When I was asked to discuss sexual harassment, it was around the time that there was a spike in the stories I was hearing of sexual bullying. I’d heard of students being asked to see lecturers in their offices behind closed doors, of students going to administrative offices and a suggestion being made that the service would be rendered after doing a certain favor. Because I was single for quite some time, I also know what it means for married men to suggest that maybe you’re lonely and need some company.
I love Caroline Mutoko. Her wit and her no-nonsense analysis often strike a chord with me, especially when she discusses gender and education. But when it comes to her latest take on our healthcare crisis, in which she essentially tells the doctors on strike that theirs is a lost cause, I'm not entirely with her.
I do agree with her that the danger of a strike that passes week 3 (in fact, I usually say week 1), is that the public loses interest and moves on to the next thing. And what makes that even sadder is that a strike depends on public support. When the public does not embrace the agenda of your strike, your strike is difficult to push, because the employers give in to save their public image more than out of care for workers. I've said this many times on social media and on my blog.
Anyone who reads my timeline and my blog knows that since Fred Matiang’i became the Education Cabinet Secretary, I have raised questions about several of his statements on education. But every time, the backlash has been even more intense than when I talk about healthcare. What is shocking is that the answers are never about concrete facts about education, and they never come from scholars of education. Instead, I’m told to accept everything Matiang’i says because he’s efficient.
2017 will be a tense year for Kenya. It begins with wananchi suffering from lack of health services in the country's public hospitals due to the doctors' strike, and huge dissatisfaction with the runaway corruption that has plagued the Jubilee government. And yet, it appears that the Jubilee government is sabotaging the ability of voters to express that dissatisfaction through the ballot, especially after bulldozing amendments to the electoral act. But when it comes to healthcare, all sides of the political divide are amazingly united in shunning the public healthcare facilities they are supposed to build, and in seeking treatment in private hospitals or abroad. They then console us with philanthropy for services our taxes are supposed to provide, as our taxes disappear through corruption. Meanwhile, the journalists reporting the stories miss the ironies of the politicians' treatment choices.
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