There are few topics I avoid writing about, and one of them is that on “sponsors”. I shun mainly because I highly disagree with the “sponsorship philosophy” of transactional intimacy between sponsors and sponsees.
Secondly, because such topics are not very compatible with a woman of great c-suite ambitions — and substantial potential — such as I. So I promised myself I’d keep off some topics unless they became a matter of life and death.
Today is that day.
The growing number of young women turning up dead in thickets with their guts spilt and throats slit for allegedly getting involved in romantic relationships with powerful men is a worrying trend.
Mercy Keino, Carol Ngumbu and now Sharon Otieno are just the few women we know about owing to the media attention, although something tells me there are more women linked to powerful men who have gone down that road that we did not know about. Of course there are those who dodged the bullet — literally- such as Cheryl Kitonga, the young lady who was last seen with Jacob Juma.
In today’s column I shall spare the young women a boring sermon on hard work, personal drive, independence, living within your means and staying away from troublesome men because the facts are rather obvious.
You reap what you sow, and every “free” coin you get, you must earn, and like a good silly friend of mine likes to remind me, “there is no such thing as free lunch”.
I shall however take this opportunity to observe the unfairness with which these dead women are treated with, the indignity heaped upon them as their lifeless bodies lie in morgue cabinets and the shame and silly jokes we accord them when they cannot defend themselves.
When news about Sharon broke out, there are a quite a number of us who retorted “serves her right” and “what was she doing with an older, married man anyway?” as if poor Sharon and her unborn child deserved to be stabbed to death.
Poor Carol Ngumbu was the butt of many jokes when her lifeless body was preserved at City Mortuary as that of her alleged lover was sent to a posh funeral home. That joke was not funny at all, by the way.
It is the society we live in. When you want to pull a woman down, the first line of attack is her morals. You attack her morals and portray her as a mannerless individual and she is finished.
Women in the public domain — politicians especially, have it worse. We are fixated on finding out who she is dating or married to — and the google searches are all the proof we need.
When Lady Justice Mwilu was arrested for alleged abuse of office and fraud, a local rag splashed the details of her divorce case, never mind a previous headline last year when they “outed” her as the wife of a prominent lawyer.
At the time of the historical election petition, nobody did a story of Justice Maraga’s wife, or any of those male judges, but somehow, we made it our business to prey on who Justice Mwilu is married to and was married to.
Our national fetishisation with the personal lives of women is not just unfair to these poor women and their families, it is uncouth.
We somehow apply double standards when it comes to the men. We vilify — and sometimes with good reason — the young women moving with sponsors but nobody points a finger at the man, who, in this case is a family man.
It is easier for us to slander that dead woman than put to task some libidinous, governors. We let these murderous sponsors get away with not only embarrassing their wives and families, but also robbing of families their precious daughters whom they have painstakingly raised and educated.
They are men, we say, and men will always be men, right? Some of these daughters — such as Sharon — came from not so well up families and it seemed as if Sharon was their hope. Why kill an innocent girl because of love turned sour?
Knowing how things work in this country, we may never know what really happened to Sharon. We may never get justice for Mercy and Carol. But what I am sure of, is that this is not the last we will see of this trend.
I guess my advice for sponsees is — just work hard for your money. It is better to be broke and safe, than be moneyed and dead in a thicket.