STIGMATISING

President's Madaraka Day speech on single parents out of order

Single parenthood is not a national crisis but a global trend

In Summary

• We should stop stigmatising different forms of families.

• They are evolving, and we should love them all.

President Uhuru Kenyatta when he arrived at Uhuru gardens on Wednesday. ENOS TECHE
President Uhuru Kenyatta when he arrived at Uhuru gardens on Wednesday. ENOS TECHE

In his Madaraka Day celebrations Speech, President Uhuru Kenyatta spoke about single mothers, appearing to victimise them.

The President’s speech was full of fantasy, inaccuracies and insensitive on single parents, corruption and development.

We should stop stigmatising different forms of families. They are evolving, and we should love them all. We should value everyone no matter his or her choice, life and journey.

Single parenthood is not a national crisis but a global trend. The world has changed and what was the portrait of a “perfect family” decades ago is not so now. We have different education, working and income dynamics. Single parenthood, in my view, does not risk the economy or the economic growth of Kenya.

What are these family values that we continue to push into people’s throats and in turn causing dire mental health issues amongst other things? What does the society have against single households and homes?

The President is clearly out of order. After failing to create employment for the youth, conducive environments for businesses to thrive, foster economic growth, he is now taking it out on single parents and parenthood.

The President chose to attack single parents when marriages and nuclear families in this day and age are highly dysfunctional due to socio-economic, personal reasons that are highly impacting people’s lives. How are people in single parent households supposed to feel given this stigmatising official attitude? What are the millions of children raised by single parents meant to think when they hear their President speak that of them?

In my opinion and in most cases, the society uses, “single parent families” phrase to further condemn women who are raising children without male spouses to “control” them. Single parents and parenthood is not a societal indicator for failing economies.

What is this that irks us about how diverse, different forms of families that we have and continue to emerge? Why do we continue to selectively choose the values that suit us and the community we come from, why do we continue to discriminate against part of the communities, families, groups of people because of the structure of their families?

The late President Jomo Kenyatta, had multiple wives and when he rested Mama Ngina took on the mantle to take care of the children. Accepting different forms of families should be embraced.

Alvin Mwangi is a youth activist