My take on President Magufuli’s speech

So last week, President Magufuli, the man that most Kenyans pray and wish was their president, sent shock-waves after he announced that young expectant school girls will not be permitted to go to school as they would be ‘distracted ‘ from their studies by their babies.  This statement has brought a lot of criticism and some people have called it ‘insensitive’ and an injustice to the girl child. Before you throw those stones, let agree on two things that he said. Having a baby is good when you are ready for it as it distracts not just studies but a woman’s entire life. Number two, which I will expound on thoroughly in my entire blog, the number of expectant teen girls is rising despite the numerous efforts to minimize the issue. Something needs to be done, even if it means instilling fear to provoke change of behavior. Having settled that, let me take you through why I partly support the president for making such a controversial statement.

The power of fear has been used by many rulers to instill discipline, order and submission to their subjects. In fact, even in the Bible, it is actually the fear of God that causes men to act wisely, to make responsible decisions about their lives. Most people from my generation can attest to this fact that it was the fear of failure that made some of us focus, made some of us concentrate on studies so that we could have better lives in the future (this is regardless of the fact that you have made it or still waiting for that better future to come).  Macciaveli, in his book dubbed the ‘Prince’ advocates that rulers should work on being feared more than being loved. According to him, it is never enough just to be a charismatic leader as one would never consolidate his power through that. Since it is never in a prince’s power to make all his subjects love him, he should ensure that he has extended his territory as far as fear is concerned. That is how he establishes control. In this case, it is the only way that President Magufuli can establish control over the issue as nothing seems to be working. There is too much talk and write but less action and impact. Good student President Magufuli.

So why am I busy, expounding on Macciaveli’s book on the Prince? How is it connected to what I am talking about? Here is what I think about the whole issue.  The only way that this issue can be sorted out is through the use of fear to bring about the right the change. If President Magufuli could have been allowed to expound on his statement more, he would say, it is only fear that will push women to seek better lives for themselves. This is the other side of his speech. If we take it positively, the speech was a clarion call, to cause people to wake up and take action, understand that their behavior has consequences that not only affect them but the entire nation.  It is fear that will cause mothers to train daughters on the significance of having self confidence, on the value of education and understanding purpose, it will make them be diligent in knowing their daughter’s where about and ensuring that they are on the right path. It is this fear that will push fathers to train their sons to be responsible adults that even when they are in the workforce they will not use their power to intimate women. That a woman will not have to feel that the only way to get out of their economic disadvantage is by selling themselves short. All these begs the question that everyone should be asking themselves, what kind of men and women are we raising? Is there a push to help us understand that our actions, our decisions, do not only affect us and those around us but the entire nation.

As minute as it sounds compared to greater issues like poverty, corruption and all, this is a great issue. It means that there is a generation that will never know what it means to have a father. It means that there is a generation of mothers who will be hard, toughened and bitter about life. This is future workforce we are talking about. A workforce that will lack the character to handle national issues as they have never seen something as small as a family being managed. No authority, no father figure to direct their lives.People become unruly, you can’t tame a man who has grown all his life as a weed, living like a wild animal in the jungle. If you look carefully through history, dictators like Hitler, Idi Amin and many others who were unstable in their character had one thing in common. They lacked a father presence as they grew up and therefore grew with a quest of identity,doing weird things so that they would be respected and admired. this is how serious this issue is my friends. An unstable future Hitler might be growing, raised by a single mother, bitter about life. You never know what his bitterness might result into in future.

Well, my only wish was that it was accompanied by some sort of direction like redirecting the NGO’s goals into instilling confidence on young women, setting up tighter rules on men who engage in such behavior, looking into ways of engaging the parents into economic activities that will empower them build better lives for their children.  Such a statement, in my opinion, should not be trashed but people should carefully analyze how this ‘minute’ issue can be tackled for future generations.

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