Social media users come to the defense of reprimanded officer

By Jelimo Chelagat (@jchelagat)

From a tiny photo on the back pages of a Sunday newspaper, Linda Okello made a big splash online and her notoriety landed her in hot soup.  The photo, which was taken on the first day of the KCB rally in Kiambu, made its way to social media where it went viral.

Debate arose on whether her skirt was indecent and whether it is acceptable for officers to wear tight fitting clothes. The flames were further stoked when reports emerged that the traffic officer had been reprimanded by her superior for her attire.

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We took to our social media pages to get your views on this matter many Kenyans came to the defense Ms. Okello blaming the government for not issuing her with a better fitting uniform.

“It is probable my sister here, received her uniform when she was newly employed and for that matter, slimmer- people grow stouter, hence their clothes becoming small. A police officer’s job is carot like any other where you can wear clothes as you may choose.  Also, you cannot buy police uniform in shops and change whenever you like. They are given to our officers and not every month, opined Francis Nguku on Facebook.

Jeff Ngari agreed with this sentiment adding that instead of reprimanding her, they should have issued her  a larger skirt. “Wanaopeana sare za kazi ndio wamezembea. Wangempatia sketi pana badala ya kumshtumu. Angevaa nguo za nyumbani ndo aufiche mwili wake angekiuka sheria, hakuwa na lingine lakufanya ila kuivaa ile sketi. (Those who issue uniforms have slacked on their duty.  Instead of reprimanding her, they should have given her a wider skirt. If she wore civilian attire, she would have broken the law-so she had not option but to wear the skirt.)

Some women tried to explain that the issue could be her physique since clothes fit differently based on one’s body type.

“You can’t disregard body structures when on comes to issuing uniform. I blame the providers of Police Uniforms  because Linda did not buy the skirt herself,” said Nimmo Mary.

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However some people sided with County Commander saying that her dressing tarnished not aonly her image, but that of all female officers.

“Her dressing is a disservice to herself, to the image of the police and to the policewomen trying to be respected for what they do. There is honour in the uniform and what she was wearing was in no way honouring that,” remarked Mariga Wang'ombe.

Evans Cheruiyot sided with him adding that men would not respect her in such attire, “It's too tight for service delivery to the public. Linda Okello’s authority will not be well respected especially by men.  She needs to request a looser fitting skirt or trousers like her partner there.”

The appearance of male officers also came to the fore with some social media users asking why people were focusing on tight skirts and not sagging trousers. Augustine Owiny said that if we focus on matter sthat deal with women alone, we are propagating a gender bias.  Others added that in the interest of fairness, potbellied officers who wear tight shirts should also be reprimanded.

As the discussion raged on, some social media users went on to unearth her personal pictures and social media pages. Others went to the extent of saying that they would like to personally congratulate the officer for making the police profession look attractive.

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