Day MPs spread lies about family planning
By Waweru Mugo
Kenya: Kenya is a country of many firsts. In the 1970s, it had an enviable world record – the second fastest population growth globally! It is claimed it upped this to probably having the highest population growth rate in the world over the next decade.
In the backdrop of this, efforts to reduce the high fertility were greatly hindered by very conservative social views and diehard religious opposition to contraception. It only added to such myths and misconceptions as family planning being the mother of all “imagined” evil – from deformed babies, infertility, damaged wombs and causing cancer to increasing promiscuity.
And from the comfort of their exalted august House, MPs made a joke and a mockery of the need to plan families even as the population ballooned, thus hampering national growth and development. Majority were of the view that a large population is a wealthier one. They spread lies and perpetuated myths or openly showed lack of understanding on the concept.
Martin Shikuku saw in a large population enhanced security for the nation. In what Charles Hornsby, a historian refers to as a typically xenophobic prophecy, Shikuku thundered, “The world war is approaching. Who will fight in the war? We must produce more children…”
He claimed on the floor of the house that family planning pills were wrecking the country and that “birth control has become a danger to our women”. He claimed: “There are sick women because of these devices and more marriages are getting broken.” This was in October 1973 while contributing to a debate on the Income Tax, that he even wondered why he was being forced to pay dearly for children materials “when I have increased the population of this country through my own sweat”. In his world, it was alright to increase the number of children one had.
To read the full article, please click here: http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/kenyaat50/article/2000101818/day-mps-spread-lies-about-family-planning?pageNo=1
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