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CITY GIRL: Give female politicians a break, they deserve a lot better

I am just adopting the words of Malcom X, who famously said, “The most disrespected person in America is the black woman. The most unprotected person in America is the black woman. The most neglected person in America is the black woman.”

You would think that in a society as progressive as ours, we would treat our women leaders with a bit of respect. But lo! and behold, if a Kenyan woman wants to taste the wrath of the society and understand the real meaning of abuse, then politics would be a great place to start because here, female politicians command very little respect.

We make it so difficult for a woman to get into politics and make it even harder for her to survive. Just ask any female politician the nonsense they have had to go through to survive in politics and you be shocked at how much they tolerate, particularly from the male counterparts.

We thought we had seen it all as a country when we watched a horror story unfold live on national television when a female politician was taunted with rape, until a male MP physically assaulted a female colleague outside a government office.

But this is not new in Kenyan politics, you know, treating female politicians like chattels to be tossed around like pieces of meat.

ABUSE AGAINST WOMEN

A governor is on video slapping the daylights out of a fellow female politician, and we as a sick country did nothing except make a bunch of “ayayayaya!” jokes.

We made a national ridicule when a female MP once accused a male MP of sexually harassing her when all we could remember from the story was the phrase “Kalenjin propeller”.

Let us not forget that a sitting governor once dismissed a fellow female politician on the basis of her being a single mother, because he thinks that single women are incapable of anything.

When a woman enters the political scene in this country, there is no telling how soon we will start shaming her. As we judge her male counterparts based on their policies and agendas, we judge female politicians based on their bedroom affairs. They are branded prostitutes and call girls, among many other names that I shall not mention.

The saddest part of this story is that the key perpetrators of this abuse against women in politics are the male politicians, these self-aggrandising individuals who cannot get it through their thick heads that a woman could be capable of leading them.

Granted, our female leaders, just like our male MPs have their fair share of skeletons in their closets. So there could be one or two bad apples that have less than flattering photos of themselves (in compromising positions, no less) doing rounds in the inter-webs.

HORRIBLE REMARKS

Maybe sometimes they loose their minds and toss their knickers around Parliament like young girls in a Jamaican musicians’ concert. So they have been seen toying around with men young enough to be their sons, but can’t an older girl have a bit of fun?

Female MPs, like the rest of us, are just humans, with their personal struggles and marital issues. They, just like the rest of us, could have gone through divorce, separations and broken families, but that does not mean that we have the right to demand perfection from them.

There are no prizes for guessing how bad it will be in the coming election season. Expect it to get worse. Expect the campaigns to become more bruising and more slanderous. Women who want to get into politics should be prepared to be dragged through the mud in slander, malicious gossip and acts of violence. But I think it is time we give female politicians a break.

A little bird tells me that a certain TV show is no more, thanks to some horrible remarks against a female politician made on that TV show. Unlike most Kenyans, I am not happy. I liked the guy, I really did and I was hoping he would tone down, but leave? Oh my God No!

I wish him the very best. I am cock-sure that he will be back and he will be bigger. I think this break will do him some good, no matter how bruising it may be.

Meanwhile, maybe Kenyan journalists could learn a thing or two from this incident. Do not let anyone use you to as a means to accomplish their goals – Canadian-educated politicians or not.  As a journalist, the only thing you have is your integrity, so guard it.you have.