BY RUSHDIE OUDIA
Kisumu County: Women riding on motorcycles in Kisumu County may have difficulties using the services if the county assembly passes laws on culture.
Some of the women dressed in skirts or dresses have been boarding the motorcycles while facing the riders, a move the county assembly members have termed as unconstitutional.
If the proposed laws are passed, women will be forced to sit sideways so as to uphold culture.
The sitting position in which the women sit with their legs apart when aboard the motorcycles was discussed in the house and termed as uncultural.
This, according to county assembly member for Kisumu North, Caroline Owen, was making women lack respect from many men for allegedly exposing their bodies.
The assembly was told that the sitting position, which includes women holding the motorcycle rider from behind, was in bad taste, according to the Luo culture.
The sitting position is called ‘bet angewa’ and it portrays a bad image of the women, which is not allowed in Luo culture,” said Ms Owen.
This was part of the recommendations by the member during a debate on a report on culture, which the assembly vowed to enact to ensure communities receive compensation or royalties for the use of their culture and heritage.
Another recommendation was to recognise and protect the ownership of indigenous seeds and plant varieties, their genetic and diverse characteristics and their use by communities in the county.
The report stated that the county’s rich culture was declining due to influence of western values that support permissive conduct.
The report tabled by the chairperson for Children, Culture and Community Services Committee, Petronilla Omondi, recommended that the county should have its own flag and a similar public seal with the inscription of the County Government of Kisumu.
Own flag, logo
“The county logo, number plate and the flag should be designed in line with the physical features and the county’s surrounding environment namely fish, lake, agriculture and animals,” said Ms Omondi.
The report indicated there was need to create cultural centres such as Bomas of Kenya and also organise cultural festivals every year.
Marketing of the cultural activities and increased budget allocation was also among the proposals that will preserve the rich culture of Kisumu County.
The report put on spot wife inheritance, recommending that campaign and capacity building on retrogressive cultures be intensified.
“These cultures connect every activity to sexual practice so there should be an intensified campaign in order to avoid HIV and Aids infection,” said Omondi.