ABSTRACT

The MP for Mathare constituency in Nairobi was recently quoted as saying that the women of the area only give birth to ‘criminals and prostitutes’. What is more, he later added that they ‘smell’.1 While it is an unusual statement for someone who was born and brought up in the area, it is for more reasons than this that he just lost his parliamentary seat in the court of appeal and was compelled to engage in a (re)campaigning process for the requisite by-election. After serving 10 years as councillor, and one year as an MP (until his election was nullified in March 2014), it appears that his time is up; his unabashed arrogance and complete disregard for the struggles and plight of ordinary people in the area have catalysed many youth, a very significant demographic in Mathare and Nairobi as a whole, to work against his re-election. For this and more, including selling public toilets in the area, one constituent suggested that MP Wanjohi should run and hide and perhaps ‘go abroad once he loses’.2 In fact, there was even a protest staged by some young women, accusing him of extensive sexual harassment, against his possible reappointment. Essentially, through both informal and formal consultations, many community members have decided to vote for the lesser of two evils; the son of the former MP who, while not home-grown nor the ideal candidate, is not going to ‘kill the sense of unification in the youth’ like Wanjohi is seen to be doing.3