Kenyan Politics and Feminism

Politics in Kenya is like a constant movie with parts one, two, three, four… you get the drift. There is always so much drama, always so much talk but never ever, any action taken – until two days ago.

Devolution Cabinet Secretary, Mrs Anne Waiguru, has been making headlines since two months ago when she confirmed an audit that was done that revealed $7,750,000 has been lost within the government due to illegitimate contracts.

A few weeks ago, Waiguru was making headlines yet again because alleged claims had been made that she was overspending on miscellaneous items for her office. The claim stated that her budget was overly exaggerated with pens being priced at $80, money spent to buy condoms and sex toys and a grand piano being bought and placed in her office. All of which are very unnecessary for the Devolution office and their work.

The Cabinet Secretary has since succumbed to pressure from the public and the opposing party, ODM. She officially asked the President to relieve her of her duties on Saturday, November 21st citing health concerns and wanting to protect her family from anymore scrutiny and humiliation.

The Kenyans on Twitter (KOT) notorious for their controversial hashtags, were at it again with #WaiguruMustGo trending all over social media in the last two weeks and just recently the #WaiguruResigns hashtag still a topic of discussion along these channels since her resignation this past weekend.

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My question here is – Had this been a man facing all this scandal and accusations, would he be treated in the same harsh manner? Or would we just go back to saying, “Ah this is Kenya, that’s expected from someone in government.” I’m not saying that she’s innocent but even without a good amount of proof, Kenyans were quick to judge her, accuse her and crucify her in the name of justice. Vilifying her son and naming her as the President’s mistress were just some of the humiliating things she has had to go through in the past few days.

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Kenya is still a very patriarchal society even though the Jubilee government has done its best in making sure women are given equal representation, the minds of the people are yet to adjust to this wave of women in power. It is because of this refusal to get with the times that people like Anne Waiguru who has actually been doing her job and very well at that, are ousted before their time is up and real change is implemented.

She could may not even be responsible for the lost/stolen funds but as she is head of the department I do understand why she had to step down. The cyber attacks on her personal life though should not have occurred because we would not have treated this the same way had it been a man in her shoes.

 

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