Father’s Day: The Tragedy of Lonely, Forgotten, Hungry, Despised and Dying Fathers of Central Kenya.

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By Alex Kamau- UK

As Father’s day is celebrated today, some Central Kenya inhabitants will post glowing messages about their late father. Some will be genuine but many will be laden with crippling guilt of celebrating a father they despised and neglected while he lived. Central Kenya inhabitants will readily identify with a village they know or come from, where father numbers are dwindling fast but curiously leaving behind thriving and glowing widows.

It may be the case that Central Kenya has the highest concentration of fathers’ graves anywhere in Kenya. A bit of history and context is necessary. Many would understand the lasting legacy of colonialism and its enduring impact on the nexus of most central Kenya families. Many Central Kenya men were forcibly taken away into concentration camps such as Manyani, leaving behind wives who had been socialised to see the husband as protector and provider.
In their absence the wives adapted to the emerging realities by assuming roles previously a preserve of men. These men returned after incarceration devastated to find the wives with children who were not theirs, some forcibly fathered by colonial home guards and other erotically ravenous colonial collaborators.

Already broke and broken, finding their wives forcibly violated by the enemy was for many the last straw. Few lived much longer. Many of those family units produced daughters and sons born from the 1950s who are the mothers
and fathers to most of those aged 40 and above today.

Those who understand evolution will recall nature versus nurture, in effect genotype versus phenotype, and their impact on behaviour. The environment we grow in (phenotype) has a profound bearing on who become and how we behave.

The daughters brought up by bitter and aggressive mothers took that
aggression a notch higher, largely as a survival instinct. And many would agree that an overwhelming number of Central Kenya women exhibit towards men, an aggression index noticeably higher than comparable Kenyan women from communities that didn’t experience colonial trauma. This aggression has evolved over time to find a convenient target by way of the husband these daughters go on to marry. This may in part explain why many Central
Kenya men spend old age in lonely prison like arrangements at home, with cruel doses of marital terrorism administered on them like the slow poison from the widow of death.

It is well established that the greatest contributor to longevity is the quality of close personal relationships. The quiet indignity of humiliation directed at Central Kenya fathers by their wives and children correlates with the solemn reality that many are in their graves today.
Sadly, this venomous disdain of husbands and fathers, conspicuously unique to Central Kenya seems to be seamlessly passed from mothers to daughters in an orderly but unspoken code and with devastating consequences. The diminishing role of the Central Kenya father has accelerated remarkably since the 1980s. Those who were middle aged dads then recalled with nostalgia a glorious past when all a man had to do was marry, pay dowry and acquire a breeding Cinderella to incubate and perpetuate his genes and name. An inflection point was soon reached beyond which the man was no longer seen as the supreme head of the family.
Over time, phenotype intervened to hasten the evolution of the quintessential Central Kenya woman; one with a streak of independence, a proclivity to deploy anger and aggression, a seductive loyalty to money and a toxic view that men (husbands/fathers) are dispensable.
The expectation threshold placed on Central Kenya husbands is one few ever fully meet. Consequently, few ever secure peace in old age unless they have pots of money to insulate them from the subtle but inescapable tyranny their wives and children will jointly visit on him at his most vulnerable years. Many of these fathers spend their last days under the ruinous cocktail of daily shaming, hunger, belittling and ridicule including in front of the children. Each
encounter makes the fathers to long for early death. Any acts of failure or omission by him in the early family days are explained bitterly to the children by mum, creating a shared axis of vitriolic evil directed at the father.

The father’s efforts however stoic are watered down and children falsely grow up believing that their success is wholly and entirely due to the sacrificial and heroic efforts of their mother. If they picked tea planted by their father on his
land; or sold milk from cows bought by him, the children wrongly view the gains arising from that as their mother’s ingenious provision.

The seeds of dishonesty plaguing many Central Kenya families could trace their abiding roots from what I have described. Yes, where a ruinous chronicle against fathers as largely useless good for nothing sperm providers is perpetuated by mothers to children; resulting in overzealous children only too keen to visit revenge including physical violence on their father on behalf of their “long suffering” mother.
The results are the disastrous consequences which seem largely unique to Central Kenya. Yes, castrated sons incapable of becoming responsible husbands and daughters struggling to build or keep meaningful relationships/marriages, but attaching superior value to money and viewing men as objects to be financially exploited and dispensed.

The frequent humiliation and abuse of a father witnessed by children has devastating consequences on those children.
A curious irony about most Central Kenya homes where fathers are being hastened to their deaths is that they often have an exceedingly religious and church going mother. Their pastor/priest will be regularly showered with respect and material generosity their “useless” father is unworthy of. At the mother’s behest, the children will readily donate to buy a vehicle for their pastor/priest or furnish the church while their emaciated and shabbily clad father loiters in the local shopping centre hungry, relying on well-wishers for a cup of tea or devouring cow hooves for food.

There are indeed parts of Central Kenya where husbands of
the active wives of a particular church seem inevitably to encounter early deaths, often after being placed under the spell of unknown powers. They then descend into a vegetative decline after transferring control of the financial levers into the salivating hands of the wife. The said husband then starts his slow, demeaning and unstoppable journey to the grave.
Today on Father’s Day my Central Kenya people, your father is your father. Taking sides in your parents’ battles is what only an irredeemable fool does. Leave your father and mother to settle their differences, unless there is violence or threat to life. You only know the part your mother told you about your father; which only biasedly highlighted your father’s failures. Don’t wait until your father is dead to suffocate us with fake tributes and adulation
about him. Yes a father you systematically humiliated and despised and condemned while he lived.

Stop wasting time and resources praying, fasting and tithing for blessings you could receive for free from your father. That he did not do what you were told was expected of him does not mean he did nothing. Call or text him today and make peace while he is still around.
As for men yet to get there, unconditionally love your wife and especially your children; build a financial fortress, create a secure network of dependable friends you can count on at all times should your wife and children turn against you.

You don’t take life insurance to die, you take it in case you die. And finally remember as a man you only have two true friends- God
and money. YES, just two.

A very happy Father’s Day to all fathers everywhere. Waikui ©

akkamotho@yahoo.co.uk

The writer is a regular contributor to The Diaspora Times and Kenyan Parents in USA.

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