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The Kenyan Politics Of ‘Sio Ya Mama Yako’: Mothers Are The Punching Bag

kenya sio ya mama yako
Garissa Township MP Aden Duale. [Courtesy]

It is common practice in the political world that women and children are a no-go zone.

But in Kenya, when the political talk heats up, it is the women and mothers who take the heat and many a time the insults.

Take for example last week when Emurua Dikirr Johana Ng’eno said that Kenya did not belong to the first family, the Kenyattas, or the former first lady, Mama Ngina.

“You are not Kenya and Kenya is nor Kenyatta’s or Mama Ngina’s land. This land belongs to 47 million Kenyans, you cannot run it as you wish,” the lawmaker said.

His Kapseret counterpart Oscar Sudi is under attack for mentioning “breasts” and dragging President Uhuru Kenyatta’s mother into politics.

Read: I will Not Apologize Oscar Sudi Says As He Claims Mama Ngina Remarks Were Misunderstood

The fiery lawmaker has since declined to apologize for what has been termed as an attack on Kenyan mothers.

According to him, the comments were taken out of context.

“I was very surprised to see so many people agitated that I referred to women’s breasts, it is even in the bible, that was not an insult, I will apologise once people show me where I went wrong,” he said.

In 2014, former majority leader in the National Assembly Aden Duale was on the spot for insulting women as he launched a scathing attack on former Bomet governor Isaac Rutto.

“Hii pesa sio ya mama yako bwana. Hii pesa si ya baba yako (Public funds don’t belong to your mother or father),” he said.

As has become the case, Duale said the meaning was lost in translation.

In the same year, ex Nairobi governor Evans Kidero slapped then Nairobi woman representative Rachel Shebesh as she championed workers’ rights.

Kidero denied laying his hands on the former MP but recalled there being a scuffle outside his office.

Six years later, Shebesh is yet to get an apology out of Kidero despite forgiving him for his actions.

When seeking the presidency in 2011, Uhuru and his deputy William Ruto were facing charges at the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity.

When campaigning, Uhuru who was bitter about being “falsely accused” called out his so called “accusers” including his then archrival, Raila Odinga.

During one of the campaigns, Uhuru was quick to point out that Hague “did not belong to Raila’s mother.”

But the mother of all insults came from Embakasi East MP Babu Owino.

In 2017, the vocal lawmaker said the president was a “son of a dog”. His consequences were two nights in a jail cell.

While women have continued to protest against being dragged into matters politics, little to no action has been taken against the “perpetrators”.

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Written by Kahawa Tungu


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