What If Dr. Mutunga And Nancy Baraza Are Rejected

June 8th 2011- Nominees to the country’s top two legal jobs are proving extremely controversial – because of their history.

Women eNews Kenya would like to share with you a piece mailed to us from International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association.

What if Dr. Mutunga and Nancy Baraza are rejected

Read on

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What If Dr. Mutunga And Nancy Baraza Are Rejected

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The grounds under which Nancy Baraza’s nomination should be rejected; that she is one of the founding members and former chairperson of FIDA, and that she is writing a doctoral thesis on sexual minority rights (most news articles that have actually paid attention to this are writing it down, or off, as “gay rights” something that I’m not really sure about) are worth looking at.

The fact that her activism has been primarily on the rights of women and that she is willing to use her knowledge to pursue societal figures whom most argue should be deprived of even the basic right to life is, to some, a major course of concern.

Feminism, in Kenya, is a bad thing and should be undercut at every turn. FIDA is increasingly being drawn up, as in various other instances where it has featured in mainstream, as an organisation ran by divorced women, women who broke their marriages to pursue some conception of freedom or living that did not have men in it.

In the messages that I have read concerning Miss Baraza, the fact that she is divorced, is in an organisation that is run by divorced women just goes stated as if to show that it carries its own potency.

I blame the current FIDA bashing over the fact that feminism has become such a bad word in Africa that it has become less associated with trying to gain equality of women in all aspects of life and has become simplified to fit into patriarchal aspersions of feminists being “men haters” and lesbian.

Politics in Kenya, which is patriarchal in every sense of the word, thus weds (heterosexual/hetero-productive) men with the public political sphere while women are relegated to the private, to unpaid domestic work and child rearing to become bodies that produce to the extent that they become non bodies themselves.

Of course, the world is changing and having such a mind set in 2011 is offensive not only to women but to the patrilineal kinship ties that are esteemed so much.

Women have done great jobs being our mothers, sisters and wives they can sure handle political and public office so long as they keep off feminism or the pursuit of equal rights for all women.

Rejecting Miss Baraza’s nomination because her pursuit of knowledge might involve the chronicling of lives that have been and continue to be destroyed, that discriminative laws have been used to imprison people and to deny them the most basic of human needs and have relegated these people to the darkest corners of our minds and societies sounds like the kind of policing that impedes academic freedom.

It becomes much worse because the said person is a woman; it invokes a rich history of subjugation and immoral control over the lives of others.

That Mutunga’s earring ‘might’ be representative or demonstrative of queerness and that Baraza’s doctoral thesis ‘might’ be questioning of laws, stereotypes and beliefs that have been used to discriminate against queers shows just how much we need fresh faces that combat these myths and that challenge us to think beyond what we have come to view as ‘necessary’ or ‘normal’.

Kenne Mwikya

http://ilga.org/ilga/en/article/mZscnH11Ua

The Views expressed here are not those of Women eNews Kenya

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