By Dorcas S
The discourse (and I use the term loosely) over the gruesome murder of Sharon Otieno is a Rorschach Test of Kenya/on Kenyans.
It is a window into how Kenyans define morality and apportion responsibility/blame.
The murder of the 26year old further illustrates how the country defines leadership and what they expect from said leadership.
Someone also touched on the classism embedded in the tryst – that Sharon should have dated “her class” or “stuck to her lanes” as expressed by another!
Obviously corruption, nepotism, favoritism and the role of use of political office to curry favor is never far away in any interactions involving Kenyans/politicians. The late’s parents are on record alluding to promises of county tenders and KSh20M house their daughter was waiting for/had been promised.
Most importantly, the tragedy is a window into how Kenyans relate to fellow citizens one to another and importantly male to female and on this one, let me be categorical in saying that there is a very obvious and palpable Male/Female divide; a misogynistic strain to the exchange that is not surprising given previous exchanges – on this wall.
Most troubling, in my opinion, is the ease with which some self-described religious individuals, those who cite scriptures from respective holy works – across multiple faiths – are quick to blame the victim while casually, almost flippantly, ho-humming their way through the role of Sharon Otieno’ partner in the tryst:
The callous flippancy is embodied in the ridiculous notion that the “girls should ‘follow the narrow path….study hard…blah…” because “these sponsors are ALREADY morally-corrupt.”
Let’s think about that for a minute:
We are asking the country’s youth to take the higher moral ground and lead a life along the “straight and narrow” because Kenya’s leadership – all the way to the top – is (already) morally bankrupt!
This is the same morally-bankrupt leadership those now blaming the victim (for her death) support with religious fervor and consistently vote into office – also with Sunday/Church Day religiosity!
Ms. Sharon Otieno’s death has allowed Kenyans to project their values and ethics and sense of morality; of right and of wrong onto the tragedy and as unsurprising as my observations are i.e. we are a nation in trouble, it is still disturbing when looked at from a practical perspective:
A pregnant young woman and her seven-month fetus are dead; killed in the most personal and violent way.
Stabbing someone necessitates closeness of those involved; proximity of assailant to victim. The attacker/s see/s, smell/s, hear/s and feel/s their victim’s expiry; their last breath. Their death.
Stabbing someone to is that personal.
Stabbing them repeatedly, severally is subhuman.
The results of the Projective (Rorschach) Test is that as a country, as a people, we are well on our way to losing our collective humanity – if we have not done so already.