A Yoruba proverb readily comes to mind as I write this piece. The proverb says that, “Bayi la n se ni’lu wa, eewo ibo mii ni – What we do in our country is a taboo somewhere else.” How else would I describe the various stories I hear each time I visit this part of Africa called Kenya. The other time I was here, it was the story of a Nigerian pastor who organized a crusade that assured Kenyan women of “a man for every woman” in the country. I learnt that thousands of ladies, including married women, had rushed to the crusade thinking that the Nigerian pastor had brought men from Nigeria to distribute to them! They had totally misinterpreted the crusade’s advertisement and got disappointed that the man of God hadn’t any man to ‘dash’ out.
I also remember another of my visits here when a serving Member of Parliament led young Kenyans on a street protest against some government policies. Could that ever happen in my great country – the giant of Africa?
Hmm, here I am again in Nairobi thinking about all the news around me. There is a raging debate about a statement purportedly made by the Mayor of Nairobi, George Aladwa, requesting that prostitutes should be taxed. Many are calling for the mayor’s head for “recognizing and advancing illicit sex trade.”
Despite the mayor’s excuse that he had been quoted out of context, he keeps receiving both “barbs and bouquets” on a daily basis. While the main issue doesn’t appeal to me much, I am amazed at the style and colour that Kenyan citizens are adopting in analyzing this topic. Listen to what a guy called Kariuki Njoroge said:
- “How about prostitution? Let’s give this old story a break. Models sell their faces, men their muscles. Indians sell kidneys. No one ever got hurt because their neighbor sold or leased their body…We all want something from each other and a prostitute is, if anything, the most honest person you will ever meet in your life; they just want you because you can pay for it. No job, marriage, promotion or love promises – just pay…Our mayor should therefore be given an ear, and prostitutes, illicit drinks, slum landlords and drug dealers duly taxed.”
If citizen Kariuki had supported the purported proposal because he’s probably a taxman, another guy called Phillip would simply want certain questions answered. Hear him:
- “Do they get booths like the ones for smokers? Does a client, married or not, enter the booth and choose his “bride” and drive away with her? Will they get stalls where they parade themselves and once in a while, city council official goes round collecting tax from them in yellow coats? How will their tax returns read? Will they give the names of their clients or will they just state the kind of service they offered? And will their fees include 16 percent VAT? I know the married will want receipts so that they look out for them when they are doing laundry…We wait.”
Hmm, this life sef! Wonders shall never end.
If the issue of prostitution tax doesn’t catch your interest, there is another talk of the town that I’m still finding very difficult to understand.
Any doubt I might have had about the above story disappered on seeing the picture shown beside this very paragraph. The picture actually accompanies Daily Nation’s story, and it shows Maendeleo ya Wanaume chairman Nderitu Njoka examining a beaten husband, Kevin Muriuki, 22, at Nyeri Provincial General Hospital on Wednesday.
What an interesting read. But that’s not the end of the story. Daily Nation further states that:
Maendeleo ya Wanaume claims 460,000 cases of domestic abuse were reported in central Kenya last year in a survey that includes Nairobi area.
- Of these, 150,000 had reported undergoing emotional abuse while 300,000 cases had been physically assaulted.
- Mr. Njoka claims 300,000 men were battered by their spouses, making the region the worst place in the country for men in wedlock.
- The provincial hospital now plans to start a gender violence section due to the rising cases of abuse at home.
- But Mr. Njoka blames, “female superiority complex” for the rising cases of husband battery, tracing its roots to the high-handed female colonial chief, Wangu wa Makeri, who ruled in Murang’a with iron fist and was particularly hard on men.
Welcome back! Are you still with me, or you are also lost in thoughts?
Like that guy Phillip who asked a number of questions about Kenya’s proposed (?) prostitution tax; I am also asking a number of questions about these Mrs. Jezebels of Kenya. What could be giving them the effrontery to beat up their husbands? Don’t men pay dowries in this country? Yes, I do see Kenyan women on the streets of Nairobi; but they don’t look like people with any form of stamina to engage in a fight. Could it be a case of deceptive looks and pretension of innocence? Where could they be getting their power and confidence from?
Maybe the questions should actually be addressed to the Kenyan men. Are they so lazy and fragile that their women could easily turn them to punching bags? Where is the much touted and highly bragged-about manliness of men in these guys? By the way, do they weep as they get beaten up by their wives? Thought men are not supposed to cry! And where is the dignity of men in them? Imagine, they even have the mouth to be talking about a lobby group for the right of men! Eeh, eeeh, na wa ooo.
Wait a minute, could those ladies who trooped to that Nigerian pastor’s crusade last year have thought about beating any newly found Nigerian husbands? Did they think Nigerian men are like their Kenyan counterparts?
Hmm, thank God I’m a Nigerian man. And thank God our women are not husband-beaters. Can you now see why I doff my hat for Lagos ladies?
But who knows? Would I be 100% accurate to conclude that we don’t have husband-beaters in our country? Maybe there are, but
they must be so few that they can’t ever be noticed. I also doubt if any Nigerian man would have the gut to say to anyone that he has been beaten by his wife. He would be ostracized immediately. These Kenyan men are not like us; they are even happy to show their faces on TV and pages of newspapers!
Granted that there aren’t husband-beaters in Nigeria (thank God), how about wife-beaters? I leave you to answer that question.
I’m also thinking about what could happen if any husband should try to beat his wife in Kenya. Perhaps the women within the vicinity would quickly gather together to give serious beatings to any man they sight, in retaliation.
Truly, truly, the Yoruba elders know what they mean by that proverb. What is done in Nairobi is a taboo in Lagos.
It’s a few minutes to 2.00am here now; two hours ahead of Lagos – time for me to hit the bed. The time in Lagos is not the same as that of Nairobi; just the way our women are not the same.
Good night; rather, good morning!