Stripping Women Barbaric


The Nation (Nairobi)/December 24, 2003

Over the last fortnight, there have been a rash of incidents in Migori District where women judged to be "dressed indecently" by groups of rowdy hooligans have found themselves stripped naked.

In the latest episode, a 24-year-old French woman working with a volunteer organisation was the victim of these thugs. The Senegal-born Amina Ngom was stripped at the bus station as she boarded a Nairobi-bound bus.

In recent times, there have been reports of similar behaviour in Kisii, Homa Bay and Kuria districts.

Again in Migori, a District Officer's wife was also stripped in the company of her husband who had met her as she got off a bus from Nairobi.

A few years ago, Nairobi's Country Bus station was the setting for similarly uncivilised behaviour. In those days, the outlawed Mungiki sect was said to be behind the attacks on women.

It is embarrassing that 40 years after independence, some men in Kenya still possess the Neanderthal spirit that leads them to arrogate themselves the role of moral, dress, and cultural policemen. Dictating what other people should or should not wear.

Reports of such behaviour gives all Kenyans a bad name. Why? Because as these attacks happen, the rest of us just stand by as though we are helpless. Though it is good that in this case, arrests have been made, what is more important in the long run is that these savages be shown the error of their ways.

When the British colonisers came to Africa, there were those amongst them who claimed to be on a mission to "civilise" the natives. If we are to take this part of the colonial mission at face value, then it is clear the colonialists failed in this mission too.

It is time police and society got together to put a stop to this madness and told those practising such savagery that their behaviour just won't do.

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