Leaders should come down to earth and help poor Kenyans

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There are so many things that blemish the image of Kenya, one of them being a primary school girl committing suicide because she was ridiculed by her teacher for lacking sanitary pads.

This should prick the conscience of even the most insensitive section of our society.

Every year, a huge chunk of money is allocated to the Ministry of Education, yet officials are unable to account for the amount apportioned to buy sanitary pads for girls from poor backgrounds.

The sight of elected women leaders addressing the press and demanding to know the whereabouts of the free sanitary pads funds only after the suicide incident was unconvincing.

We know they are divided along Team Embrace and Inua Dada lines.

If Team Embrace and Inua Dada are really out for the common good of the women and girls of this country, as they proclaim, did they have to wait for the death of a girl whose only sin was being from a humble background to raise the alarm about missing sanitary pads funds?

Why are they more vocal when pressing for issues that stand to benefit the middle class and rich women, like the two-thirds gender rule, than voicing the plight of the poor woman?

Every passing day, girls and women in poor social circles go through hellish experiences in the hands of men, and even women, who should be protecting and providing them with a window of opportunity to get out of poverty.

Our society is only wont to express concern about the sexual violence perpetuated by film producers in Hollywood.

Not to disparage causes like #MeTooMovement, but let us be vociferous about what happens at home before shedding tears at a neighbour’s funeral.

Our helpless girls go through ordeals of rape in schools and estates, traumatising domestic violence, demeaning invectives as well as being denied access to education and a chance to advance their interests in sports and music.

I am inclined to believe that with the advent of the information age, we think that by the mere fact that we can keep abreast of what happens in the Western World, we think we live in those countries, and not Africa.

Had the pressure of calling out the government to come clean on the death of the Bomet schoolgirl not fizzled out, probably every public school could now be receiving truckloads of sanitary pads, because the Kenyan government has demonstrated that pressure and picketing is the only language it understands.

If we had more women and men tweeting about her death, and the plight of other countless poor girls going through the same agony, world attention would have been turned to the country and a long-lasting solution found.

Leaders should not wait to be reminded that they have a cardinal duty to advance the interests of the people who elect them.

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