By Rose Nyambura Maina
Published June 27, 2015
“Tutaendelea tu kukata. Hata watushike tutarudi na tukate tena; kwa sababu wanaume wamekuwa bure kabisa. Kazi ni kukunywa tu, na hawaachi kitu nyumbani. Na wakirudi wanataka chakula..,” a middle aged woman in Nyeri County of central Kenya tells the media in Kiswahili, Kenya’s national and second official language.
So what drives her to tell NTV network of Nairobi, “We shall continue to chop them off even if they arrest and imprison us. Our men have become so useless, only taking alcohol but still expecting us to feed them”?
These sentiments came in the wake of a 27-year-old woman chopping her husband’s manhood off on June 10, 2015. The woman was reported to have turned on the man, first stabbing him on the shoulder before proceeding to cut off his manhood with a kitchen knife.
But that was hardly the first incident. Another woman in Nyeri had several days earlier been arraigned in court for a similar offense. She was said to have committed the crime after finding a packet of condoms in her husband’s pocket.
Nderitu Njoka, chair of Maendeleo ya Wanaume, an organization that champions the rights of men in Kenya, told Capital FM radio of Nairobi that some 350 men had by November 12, 2014 had their genitals chopped off while 1.2 million had been subjected to domestic violence by their female partners.
So what is driving women, like the one quoted at the beginning of this article, to vow that nothing will deter them from chopping off their men’s organs? Could it be frustration? Feeling that the men have abdicated their responsibilities?
Alcoholism is a big problem not just in Nyeri but in central Kenya. Most of those who drink are aged 17-28 years. Some time back, women in Kiambu County held public demonstrations calling upon the Government to intervene and save their men from alcohol consumption. They said the men were enslaved by the bottle and had neglected not only their responsibilities as bread winners and protectors of families but had denied their women their conjugal rights. This was more than two decades ago.
Just like the public demonstration of the Kiambu women that generated amusement, antics of their Nyeri counterparts have been received with jokes, hilarious comments and caricatures about the men and women from Nyeri County. One such joke is that ‘Marrying a woman from Nyeri is like going to preach peace in the unpredictable Somali capital, Mogadishu’. Another joke is that Kenya should deploy women from, Nyeri in fighting the Somali Al Shabab terror instead of using its armed forces.
It looks like it is anger and bitterness that is driving the women around Mount Kenya into doing the unthinkable. Many may say the way in which men are losing their organs serves them right but could also be considered a violation of human rights by the womenfolk. Just as the women say they are being denied their rights is the same way they could be denying their partners their rights.
The man in this region is slowly but surely losing respect. This could partly explain why the man is turning to alcohol. Perhaps to dull their pain, if not to escape their humiliation meted on them by their women. Instead of waking up early to report to work, the men are instead going to illicit brew dens.
The chopping off of men’s genitals is also a threat to procreation and the family unit. Without procreation there will be no future generation.
Instead of using what is happening in Nyeri as a comic relief for a country under tension, the Government of Kenya should come up with a lasting solution. And not just to save Nyeri from bad publicity as the County’s politicians alleged in their County Assembly, but to restore human dignity, family values and pride without which there can be no socio-economic development.
Rather than treat what is happening in Nyeri as a joke, Kenya ought to treat it as a matter of life and death. Like the Kiambu women had demanded in the 1990s, the government should step in and fight the rampant sale of illicit brew that is also being sold to underage boys. The church should also join in by counseling men and women on how to relate respectfully. The women could do with some anger-management seminars as the men are dissuaded from running away from their family responsibilities.
But could this be a Kenyan rather than a Nyeri problem? How does one explain what happened to a 30-year-old man in Rift Valley’s Kilgoris whose manhood was chopped off and thrown away by his two wives who caught him with another woman in a guest house in 2003?
After having attacking the female companion with knives and chopping off one of her ears, the aggrieved two women turned on their cornered husband and chopped off his organ.
“Without his manhood he will not roam around with other women; he will instead invest all his money in the education and upkeep of our three children,” one of the wives was quoted by Nairobi’s East African Standard newspaper as having said.