To Bishop Wanjiru: War on graft is universal and has nothing to do with being a woman or a man

Bishop, doctor, (former honorable) Margaret Wanjiru is a renowned televangelist in Kenya. She preaches in her own church, Jesus Is Alive Ministries, located on Haile Selassie Avenue, Nairobi. Being a former Member of Parliament for Starehe constituency, and runner-up in the Nairobi senatorial post in the 2013 election, she definitely qualifies to be called a prominent politician. In her own words, she also runs multiple businesses, including logistics and public transportation.

With such an elaborate profile, Bishop Wanjiru is an opinion leader with immense influence. Her words, spoken in public, have the potential of being taken literally by her ardent supporters and admirers, both political and religiously. She therefore carries the burden, just like all other public figures should do, of making sure she weighs her language and only present to the public issues which are factual.   

Opinion leaders are not supposed to be accused of lying, or seen to be lying. That is why Bishop Wanjiru’s attempt, while appearing on a debate on a local television, to drag her womanhood into a debate that purely had nothing to do with gender, must be treated as an unfortunate and desperate move to divert attention.

Let me refresh your memories. A number of aspirants for Nairobi’s gubernatorial post had been invited to KTN’s Jeff Koinange Live to articulate their visions and convince viewers, and possibly voters, why they think they are the best candidates. Only 4 managed to honor the invite-Miguna Miguna, Bishop Margaret Wanjiru, Philip Kisia and Esther Passaris. The debate started well, but quickly degenerated to either Miguna versus Wanjiru, Miguna versus Kisia or all the three debaters versus Miguna.  

To demonstrate that they are unfit to hold or vie for the Nairobi’s gubernatorial post, Miguna Miguna had accused both Bishop Wanjiru and Philip Kisia of a number of ills they allegedly committed when they served in different public offices. But it was the Miguna versus Wanjiru duel that stole the show, and almost got out of hand. He particularly accused Bishop Wanjiru of misappropriation of public funds when she was the assistant minister for housing. He alleged that she irregularly allocated herself a number of housing units in estates within Nairobi.

Miguna Miguna claimed he had evidence to prove his allegations. Bishop Wanjru denied the claims, threatened to sue Miguna Miguna immediately after the show for deformation. Maybe she has.  Maybe she has not; which in that case means she was bluffing. But that is her prerogative. What she did not have the right to do was attempting to twist the disagreement to appear like a gender-based fight. She wanted the viewers to believe that Miguna Miguna, a man, had picked on her, Bishop Wanjiru, because she was a woman.

On the show was Esther Passaris, who is also a woman, and Miguna Miguna did not fight her. Miguna also accused Philip Kisia of switching off the lights at KICC during the controversial 2017 presidential vote tallying. That is such a big allegation, and Kisia can sue if he feels it is not true. The truth is, in that debate, Miguna Miguna was addressing, or presenting his grievances against a former assistant minister for housing. He was alleging that this particular former minister did not entirely use her office for the public good; instead she used the office to serve her selfish interest. It is mere coincident that that former assistant minister happens to be a woman. It could as well have been man.

Besides threatening to take Miguna Miguna to court, Bishop Wanjiru also took time to remind him that a man of integrity does not fight women.  If Miguna Miguna has evidence to prove his case, then it should not matter who he fights. War on graft has nothing to do with being a woman or a man. As a man of integrity, because that is what Miguna Miguna calls himself, he should be aware of the consequences of deformation, be it against a man or a woman, and he should be ready to face the consequences of his actions. Any person of any gender can and should take him to court if they feel aggrieved by his utterances.

We tend to complicate straightforward matters if we deliberately refuse to separate an individual affair from our religion, culture, tribe, class or gender. Just because one belongs to a minority does not automatically signify innocence in all circumstances. We see people refusing to account for their actions or inactions and resorting to playing class, gender, religious, and tribe victims whenever they are faced with circumstances that they feel uncomfortable with.