If there is any doubt that Kenyans are obsessed with wombs, policing women’s bodies and what people do in their bedrooms, that doubt has been completely eliminated by the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD25). Kenyans are, indeed, obsessed.
The summit taking place in Nairobi marks 25 years since the first one where international bodies and governments agreed that access to proper sexual and reproductive healthcare information and services, as well as family planning services, are essential for women, and for development.
But with all the propaganda that is flying around, from a parallel conference by major churches, to social media, to videos by angry Caucasian pseudo-Christians, you would think that ICPD is trying to sanction nationwide orgies and scenes resembling the movie The Purge, where anarchy and murder reign.
Perhaps it is the contrasting messaging. The fact that the government, and the president himself, allowed this conference to happen in Nairobi, would imply that he doesn’t actually have as big a problem with the conference as earlier indicated – contrary to statements he made last week. Then, the undue focus on pre and post natal care ignores everything else that the conference is addressing – like stopping FGM, for example, and ending maternal mortality – which, in spite of a dozen marathons or so, remains at an alarming statistic.
The facts: the government, by its own admission, owes the citizens of Kenya, basic healthcare, and sexual and reproductive health information and services. This does indeed involve talking about sex, its effects, and making sure that those who need hospitals can access them, for consultation and drugs if necessary. This is what Form Ni Gani was pushing for, this year and last year – the fact that the Constitution of Kenya 2010 guarantees the right to the highest standard reproductive health" and the Health Act of 2017 guarantees safe, effective and affordable family planning for all Kenyan adults. Where is that safe, effective and affordable family planning, for all adults?
Meanwhile, fake Christians are screaming bloody murder on the streets – literally – in a situation that has absolutely nothing to do with religion, and everything to do with personal choice – free will, if you will. The energies that the church has chosen to invest, are being directed to propaganda in the form of videos, marches and public statements, when ironically, we all want the same thing – for women to be treated the way they’re supposed to be, and for God-given, if you believe so, autonomy of one’s own body.
And the reason I say fake Christians, is perhaps I have a higher esteem for actual Christians, and choose to believe that the ‘godly’ among us are trying to make the world a better place, instead of demonising things that they don’t agree with, or understand. I choose to listen to the tenet Jesus preached, which says, love one another, as you love yourself – with no addendums. He didn’t say love one another, unless you’re of a different religion, or love one another, unless you’re imperfect. That much is clear – everyone is imperfect, and none more so than others. But hatred is more efficient than logic, I guess. It’s easier to take a politician’s money in the church than to ask where he got it from; it’s easier to want life to be allowed to come forth, than it is to take care of lives that already exist. Ironic, isn’t it?