Kenya’s Fragile Masculinity And Politics Of Emasculation
The Kenyan political arena is one of the most dynamic and often considered the dirtiest arena that only the vilest can survive. It is one that new contestants are convinced that upholding their integrity is like brushing a crocodile’s teeth.
Even though the wind can move the branches of trees but it will never move the head of a man, the Kenyan political wind demeans, emasculates, and has the power to roll men’s heads at will.
In most political gatherings, men are the most attendees followed by women and children especially those out of school because of psychosocial, economic, and political insufficiencies.
In this case, with the male dominance in elective posts, it is clear that most men among the electorate are bystanders to social injustices because of political passivity and flattery. The narratives termed as public agendas by political parties are framed to utilize the role of masculinity and emasculating itinerary operates as a concealed norm in structuring party and national politics.
When a politician is questioned by a man, our politics are designed in a way that the followers will attack all men who seem to be heading in that direction. It is the kind that discards the wise who whispered, that when a bee stings a man, he shouldn’t set off to destroy all beehives but instead seek the presenting opportunity of becoming a bee farmer. This kind of cruelty that attacks any rational thinking human, depoliticizes and emasculates the men to think that they can’t participate in the reconstruction of political conscience rooted in true leadership and governance.
The outcomes of the Kenyan elections have kept many wondering whether manifestos match the practice that follows. Elections are equated to violence and men are so emasculated politically that it has become hard to stand against societal disintegration and violence while serving politicians’ interests.
Invoking gender by most politicians as a vocal sound of inclusivity is deceitful and has nothing to do with equity and equality but as a way of sounding normal in an abnormal political environment. This has been strengthened by the fourth estate broadcasting the clash between masculine figures who rule the news headlines.
In this case, women and children are demoted to a subordinate position in the community’s political conversation. That is why we need to ask ourselves as a society, are we addressing the real issues, and what is the political role in our fragile masculinity and politics of emasculation.
Emasculation by our political environment is not propelled by gender differences in Kenya because female candidates have traditionally been stereotyped as being less aggressive. We have also witnessed female politicians creating subscriptions styled as daughters of male politicians. We haven’t seen male politicians identifying by rallying themselves as sons of a certain female politician. Social brainwashing views political dysfunction as of value and our society is so immobilized to a point that we abandoned the wisdom of old that dictates, a chameleon changes color to match the earth, but the earth doesn’t change color to match the chameleon. Why do we change to match the chameleon and compromise our conscience to try to fit into politicians’ inconsistent narratives?
Kenyan media, religious groups, and tribal councils of elders are the most utilized drivers of the Kenyan “flawed populism” ideology. The Kenyan flawed populism ideology has the corrupt elite calling themselves “the people” representing a moral force against their fellow corrupt privileged.
According to Cas Mudde the author of ‘Populism’, populism is the idea that society is separated into two groups at odds with one another - "the people" as a morally good force contrasting them against "the corrupt elite".
We have the most unfortunate political perspectives where corrupt elites convince the electorate, mostly men, that their fellow corrupt elites are not the solution. They have frequently been using this during their political rallies and affirming control and dominance politically in their communities.
That is the reason, it is possible to find different political outfits that care less about psychosocial, economic, and human dignity. It has been an abusive journey where politicians dismantle social integration and economic empowerment. These politicians disregard addressing collective trauma that affects the wholeness of humanity.
Why are men not questioning the contradictory political ideologies that strengthen social classes created by the corrupt elites to facilitate their political existence? We need to understand that the social soul has encountered political capture of arts, spirituality, and people’s power of speech.
This has diluted any form of rationality and social lenses that would enable people to question the current Kenyan concept of populism. As a result, most men are emasculated by the criminalization of unemployment, environmental degradation, illegalization of poverty, and non-human-centric policies that disempower and immobilize any sense of meaningful living.
When men find that they are no longer fulfilling their roles in society, the easiest path to take is delegating their role to a dominant male. The dominant male rides on the stereotypical notion of masculinity embodied by presenting aggressive, corrupt, and abusive politicians as the definition of success.
This is the standard by which we judge who is fit for office as we abandon the sense of dignity and humanity which is the core of masculinity. The masculine soul should remember that, if you think you have a politician eating out of your hands, it is a good idea to count your fingers and when the politician’s leg is on your throat, it doesn’t matter whether it is right or left.
The truth remains, by crawling a child learns to stand and we must crawl out of political apathy and passivity. What reveals a man is his behaviour in times of hunger. Men can respond to a gender-leaning threat to their masculinity by voicing their frustration, why not respond to political injustices by championing assured political views that promote mental, economic, and spiritual liberation in our society?
We need to build courage and end emasculating politics that destroy rationality, independence, humanity, and love for the future generation. This kind of politics thrives on prejudice, and misappropriation of public funds. This act is one that every man will have to face politically created fears.
The courage we need is the understanding that the brave man is not he who doesn't feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear. We must conquer the fear of political manipulators and embrace our masculinity as a driver of human dignity. Our politics blindfold men and expects them to ferry our society across the river without flawed masculinity.
Every son, husband, father, and elder must arise and sing the old traditional song “Man's greatest battles are the ones he fights within himself” while looking within to identify the cracked esteem that politicians maximize for their political gain.
Masculinity must remember that, if a man rides on the back of a tiger, he should never be surprised if he ends up in its tummy. Men must ask, how do we recover from political emasculation for the sake of human dignity?