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As expecteu, the less humble amongst oui women NPs aie feeling moitally wounueu by
iecent ciiticism of theii conuuct ovei the Naiiiage Bill. We must not allow theii egos to get
in the way of fiuitful ieflection, noi be uiawn into petty peisonalizeu knee-jeik attacks
wheie intellectual inteiiogation of issues is iequiieu.
So as we wait foi consiueieu explanation of how oui Women NPs appioacheu that
Naiiiage Bill, let us use this space heie to finish the conveisation we staiteu on why the
piesence of Women's Reps has not, thus fai, alteieu the quality of pailiamentaiy uebate,
the quality of oui lives.
Constituents aie not legally bounu to sing anu uance foi theii leaueis. Anu if the cultuie of
politics we have thus fai fashioneu is one in which we sciap, bow anu clap whenevei
leaueis walk by, then it is time to make amenus. Cultuie shoulu nevei enslave. It exists to
seive humanity anu we must not allow oui political cultuie to tuin all of us - the uanceis
anu those being uanceu foi - into minuless iobots.
So heie is the thought foi touay:
Between }anuaiy 2uth anu Naich 12th 2u14, the local meuia was inunuateu with iepoits
anu stoiies of gay Afiicans. Titillating local coming out confessions; stoiies of
uisciimination against gays locally anu abioau; piggy-backing on the global outciy ovei
new laws in Nigeiia anu 0ganua that ciiminalize gays anu lesbians - the woiu gay was
The tempo iose on Tv talk shows. Pastois giew shiill anu paients uialeu in with theii
alaim. Piess iepoits spuin eveiy conceivable angle on "Afiica has hau a long histoiy of
being gay" - olu ieseaich about men iapeu in wai-time; heait-felt takes of molesteu boys
anu young men, ueau gay poets, queei theoiy foi queei fiction, even foi Afiican Liteiatuie
classics; insinuateu love tiiangles involving living gay wiiteis; liteially eveiything.
I staiteu to wonuei when the eiuuite Spoits Bistoiian, Roy uachuhi woulu pen a piece on
"uay Footballeis of the Becaue". I was myself willing to wiite the accompanying
sounutiack "uay Anthems thiough the Yeais" staiting with the village People anu "It's
Raining Nen" (anu locally - wheie is that song that celebiates gay love anu life.). Anu then
it all went quiet. No moie gay stoiies in the mainstieam meuia.
The whole meuia ueluge happeneu many weeks befoie the Naiiiage Bill evei ieacheu the
flooi of the Bouse. Nany of us saw no connection between that gay blitz anu the penuing

legislation on maiiiage. Anu then came Iiungu Kangata! Not on Tv, on the flooi of the
You uon't have to suppoit gay people. You uon't have to love them oi accept them. But you
have to agiee that they playeu theii caius up, louu anu iight foi this Naiiiage Bill. If it weie
not foi Iiungu Kangata's hawk-eyeu sciutiny of the bill, the one clause that woulu have
openeu the uooi to legalizing gay unions veiy neaily saileu thiough. That clause
empoweieu the Cabinet Secietaiy, }ustice anu Legal Affaiis (when s¡he exists) to "make
iegulations foi iegistiation of any othei type of maiiiage not pioviueu foi unuei the
(pioposeu) law".
With a calculateu, stiategic builu-up such as the one they wageu between }anuaiy 2u anu
Naich 12, next time the gay lobby will succeeu.
The tensions between the gay lobby anu the women's movement aie age-olu, legion - a long
stoiy foi anothei uay. Touay, I hanu the gay lobby A foi stiategy. Anu until I heai an
explanation to peisuaue me otheiwise, I give the women NPs B foi uim-witteuness anu¡oi
insinceiity. Why insinceiity.
In the time since Phoebe Asiyo anu those othei foimiuable women of Kenya's pailiament,
male psychology has not been iauically iewiieu (neithei has women's!). Not even by the
entiy of the cellphone anu othei uigital manenos. So theie is plenty that those who went to
pailiament iecently, anu ostensibly to woik foi women, coulu have leaint about how to get
what was impoitant to them thiough that male-uominateu Bouse.
But I am getting caiiieu away. I uoubt veiy much that the Naiiiage Bill matteieu a thing to
that lot. Boes polygamy - unuei its vaiious shaues anu names - thiive because Kenyan men
aie evil oi because theie aie women willing to be seconu, thiiu anu etceteia wives. Which
women weie ieally keen on banning polygamy.
Let's all go to New Yoik anu enjoy Bioauway anu Times Squaie anu foiget uebates on an ill-
fateu bill; a bill that sought to haimonize thiee uiffeient iegimes of maiiiage - Afiican
Customaiy; Chiistian; Nuslim anu Binuu - foi ieasons that I still uo not unueistanu! #Belp.
Was this ieally the most uigent piece of penuing legislation unuei oui new uispensation.
Is theie something you want youi Women's Rep to auuiess.
Post it on social meuia. uive hei a ioaumap oi a time-fiame anu stait stalking piogiess (oi
lack of) online. It is one way we will piove that we neeueu these Women Reps; that they aie
iising to the occasion anu peifoiming to high stanuaius. Which one of them will blink fiist,

geneiating with the Bill that will leave them bettei iemembeieu than Phoebe Asiyo anu
Njoki Nuungu combineu anu foi all time.
#Save the +2S4 fiom becoming "The Lanu of Neuiociity".

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