A teenage girl is jogging in her neighbourhood. A car starts following her. The car is full of boys. This is not the beginning of some day-time movie. This is something that happened just a few days ago.
How do you suppose that scenario turned out? If it was a movie, it wouldn’t be pretty. In regular life, the girl probably got intimidated and stopped jogging, which messes her health routine, and does a lot of damage to her mind. Those boys may not have said a word, or even laid a hand on her, but can you imagine what was going through her head, and what those thoughts are still doing to her? Now, reverse the roles for a second. Imagine it was a (teenage) guy jogging, and being followed around by a car full of girls. I doubt he’d be unhappy about it, let alone traumatised …
I’m not a bra-burning feminist. I quite like my bras actually. They’re comfy and fluffy and just a tad pricey. That said, I’m the single mother of a feisty, gorgeous, pre-teenage baby girl. I also live in hoodies and jeans, and wear my hair in short purple dreadlocks, so women’s lib comes up around me a lot. Plus, I have first hand experience with rape, so it’s a big issue for me.
I can say without fear of contradiction that there is no Kenyan that doesn’t know who Michael Ranneberger was, or who Rob Macaire is. These are not just names of foreign envoys or figure heads of distant lands, these are people who Kenyans have come to know, hate them or love them. This is because Western envoys in this country do not just come to Kenya, settle in Muthaiga, move in to their plush Chancery offices, ship their kids off to the International School of Kenya then kick their feet up and say they have arrived. Western envoys go beyond the call of their diplomatic duties and actually take an interest in the affairs of the country. As for the African diplomats, many have been concerned with their loud silence on any major issue of national importance. It’s almost as if there is a silent agreement between our government and the African diplomatic corps to remain silent: Live and let live.