ravaged regions in Africa, rape is a weapon of war.

The problem of rape also transcends race, culture and religion. In the United States and, surprisingly, liberal Sweden, rape is endemic. And in the so-called traditional societies of Lesotho and Swaziland, rape is a serious problem. In pious India, rape had become so rampant that it even happened in buses. The government, unlike other regions, moved with ferocity to stem the problem.

The Kenyan protesters called for tough legislation against gender-based violence as well as quick police action in response to cases of sexual harassment. These measures will go a long way in curbing the impunity that exists in the country about violence against women.

But, at the same time, we must seek to change deeply ingrained cultural attitudes. Even though we no longer live in the traditional society, residual traditional attitudes still stain our views of women. Therefore, we must explore ways of overcoming these cultural attitudes and making them a liability in society.

At the same time, we must rid our society of erroneous views such as there is a head of a family who lords it over the household and, instead, advocates a respectful partnership. Other erroneous beliefs consider domestic violence as not quite violence and rape within marriage as not quite rape.

Police stations also need to be sensitive to rape victims. Eradicating gender-based violence will, therefore, require uncompromising action at the levels of legislation, policing and culture.

Strictly Personal

This is chaos, not governance, and we must stop it, By Tee Ngugi

Published

on

The following are stories that have dominated mainstream media in recent times. Fake fertiliser and attempts by powerful politicians to kill the story. A nation of bribes, government ministries and corporations where the vice is so routine that it has the semblance of policy. Irregular spending of billions in Nairobi County.

 

Billions are spent in all countries on domestic and foreign travel. Grabbing of land belonging to state corporations, was a scam reminiscent of the Kanu era when even public toilets would be grabbed. Crisis in the health and education sectors.

 

Tribalism in hiring for state jobs. Return of construction in riparian lands and natural waterways. Relocation of major businesses because of high cost of power and heavy taxation. A tax regime that is so punitive, it squeezes life out of small businesses. Etc, ad nauseam.

 

To be fair, these stories of thievery, mismanagement, negligence, incompetence and greed have been present in all administrations since independence.

 

However, instead of the cynically-named “mama mboga” government reversing this gradual slide towards state failure, it is fuelling it.

 

Alternately, it’s campaigning for 2027 or gallivanting all over the world, evoking the legend of Emperor Nero playing the violin as Rome burned.

 

A government is run based on strict adherence to policies and laws. It appoints the most competent personnel, irrespective of tribe, to run efficient departments which have clear-cut goals.

 

It aligns education to its national vision. Its strategies to achieve food security should be driven by the best brains and guided by innovative policies. It enacts policies that attract investment and incentivize building of businesses. It treats any kind of thievery or negligence as sabotage.

 

Government is not a political party. Government officials should have nothing to do with political party matters. They should be so engaged in their government duties that they literally would not have time for party issues. Government jobs should not be used to reward girlfriends and cronies.

 

Government is exhausting work undertaken because of a passion to transform lives, not for the trappings of power. Government is not endless campaigning to win the next election. To his credit, Mwai Kibaki left party matters alone until he had to run for re-election.

 

We have corrupted the meaning of government. We have parliamentarians beholden to their tribes, not to ideas.

 

We have incompetent and corrupt judges. We have a civil service where you bribe to be served. Police take bribes to allow death traps on our roads. We have urban planners who plan nothing except how to line their pockets. We have regulatory agencies that regulate nothing, including the intake of their fat stomachs.

 

We have advisers who advise on which tenders should go to whom. There is no central organising ethos at the heart of government. There is no sense of national purpose. We have flurries of national activities, policies, legislation, appointments which don’t lead to meaningful growth. We just run on the same spot.

 

Tee Ngugi is a Nairobi-based political commentator

Continue Reading

Strictly Personal

Off we go again with public shows, humbug and clowning, By Jenerali Uliwengu

Published

on

The potential contestants in the approaching elections are already sizing themselves up and assessing their chances of fooling their people enough for them to believe that they are truly going to “bring development” to them.

 

I mean, you have to be a true believer to believe that someone who says they have come to offer their services to you as your representative in the local council or in the national parliament and they tell you that they are going to build your roads to European standards, and your schools are going to be little Eatons; your hospitals are going to be better and more lavishly equipped than the Indian hospitals, where many of our high-placed people go for treatment, and your water supply will be so regular that you have to worry only about drowning!

 

I mean no exaggeration here, for the last time we had the occasion to listen to such clowns — five years ago — we heard one joker promise he would take all his voters to the United States for a visit.

 

He was actually voted to parliament, or at least the cabal acting as the electoral commission says he was. He has never revisited that promise as far as I can remember, but that must surely be because he is still negotiating with the American embassy for a few million visas for his voters!

 

Yes, really, these are always interesting times, when normally sober people turn out to be raving mad and university dons become illiterate.

 

Otherwise tell me how this can happen: Some smart young man or woman shows up in your neighbourhood and puts up posters and erects stands and platforms for the campaign and goes around the constituency declaring his or her ardent desire to “develop” your area by bringing in clean and safe water, excellent schools, competent teachers, the best agricultural experts as extension officers, etc, etc.

These goodies

At the time this clown is promising all these goodies, you realise he has been distributing money and items such as tee-shirts, kitenge prints, khangas, caps as well as organising feeding programmes, where everyone who cares can feed to satiation and drink whatever they want with practically no limitation.

Seriously, I have been asking myself this question: Would you employ a young man who shows up at your front porch and tells you he is seeking a job to develop your garden and tells you that, while you are thinking whether to employ him, “Here is money for you and your family to eat and drink for now!”

Now, if we think such a man should be reported to the police or taken to a mental institution, why are we behaving in exactly the same way?

Many a time we witness arguments among countrymen trying to solve the conundrum of our continued failure to move forward economically, despite our abundant resources, and it seems like we haven’t got a clue.

But is this not one of the cues, if not probably the most important clue, that we have not found a way to designate our leaders?

It ought to be clear to any person above childhood that this type of electoral system and practice can never deliver anything akin to development or progress.

Now, consider that we have being doing this same thing over and over — in many of our countries elections follow a certain periodicity like clockwork — but we have not discovered the truth.

Put simply, our politics is badly rigged against our people, and elections have become just devices to validate the political hooliganism of the various cabals running our countries like so many Mafia families.

Knee-jerk supporters

We have so demeaned our people, whom we have turned into knee-jerk supporters of whoever gives them food and drink around election time, that now they say that at least at election time it is their turn to eat, which means, naturally, that at all other times it is the turn of the ones who “bring development” to the people.

Clearly, this is not working, and it is no wonder that dissatisfaction and frustration are rife, as our people cannot put a finger to the thing that holds them back.

Apart from these sham elections, from time to time, the rulers organise shows designed to make the people believe that somebody is concerned about their problems.

We have one such masquerade happening in Tanzania right now, where public meetings are organised so people can vent their frustration. But these will never solve any problems; they are just shows.

If the elections we have been holding had any substance, there would not be any need for such public shows, except those organised by those people we elected.

Where are they? What is the use of spending so much money and other resources to erect and maintain a political system that has to be propped by public shows, where people come to vent their grievances over the hopelessness of the system in place?

I am just asking.

Continue Reading

EDITOR’S PICK

Musings From Abroad3 hours ago

55 million people facing severe hunger in West and Central Africa— UN

A food crisis has been made worse by rising prices in West and Central Africa. In the next few months,...

VenturesNow4 hours ago

Nigeria’s GT Holding plans $750 million capital increase

Nigerian banking group, Guaranty Trust Holding Plc, wants to raise up to $750 million in capital and will ask its...

Uncategorized6 hours ago

Nigeria’s bleak economy will turn around by December— Tinubu

President Bola Tinubu has once again assured Nigerians that the country’s wobbling economy will experience a complete turnaround by December....

Uncategorized20 hours ago

South African used-car startup WeBuyCars now listed on the Jo’burg Stock Exchange

South African used-car startup, WeBuyCars, is now officially listed on the Main Board of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) under...

Uncategorized22 hours ago

Ghana’s VP Bawumia throws weight behind anti-LGBTQ campaign

Ghana’s Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, has thrown his weight behind those against the LGBTQ community in the country. Bawumia,...

Uncategorized22 hours ago

Kenyan marathoner Kipchoge upbeat about winning third Olympic gold

Kenya’s double Olympic gold medallist, Eliud Kipchoge, is in a confident mood that he can win a historic third successive...

Uncategorized22 hours ago

Hichilema sacks Zambia Public Procurement Authority boss with immediate effect

Few weeks after sacking the Accountant-General, Kennedy Muso, and Controller of Internal Audit at the Ministry of Finance and National...

Uncategorized1 day ago

Nigeria: 812 killed, 855 abducted by criminal elements in March alone— Report

A security and intelligence consulting firm in Nigeria, Beacon Security and Intelligence Limited, has released a damning report in which...

Musings From Abroad2 days ago

Russia begins diesel exports to Sudan as EU boycott bites

London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) data shows that Russia has started sending fuel to troubled North African country, Sudan. The...

Uncategorized2 days ago

Ghanaian fintech Zeepay raises equity funds to support African, Caribbean expansion

Ghanaian fintech, Zeepay, has announced securing a round of equity investment aimed at supporting its expansion plans in Africa and...

Trending