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ELECTION 2022

Condoms do not signal immorality, they actually save lives!

CLAY MUGANDA
By Clay Muganda | Jul 6th 2014 | 4 min read

If there is an item Kenyans love to condemn, it is the innocuous latex sheath made popular by the French company, Durex. The ever faithful, and extremely safe — of course when used properly, and risky only when swallowed — condom is an item which many Kenyans would not protest even if it were banned.

Ideally, the condom should be in the list of Kenyans’ basic necessities, but Kenyans never consider it as such, so much so that even when its price is increased — like it happened some months back — human rights crusaders did not raise a placard, a finger or even a voice lest they be declared immoral and threatened with a ban.

Why Kenyans love to condemn the condom beats me, and I can only guess it is because there is no country in the region where people are so pious, I mean so prim and proper that they would not allow anything, no matter how thin, and slippery, to come between them and their morals. For the past several weeks, there has been a lot of hubris and anger even over the Reproductive Health Care Bill 2014, which might as well be called the Condemn Condom Bill, considering that all the talk about it has centred on “giving condoms to school children.”

Sober voices have tried to explain that it is not about distributing condoms to school children, or giving them wanton access to condoms, and by inference sex, but they have been drowned out by the righteous parents, Government officials and men of the cloth busy preaching morality that they have not had time to read the Bill and understand its objectives.

Why Kenyans like to cover themselves with torn bed sheets of morality, while the statistics show  when it comes to matters sex, the young men and women, adolescents, of this country are leaving everything to fate, is difficult to fathom.

That the E in E-Pill denotes Emergency, or that Morning After Pill means it should be taken the morning after the fact, or the accident, so to write, bother them not and nowadays they take them before a night out of binge drinking and whatever appertains to it.

We can as well argue they are just being cautious, but the point is they are not only readying themselves for getting some, as they say, but getting some without protection, and that should make any well-meaning parent very worried.

Kenyan parents or the clergy truly believe what they do not know will not harm them, and thus they do not want to imagine their adolescent children are doing “bad” things, but the truth is the so-called children are getting exposed to long-term health risks — and they are being cheered on.

It is easy for some parents to scream murder at whoever wants to give their so-called children the correct information about their bodies — and even condoms if push comes to shove — but the thrust of the matter is that what kills Kenyans is not sex per se, but deliberate ignorance when it comes to sexual matters.

That is what can actually be called lack of attitude change. There are young men and women who would listen, and understand that erection without protection is suicidal in a country where proper health care is part of cheap talk and is not delivered, but when their parents are the first ones to resist change, then the message is clear: Go Ye Forth and Die.

Yeah, as your loving parents, we will buy space in the newspapers, and list the names of all your prominent relations in Kenya and abroad, and raise funds for your funeral expenses then we will “celebrate your life after a long illness bravely borne” — but we will never admit that we actually murdered you!

The Bill aside, this is not the first time that Kenyans are opposing a discussion, if it can be called that, about sexual health of teenagers.

Many years ago, when it was proposed that Family Life education be introduced in schools, they were up in arms, with the clergy leading the crusade, and burning literature and condoms in public parks in Nairobi, and probably other parts of the country.

Did their actions reduce immorality as it were?

Hardly, considering the results of studies conducted over the years have continuously found out that more adolescents fear getting pregnant than contracting sexually transmitted infections and that is why they care less about the health implications of over-ingesting emergency contraceptives.

It could be argued that children will be exposed to sexual matters early and might want to experiment, but aren’t they currently getting some information to do with matters sex from the interwebs?

Truth be said, the talk that adolescents will be misled, and will become immoral when they are given information — or even condoms for that matter — is arrant nonsense because they are already going astray and the Bill has not even passed. So who is responsible for that?

For a flawed argument’s sake, let’s say the Bill will lead to distribution of condoms to adolescents, but come to think of it, aren’t they the safest form of contraceptives so far?

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