Kenya’s new constitution seems to have given women more clout not just politically and economically but socially as well. A common Swahili saying goes, “mjinga akierevuka,mwerevu huwa mashakani” (“When the fool gets wiser, the wiser will be in trouble”). The Kenyan woman who has been played the fool for a long time seems to be getting ‘wiser’ as far as her rights in the family set up are concerned. This year, several women have made news headlines by suing their estranged husband’s and placing substantial financial demands on them for their upkeep and that of their children.
MOI vs MOI
Rossana Moi Sh. 250,000 per month
Take the case between Mr Philip Moi, the son of former President Daniel arap Moi, and his former wife Rossana Pluda Moi. She first went to court to have her husband compelled to take responsibility and pay for his family’s upkeep, a case that she won with the presiding judge ordering Mr Moi to pay her a monthly allowance of Sh60, 000
A few months down the line Rossana Moi was back in the court seeking an increase in her monthly allowance which she claimed was not enough to cater for her daily needs and rent. The court’s decision again was in her favour. Mr Justice J.B. Kariuki ruled that Mr. Philip Moi should pay his ex- wife, the money, which was increased from 60,000 to 250,000 per month.In his ruling, Justice Kariuki said that the application was a matrimonial matter in which the welfare of the children was involved and that the Constitution conferred on every child the right to basic nutrition, shelter and health care.
SH27 MILLION ‘UPKEEP’ ARREARS
Last week, as reported by the Daily Nation on October 25, Ms Nazlin Rajput Umar, a former presidential candidate, sued a tycoon she claims to have married under Islamic Sharia law on September 27, 2010. She is demanding more than Sh280 million as upkeep and dowry. She alleges the businessman pledged Sh250 million and a Mercedes Benz as dowry. She also wants the court to order a Mr Madatali Chatur to deposit Sh27 million in her bank account as upkeep arrears from October 2010.
“He has failed to provide me with love, care and support,” she said, adding that she has no access to the matrimonial homes, properties and bank accounts.
Today, as reported by Carol Maina of The Star, another Kenyan woman has gone to the courts seeking ‘maintenance fee’. Leah Mueni, wife to the Bishop of Helicopter of Christ Church (honest), Thomas Wahome, is demanding Sh 300,000 for upkeep. She claims that the bishop is a man of means who earns millions from tithes, offerings and from selling anointing oil and water (yes, you read right, selling anointing oil and water). Mueni wants the court to order Wahome to give her two vehicles, Sh 40,000 for house rent, Sh 50,000 for food, Sh 80,000 for fuel, Sh 15,000 for her sons school fees, Sh 100,000 for entertainment and Sh 215,000 for miscellaneous items. This she says, will cater for the “lifestyle she is accustomed to”.
Whether it’s their constitutional or matrimonial rights, women in Kenya, or at least some of them, appear to be flexing the new-found muscles.
BE BREAST AWARE ALL YEAR
Self-examination – A key way of detecting changes in the breast
Throughout October many Kenyans and the Kenyan media, focused on one of women’s most treasured assets; their breasts. The aim was to raise awareness about breast cancer, the most common cancer among women accounting for 21% of all the cancers diagnosed. Statistics reveal that breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in women between the ages of 15 and 54 and the second cause of cancer deaths in women from age 55 to 74.
Although women with a family history of breast cancer are at a high risk of contacting the disease, about 85 per cent of cases occur in women who have no family history of breast cancer. This occurs due to genetic mutations that ensue as a result of the aging process and life in general, rather than inherited mutations.
According to statistics from the Kenya Cancer Association (KENCASA), most patients are diagnosed with breast cancer in the advanced stages of the disease which makes it all but impossible to control but if detected early, breast cancer can be treated successfully.
SELF-EXAMINATION IS THE KEY WAY TO FIGHT THIS SCOURGE
Thus the breast cancer awareness campaign, which aimed to sensitise and educate women on the importance of monthly breast self-examination, which is one of the key ways of detecting any changes in the breast. Over the course of the month Kenyan women got a chance to receive free breast examinations and screening in different health centers and medical camps across the country.
Breast cancer kills approximately 18,000 Kenyans every year, which translates to about 50 deaths every day. Self breast examinations combined with annual clinical breast exams performed by a doctor, and preferably a yearly mammogram after the age of 40, would help to dramatically cut the number of deaths in Kenya.
Breast cancer awareness shouldn’t be for one month a year, says the Kenya Forum. The women of Kenya can take action to battle this scourge by regularly examining their own breasts.