Causing Damage For Popularity

Now, before I start, I feel I should say that I’m not necessarily opposed to celebrity news/gossip sites. It’s not my cup of tea but a lot of people are clearly interested in what they do. There is a market for it and they have moved in to take advantage of that. Good on them. That’s not something I have a problem with. What I want to talk about is how some of them do it.

This is not going to be one of those articles where I tip toe around who I’m talking about. While they are certainly not the only guilty ones, I’m going to be focusing on Ghafla. They’re one of the most popular and if it has to start with somebody it should probably be them.

Over the past few days, there’s been talk about the whole Tony Mochama incident. In case you’ve somehow missed it, here’s a quick summary. Tony Mochama (aka Smitta) is being accused of sexual assault. The general accepted version of the accusation is that he was at a fellow poet’s house, he committed the assault on her friend and that there are a few witnesses. He has since denied any wrong doing.

Now, whether you believe this or not, I think you should see the problem with Ghafla’s headline.

RAPE!! Standard Group’s TONY MOCHAMA Accused! Here Is The Story!”

There’s no other way to put it, this is misinformation, plain and simple. They are unashamedly being sensationalist for the sole purpose of getting views. You can see this from how the actual article is phrased. It is, more or less, accurate…if you’re already aware of what’s going on. But if you’re not then you will come away with a twisted version of what is actually being said. I’ve already seen people on twitter peddling this ‘Ghafla’ version. By selling the story like this they’re making it easier for Mochama to deny the charges and harder for people to believe it.

I have already seen someone say “you’re telling me she was raped as everyone watched? Yeah right.”

Ghafla is a popular platform where a lot of people get their information. I don’t think that should be the case but it is. And as such they have a responsibility not to pull stunts like this. They do not get to stir things up so they can get hits. This situation is not theirs to manipulate for click bait!

Look at this headline.

“I DID NOT RAPE A WOMAN IN WAMBUI’s HOUSE”!! Standard Group’s TONY MOCHAMA (Smitta Smitten) Responds!”

This is one thing we can say for certain that Tony Mochama has not done. He did not say those words. The only ones actually pushing a rape narrative are Ghafla. No one accused it. No one denied it (because it was never leveled.) We are talking about a sexual assault. Yet, here is Ghafla shaping their own version of a story that will cause more people to visit their site. How fundamentally sick is that?

Listen up Ghafla team. Maybe you believe he is (or could be) guilty in which case you are derailing the conversation and making life harder for everyone else who does. Or you think he is (or could be) innocent, but then you are just fanning the flames by raising the charge. Most likely, I think you don’t care either way. You are literally just causing damage because it helps you meet your quota. STOP IT!

Here’s a few things you need to start working on.

One. You need to reevaluate how you view women.

Two. You need to stop trafficking in human misery.

Three. If you are already doing one and two then you need to get to a place where no one has to tell you why a tweet like this is wrong.

“Sexy Photos Of Natalie Tewa Who Was In The Accident With Wangechi the Rapper!! Must See!!”

Is that really so much to ask?

Here Cometh The Feminists

The movies were wrong. The alien invasion did not come in spaceships. It did not come with beams in the sky or crop circles in the fields. We did not even even see it coming. The invasion came and went, we were occupied and we did not even know it.

You’re skeptical. I understand, but look around. There’s a chance that the invaders are with you or near you right now. The species that wants to destroy everything you know and bring all of us down. You’ve no doubt heard of them. They go by the name…. feminists.

We have all heard many things about these feminists. Disturbing things. Unsettling things. Things that spring from the same well that inspired Dante’s Inferno. But I wanted the truth. I wanted to know what it is that they truly want. So I decided I was going to meet one. Against the advice of those wiser than me, I braved the danger and agreed to interview a feminist.

One of the things I have heard about these feminists is that once they fully posses a woman they do not shave their legs. Hair grows wildly covering them from knee to ankle in a wild mane. It is a strange phenomenon. It reminds me of the Arabic story where King Solomon meets the Queen of Sheba. His advisers warn him that he should not trust her for her legs are covered in hair like a goat. Solomon, in his general all-knowing fashion, tricks her into revealing her legs and confirms these rumors. This tells us that the feminists have been around for a long time. And, more disturbing still, that even the wisest man in the world feared them. This will not be an easy interview.

The feminist arrives and there are oddities. For one, she is smiling. This is odd because feminists do not smile. Their faces are permanently scowling. The bitterness of their hate for men, sex and children, and by extension their hate for happiness, is never far. It occurs to me that a smiling feminist is a dangerous thing. What would make a feminist smile? Will I leave this place alive? Will this be my tomb, a burning bra flying high above it to celebrate (another?) feminist kill?

“Hello,” she says cheerfully.

There is no sign of her man hate or innate bitterness. It is almost as if these things do not exist. I can now see how so many feminists have made it in the media. They are excellent actors.

“So,” I say carefully, “what is a feminist?”

“THAT,” she says a little too loudly (as is to be expected), “is a complicated question.”

“How so?”

“A feminist is a lot of things. We don’t all believe the same ideas and we don’t all agree on how to express them. But at it’s simplest, a feminist is someone who believes in political, social and economic equality between the sexes. A feminist is someone who sees the gender divide and the attitudes towards women and wants that to change. Basically, a feminist is someone who is tired of seeing women treated like shit.”

I flinch. A woman using language like that. A feminist indeed.

“I’ve heard this before but…aren’t women equal already?”

“Is that a joke?” she says, her eyes narrowing. There is a hint of menace in her voice. The mask is dropping. “How can you look at this world and possibly even say something like that?”

“Well. Personally I think it’s mostly fixed…”

“Abuse! Rape! Violence! And if you don’t think these are common then how casually they are treated certainly is. People act as if this is the way things ought to be. As if women should not complain about these things. Do you not see how men treat women everywhere?!”

“Look. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen. Some men are bad. Completely sick in the head, but we must be equal in this. Some women are also bad. So if you think about it, not all…”

“Don’t you dare.”

“What?”

“Don’t you dare try to say not all men.”

“But it’s true right? Not all men are bad.”

“So fucking what? People just use that as a way to not deal with the conversation. When we’re talking about ways to reduce traffic accidents you don’t hear not all drivers. When we’re talking corruption you’re not going to accept a goddamn ‘not all politicians!’ That is not a conversation that even needs to be had. Enough men act, enough men condone and enough men do nothing for it to be a giant, global problem. The phrase not all men means nothing here. And if you still think it does then never talk about any problem in the world because guess what? Not all fucking human beings!”

I say nothing. It will do no good. Clearly, feminists cannot use logic. We stare at each other for a while no one saying anything. Finally, I ask:

“Why are you feminists always so angry?”

“Because there’s a lot to be angry about.”

“Yes, but what if you filtered your message. Were nicer. If you weren’t always shouting. Don’t you think people would listen more?”

“You think that hasn’t been tried? How do you think feminists get so angry? We tell you over and over but you don’t get it. You really don’t. We shout, we whisper, we’re kind, we’re mean but nothing sticks! Everything you say after shows that you haven’t even thought about it. Not really. And how can that be? Truly, I don’t get it. How can that be?”

“That’s not fair. You’re just doing what you always do. You’re making assumptions. I have thought about it. I know I respect women. I don’t mistreat them but you want me to be the enemy. I’m not. I came from a woman, we all did. Women I respect, it’s feminists I have a problem with.”

“You see? You respect women because you came from one. Or you were raised by a single mother. Or because you have sisters. If you thought about it you’d know that that’s a terrible reason to respect someone. You’re related to some women and that’s where you stopped thinking about it? That’s it. How about because women are human beings?”

“That’s a lot of talk but it’s just over complicating a simple matter. What’s wrong with respecting women because of my mother?”

“When was the last time your major reason for respecting a man was your father?”

“Feminists! Always always overacting. Listen to yourself. Nowadays a man can’t say anything without starting a fight. We cant even compliment a woman without it being a big deal.”

“Is that what you call what happens? Complimenting?”

“Yes. I do.”

“Just compliments. Ha. Tell you what. Next time a gay man cat calls you or gropes you I want to see you take it as a compliment.”

“That….that’s not the same thing!”

“Isn’t it? So it’s not unwanted attention or contact?”

I stare at her appalled. A gay….WHAT!? JESUS! These feminists are mad. Mad mad women.

“Look at you,” she says showing that infamous feminist sneer, “so shocked by just the idea of it. The idea alone! How often does this even happen to anyone? Do you even know anyone it’s happened to? Why does it scare you so much? Are you not just afraid that gay people will treat you how you treat women. Doesn’t that tell you something?”

“If you’re not willing to take this conversation seriously, I have nothing more to say.”

“Running away then?”

“This is why no one likes feminists.”

I walk away on that note unwilling to listen to anything else. I can see that these feminists will be a danger. A grave danger. They are a plague that we cannot countenance. They will destroy our way of life if we let them. They are enemies of men. Even enemies of women. You heard what she said about my mother. And so my brothers and sisters, we must fight them in any way we can. We must not let them take over our women.

If the feminists want something then we must not let them have it. If they fight for something, we must fight against it. Do not bother justifying yourself comrades. You saw how little they value logic. Tell them they are wrong because they are feminist. That is enough. But if you are brave and you think you can convert them, tell them the truth. Tell it to them over and over. Do not let their slick talk fool you. They have tricks to tempt you away from truth. Hold on to it and repeat it. Do not let them win.

Brace yourselves my brothers. Here cometh the feminists.

***

ADDENDUM

I chose to tackle this topic this way because, quite honestly, I’m already angry. To write in a completely serious tone would have probably not ended well. The past few days have been one sexist act after another around me. The fact that it’s annoyed me so much and I wasn’t the victim and I’m a man should probably answer all your “why are feminists so angry” inquiries. If I had to actually personally deal with this nonsense i’m not quite sure what I’d do.

With this approach, there is exaggeration (obviously). The entire alien angle is the way people misrepresent feminism and completely refuse to understand it. The stereotypes they hold and the entire “otherness” they ascribe to it all of which I turned up to level 10.

The arguments that follow however are more or less accurate. These are the most common answers given to these issues. Ask any feminist and they will probably tell you how much of this kind of thing they’ve had to deal with and more. Everything in the man’s quotes has been uttered almost word for word on several occasions. It is not the minority view. If anything it seems to be the main narrative.

On that note, I’d like to shout out every woman who has to continually listen to the kind of thing I’ve covered here. Specifically, my co-blogger, Olivia Kidula. Liv is like a feminist super hero. Less superwoman more of The Punisher. She will not put up with your sexist bullshit for even a second. On twitter and in person, God help her victims. There are times she’s been criticized for things I’ve written on feminism. These critics suddenly changed their tune when they found out I wrote it as if the arguments had also changed. It’s alright though, she dealt with them.

Another person that deserves recognition is Samira Ali who inspired the central idea for this post (which puts her post inspiration count on this blog to two. I might have to start paying her). She’s had her share of scraps with people who think working women are scary and other stupid ideas® ( Now available in all Sexist social networking accounts everywhere). She’s a well of brilliant ideas. Seriously, this girl knows her shit.

Follow these people. You’ll be entertained and your TL will be smarter and funnier than it would have been otherwise.

All you women in the movement, keep fighting the good fight.

As for you men, someone please make a Kenyan version of this t-shirt.

The Haunting Legacy

Kenya’s relationship with politics and the past is something I do not truly understand. In fact, I’m not even sure  it’s something that can be understood. For some reason, any political act older than a year or two morphs into something completely unrecognizable.

This has never been more clear than when reading the #Moiat90 tweets. I never thought I’d see the day when people would praise Moi. I’m sad I saw it. Right now I’m not even sure which was more shocking. The people who honestly said he was a good (even great) leader or those who had some weak justification for why he was ok after all.

‘”He had flaws but he was authoritative.”

“He was a dictator, but he’s lived for 90 years, what have you done?”

“He had shortcomings like everyone else.”

Some of it is just ridiculous.

“There was no tribalism in Moi’s reign” Uh….what!?

“Insecurity was not a problem under Moi. We were safe.” Excuse me?

You have no idea how much restraint it took not to start yelling at random people on the internet. Instead, I decided to compile a small list of highlights of the Moi “legacy.” It’s not conclusive, there’s definitely much more but it’s enough to get a snapshot. Enough to get an idea of the extent of the Moi era excesses. Here we go.

 

***

1977

Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o is arrested after his play Ngaahika Ndeenda (I Will Marry When I want) angers Vice President Moi. He writes his next novel in prison on tissue paper.

1982 – 1986

All political parties, save for KANU, are outlawed.

Following the 1982 failed coup d’etat several people are rounded up in Kamiti Maximum Prison which has been converted into a concentration camp. Hundreds of them are university students, a group that had challenged  the one party system before the coup.

The Special Branch  begins to act act as a tool of oppression. Arrests take place in the name of cracking down on “Mwakenya Activist rebels.” Several people are taken to the now infamous Nyayo House torture chambers

Some literature, the likes involving Karl Marx, Che Guevara, Malcolm X etc,  is banned and confisicated.

Sporting a beard becomes borderline illegal as they are associated with Marxism. Having a beard while being a lecturer is almost certain to get you arrested as a Communist Mwakenya dissident.

1987

Mary Anne Fitzgerald, A British journalist, is briefly arrested on trumped up charges after reporting on Illegal exports by businesses men connected to Moi.

1988

The Mlolongo voting system is introduced. Voters are supposed to line up behind pictures of their candidates. Intimidation is rife. And, if there is doubt about the result, the recount is not possible for obvious reasons.

The Police now have the right to detain anyone who criticizes the administration for up to 14 days.

Mary Anne Fitzgerald publishes an article alleging that the judiciary is under the government’s thumb. She is deported.

1989

There are plans to build a 62 story skyscraper in Uhuru Park topped with a statue of Moi. Wangari Maathai opposes the project as a waste of both resources the country doesn’t have and one of the few green spaces in Nairobi. While she manages to erode investor confidence she is forced to seek refuge in Tanzania.

1990

The Government breaks up the Saba Saba demonstration killing at least 20 and arresting hundreds.

Kenneth Matiba, Raila Odinga and Charles Rubia are imprisoned without trial for calling for multiparty elections. Matiba is denied medication and suffers a stroke.

1991

A play is banned for it’s political content. It is a rendition of George Orwell’s Animal Farm.

It is believed that the government is intentionally instigating and fanning ethnic clashes in order to demonstrate the folly of multiparty elections. From 1991 – 1996 KHRC estimate 15,000 people die in the clashes and 300,000 are internally displaced.

1994

David Makali, a journalist for The People, writes an article indicating that a court ruling saw interference from Moi and the government. He is jailed after refusing to sign an apology drafted by the court. He is one of at least 18 Journalists that year penalized through the legal system for criticizing the government.

1995

Clarion, a research group that has published a study exposing widespread corruption, is banned.

Mwangaza Trust which has campaigned for constitutional reform is banned.

The Safina Party is unable to officially register. Their application is not approved until 1997. One of it’s leaders, Richard Leakey is accosted in his home by a gang calling him a colonialist (sentiments echoed by Moi) and demanding that he leave.

1999

The High Court dismisses a petition filed by Mwai Kibaki against Moi for rigging the election. The reason given for the dismissal is that a copy has not been delivered to Moi personally.
It is ignored that this is because bodyguards prevented access to Moi’s office.

Moi declares that courts should not interfere in matters involving land and political parties.

Capture 2

***

There are things I didn’t fit into the timeline. Like amendments aimed at increasing presidential power to take away rights while reducing accountability. The intentional breaking down of the checks and balances that keep the Judiciary neutral. Significant portions of the countries wealth siphoned away. Possible assasinations. The list goes on and it only gets darker.

I truly wonder how many of our problems today can be attributed to the effects of that era still haunting us. Wounds we’re still patching up and healing from before we can even grow. The effects of that man’s legacy.