By Onyango Ochieng Jr.
I am still gob-smacked by by the horrifying verbal assault launched over the week in parliament by Majority Leader, Aden Duale, against Kwale Women Representative Zuleka Hassan. A female legislator whose sole ‘crime’ was to walk in with her 5 month old baby into the chambers- A tradition that has gained traction in many civilized democracies including Europe, USA and Australia. In 2013, Kenya’s Parliament through Parliamentary Service Commission passed a policy compelling employers to create special rooms for lactating mothers where they can nurse their babies. In this context therefore, wisdom demanded a cautious approach since the institution of parliament had not complied with its own regulations. The shouts and screams of outdated standings orders were inhuman, insensitive and simply wrong. This was turning into that Rump British parliament dismissed by Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell in 1653 through his famous speech “In the name of God, please go!”
But Duale pointedly stood out, with his weaponized slur. He was barking mad at the lady, like a tout shouting in a bus park. Civility, decorum and equanimity was tossed through the window as the vacuous bully paraded his temporary moments of cruelty only comparable to the dark days of Dictator “Papa Doc” in Haiti.
What still flogs my conscience is how a man, old enough in experience, exposure and position to the lady would elect such despicable path of shame. He is the leader of majority for crying out loud, the leader of government business in parliament and should’ve positioned himself to be the “father of the House” by providing a sensible direction or prescribing an amicable solution to a happy ending. Instead, the crackpot famed more for shooting from lip elected to be “vindictive, divisive conniver” brow-beating the lady into submission like a lion running over a tired antelope.
Hon. Zuleka was eventually kicked out to the delight of the drooling power-monger, a guttural ‘victory’ for a man whose record in parliament as a voice for Garissa Town Constituency is nothing to smile about save for his obscene obsession of sipping tax-free ‘haram’ alcohol at the parliamentary bar and combing dingy alleys of Nairobi streets soliciting for illicit sex. The leaked story of Nazlin Omar ‘cables’ still towers fresh in our collective memory as a nation like the statue of Jupiter Olympus.
If only this scandalous character expended similar vim and gravitas in sorting out the problems of his constituents including in parliament where he is the majority leader with unlimited access to the ears of the president and government resources -things is would be different today. Garissa Town would be a socio-economic Eldorado of sorts. However, like all dictators frantically trying to revive their dying political careers: They do first things LAST and LAST things FIRST.
Duale, a man witnessing a cataclysmic drop in political influence in Garissa County and the wider Northern Frontier Counties had to manufacture a storm to drown in it. Instead of coming out strong, he ended like an apartheid oppressor busy tormenting a woman in this day and age of empowering the girl-child. Such retrogressive, repugnant, low self-esteemed political crooks should not be leaders of majority in any sane gathering of men. Shame