The drainage at the Continental House where waheshimiwa have their private offices next to Parliament buildings, were often clogged with used condoms hurriedly flushed down after quickie sessions in the offices

 

  • A girl claimed that she was defiled by a cabinet minister and the o­ffence was committed on a red carpet in the minister’s office
  • A former Foreign A­ffairs minister also allegedly attempted to rape a daughter of then Head of Civil Service, Simeon Nyachae during the minister’s official trip to the US

 

Former Imenti Central MP Gideon Mwiti and his Turbo counterpart Elisha Busienei became subjects of media focus for alleged sexual o­ffences two years ago. A communication consultant has accused Mwiti of forcibly subjecting her to an HIV test before allegedly beating and raping her. The MP denied the allegations. 

Busienei’s case is a bit di­fferent. The complainant was a fellow legislator, Taveta Woman Rep Joyce Lay who complained that the former MP had tried making passes when they accompanied President Uhuru Kenyatta during their tour of Japan in 2015.

Then there was the case of Juja MP Francis Waititu. He was accused of sending seductive text messages to Susan Wambui, his secretary at the Constituency Development Fund (CDF). The texts were made public and claims of seduction turned into death threats when she declined to give in. The MP vehemently denied the allegations.

In Politics of Betrayal: Diary of a Kenyan Legislator, former Bahari MP Joe Khamis notes that  the drainage at the Continental House where waheshimiwa have their private offices next to Parliament buildings, were often clogged with used condoms hurriedly flushed down after quickie sessions in the offices.

These were not the only cases. Mt Elgon MP John Serut was accused of using his position to sexually molest a junior female parliamentary official in 2003, while he served his first term. The MP, accompanied by his wife, denied the accusations at a press conference.

And in 1999, a schoolgirl claimed she had been defiled by Julius Sunkuli, a Minister of State in the Office of the President at the time. The girl claimed the o­ffence was committed on a red carpet in the minister’s office. Sunkuli denied the allegations claiming it was the work of his nemesis in FIDA (Federation of Women Lawyers). Curiously, the alleged victim later recanted her statement and distanced herself from FIDA.

Long before Sunkuli was the case of the late Elijah Mwangale, then Foreign A­ffairs minister, who allegedly attempted to rape a daughter of then Head of Civil Service, Simeon Nyachae during the minister’s official trip to the US in 1986.

Nyachae’s daughter was an undergraduate student in America. Mwangale was moved to the Ministry of Agriculture the following year.

How do honourable members turn into predators even among their own? Power has a corrupting effect according to University of Nairobi sociologist Beneah Mustosto who explains that power is the very persuasion behind the politicians’ don’t-care and bully behaviour. “They want to get their way through intimidation and forcefully, because they know they are in a position of influence and they feel protected from any prosecution.”    

Maia Szalavitz in a Time magazine issue of April 2011 noted that the higher one is in a position of influence, the greater their chance of cheating on their partner or sexually molesting others — regardless of whether they are male or female.

Of the analysed results in the Internet survey of 1,561 readers of a Dutch business magazine, Szalavitz reports that 58 per cent of respondents held low-level non-management positions; 22 per cent had some management responsibilities; 14 per cent were middle managers; and 6 per cent were top level executives.  “My own research and that of my colleagues has shown that one of strongest e­ffects of power is that it increases feelings of confidence,” the neuroscience journalist quotes Lammers, who carried out the study. The feeling of decreased power, according to Lammers, leads to more of a focus on threat and danger. “But power leads to this uninhibited sense that you can get what you want and should take risks to get it.”