There is sometimes this subtle and sometimes not so subtle assumption that things were more peaceful during Moi’s era. I’ve heard this since I was young. Of course I’ve grown up to be in the know, that there is a difference between silence and peace. But what everyone kinda agrees on, that Moi’s era were ‘quiet’ ones. Whatever that means. Whether it means peace to some, forced silence to others.
But one thing that I have observed, is that family wise, adults in Moi’s era were not okay. Especially parents. Ask anyone around you, born around 80s and 90s, how they were raised.
The state scene might have been quiet, silent or whatever, but the home scene was violent. All forms of violent. Physical, emotional, mental. All forms of violence that existed.
The adults of that era have raised a generation of people, who only hear of good marriages in books and rumours. Ask any millennial around you, if they would wish to have a marriage like their parents or neighbours. And besides a lucky few, everyone else, would rather not.
You see it in the way ladies nowadays run away from being housewives. As much as they would want to marry financially stable men, they would rather work and have something stable. What they saw their mothers and aunts go through isn’t something they want to repeat.
You see it in the way ladies fight for feminism. They do not want a society that treats them the way their aunts and mothers were treated. And they are willing to do anything to fight for it.
You hear it in the horrific boarding school stories millennials have. Boarding schools run by our parents’ age mates. Boarding schools our parents took us to, fully knowing the conditions that were there. But they took us anyway. After all, what is small small violence?
I heard a radio host calling herself 001 or something like that, she was talking of the kid who called their parent when drunk with friends and was sent an ambulance. And how was it her mother, she would have been beaten almost to death, and taken to the nearest police station.
These are the parents who normalized taking their kids to the police station for discipline. It seems absurd, but I knew what that woman was saying was true because I also grew up being told of fellow townspeople who had taken their teenagers to our local Police station, for a thorough beating, to instill discipline.
I also see the violence that existed in that era, in all the sexual assaults that took place. Just go to any social media page or local radio station when they open up the topic of people abused when young. And the most scary thing isn’t the sheer number of ladies sexually assaulted as kids, though that alone is scary, it is also that almost 90% of those cases were by fathers, uncles and cousins.
I’m not saying that Kenyatta’s era was not as bad socially. I would assume that that’s when our parents grew up. Or thereabouts. It’s just that I don’t know how their parents’ marriage were like. Our grandparents that is. From the stories I hear, some semblance of traditionalism still existed. Like my grandfather had 3 wives. And I bet several of us here had grandfathers with several wives. So in a way, their problems may not be similar to the marital problems, our parents faced in their marriages.
But the only reason I don’t speak about Kenyatta’s era socially, is because I don’t know about it. Whether our mothers were sexually abused by their fathers, cousins and uncles as much as our generation was. I don’t know.
But one thing that I know, is that Moi’s era, was an extremely violent one. Some civil war of sorts if I stretch it. Just that the violence wasn’t in the streets.
The violence was at home. In the family scene.
And it’s effects, are being seen to date, in this generation.