Ms. Femme is back in the USA from a successful conference with some rubbernecking African Consultant. She is now raising money to lobby the Kenyan parliament.
As Mr. Africa Consultant bows out of our narrative in a drunken stupor, he leaves a legacy of platitudes that will shape Ms. Femme’s Agenda for Kenya, Uganda, Sudan and even Somalia- when the CIA money moves from a rebel’s hawala into a real central bank. These, with my editorial input, are:
a) The Kenyan government works in mysterious ways its blunders to perform, (TRUE);
b) The Kenyan Parliamentarian will vote for any Bill, he is bribed to, as long as it doesn’t reduce his salary, (TRUE);
c) All women in Kenya are opposed to Female Circumcision, (Existential Question- Incomputable).
Ms. Femme has a real Agenda, for Africa, now. Her erstwhile programmes she now considers too sissy. All those shelters for battered women are better of abandoned. This is Africa, after all, who needs practical solutions? All those Alternative Initiation rites programmes seem too sensible for Africa. Why bother trying to change illiterate minds while you can change their laws? Make everything they believe in illegal in one quorum-less afternoon. The law and its enforcement- or so says the African Consultant and his predecessor, the Colonial Secretary- are the only ways to tame the native savage!
So the male member, through his parliamentary representative, is invited to a conference to drum up support for the new fangled sexual offences Bill. At the onset, it is obvious that the only offence the MP can see is whereby the words sex and offence are used in the same phrase. But the Beach Resort is enticing. And there is the matter of the allowances. Allowances that can be used quite well in putting offence into sex- but that only in your definition not his. (His opinion: “Sasa kama ime amuka, utauliza yeye kama ako na ID...?)
The conference begins with Ms. Femme stating categorically that voting against the Sexual Offences Bill will contravene the will of the majority voters, who happen to be women. (The insinuation here that all men are tyrants who need to be kept on the short leash of the law is lost on the five male MPs present because they are…er… uhm… sending text messages on their phones.) The male MPs present, are by the way, those who were bullied by their Nairobi wives into bringing them along and are thus stuck in the conference room while the other male MPs spend their allowances on their Mombasa wives.
As the conference ends and declarations of support are sworn- declarations as binding as the NARC MOU- the MPs care less. As it is, even though he acts to the contrary, the Kenyan MP lives in Kenya, Also in as much as he doesn’t know what he is meant to do when he is elected, he knows how to get elected. He knows that the majority of his voters are women but most importantly, it is women who circumcise women. He knows that it is circumcised women who jeer at the uncircumcised. (The argument that that wouldn’t happen in a gynocentric world is only relevant as far as he is concerned, to dabblers in Gender Studies and other busybody theorists.) In a word, then he cannot figure out which women these NGO types with their empowered suits and powdered noses are talking about.
The MP has no respect for NGOs unless they are run by his wife. To him, this Bill has that odour of ostentation so characteristic of NGO boardrooms (as opposed to the sweat and wood smoke of the village woman?) The women in his constituency certainly, do not work for NGOs- they cook; they clean, and vote for whatever idiot their husband demands that they vote for. Infact, the only women from his constituency who work for NGOS are the ones running against him in 2007.
Back in Nairobi and things come to a head. An MP who skipped the conference- the talk part and not the allowances- rises on a point of order. He doesn’t say it but he hasn’t read the Bill and all his information is based on what he read in that morning’ s Letters to the Editor, and that to the effect that the Sexual Offences Bill, attempts to legalise Abortion and Homosexuality.
The stakes are raised. Abortion… Homosexuality? Now that is something the representatives of the largest demographic group- Religion- are against. If the church is against it, what MP can be for it? That even though the MP’s daughter is scheduled for an abortion at a prestigious hospital in Nairobi that afternoon…
The Bill cannot be passed as it is… No one is against it per se… hey no one even knows what it is about. But the Bill must be rewritten.
“Mr. Speaker sir, I move to defile this Bill….!”
I am told that Bill Clinton reacted to the Abortion Bill by paying it. For the Kenyan MP, his reaction will depend on two things: If it is his daughter’s, he will make sure Parliament’s Health Scheme pays for it. If it is your daughter’s, he will write her a bouncing cheque….!