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Thursday, November 07, 2013

Ngilu troubles and her controversial "skirt and Raila" photograph

All hell broke loose when The Star published this photograph showing Charity Ngilu's legs with CORD leader Raila Odinga in the background. Ngilu is said to have thrown away the newspaper in disgust when she saw it and later complained to the owner of The Star newspaper. Details in the post below.

All indications are that Charity Ngilu may soon be out in the streets without a cabinet portfolio and with bleak chances of ever making her way back into politics.

Still there is a much bigger story behind Ngilu’s woes which I will talk about in a minute.

The Lands cabinet secretary is not new to controversy. Just a few months ago a mere photograph in The Star newspaper (reproduced here) caused more than just ripples. An article from The Star reproduced here gives details;

“The photograph was one of two accompanying a story about Ngilu’s surprise appearance at the unveiling of a political coalition spearheaded by Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

It was an extreme close-up of Ngilu’s legs, shot from in front of the table on which Ngilu was standing. Raila is shown looking up at her from a seat to the right.

Noting that the Star, on the whole, has done a good job of publishing articles about women, Amwik said that coverage like the Ngilu photo “trivializes and ghettoizes women in politics”.

Martin Masai, a spokesman for Ngilu, said she preferred not to comment. But he said that on the morning that the photo ran she pushed the paper away in disgust.

“When Ngilu was on that table she spoke about the five issues in her campaign,” Masai said. But instead of hearing about those, the public was offered a message of a woman “between whose legs the PM is portrayed.” (Raila was actually shown to one side of her legs.) Masai asked, “What is the message?”

Ngilu did complain personally to Patrick Quarcoo, the CEO of Radio Africa Group, the Star’s parent company. According to Quarcoo, Ngilu demanded an apology but he told her only, “If you’re offended I’m sorry about it,” and that he would let the Star editors know of her concern.

For his own part, Quarcoo said, he can see why Ngilu was unhappy, because the picture could be interpreted on first glance as showing Raila “looking up her skirt”. (Which was my first thought, too.)

Jack Owuor, who took the picture, says nothing could be further from what he intended. “It had nothing to do with her being a sex object,” he said.

Rather, said Owuor, a talented photographer who is always on the lookout for a creative shot, the photo captured Raila looking pained at Ngilu’s performance. “She seemed to be forcing herself” on the coalition, he said, choosing to stand on the table in front of Raila to address the crowd. He insisted, “If Kalonzo had been up on the table and Raila was looking at him [in the same way] that would have been another perfect picture.”

And what about the contention that the picture suggests Raila is looking up her skirt? “What people are talking about is what is in their minds,” Owuor said. “People read a lot out of nothing.”

Editor Catherine Gicheru said she had no problem with the photo. “I was looking at Raila Odinga’s face,” she said. “It was supposed to be a celebratory occasion, but he looks in pain.” She added, “If you’re a woman politician you can look at anything and say it’s objectifying you. But I don’t think this was such an occasion.”

- See more the full Star story HERE.

This is just a tip of the iceberg when it comes to controversies linked to Ngilu. In my raw notes today I carry an unprintable saga in 2005 that gave the lands cabinet secretary quite a reputation.

But back to the issue at hand. Kenyans need to ask themselves a few very important questions;

Was Ngilu acting alone in the appointments she made? Who gained the most from what Ngilu did that was contrary to the constitution and why are they NOT being mentioned anywhere? Could this whole circus be a clever spin and effort to control the dialogue away from another bigger story behind the hurried signing of title deeds at the Coast?

We know for instance that the man Ngilu appointed “illegally” Peter Kangethe Kahuho used to be the former Coast Province lands officer during the Moi days and was extremely powerful, so much so that a court was recently told that he directed then Lands commissioner Wilson Gachanja (his boss), to issue letters of allotment in respect of land belonging to Kenya Airports Authority in Changamwe, Mombasa (where the airport is). Join the dots will you?

See also; What was Raila's role in the 2007/2008 post election violence?


Anonymous said...

For how long will Fulani come to the realization that enough is enough and there comes a time in a person's professional life when they should quit on their own terms or while they are still in good standing - but not on tables at public gatherings?

Any, wakina fulani among fulani should not hesitate to quickly dismiss some of us as a despicable lot - chauvinistic ngiri - due to making a big deal out of nothing especially with regard to reiterating that people should not never stand on tables that are situated above the heads of a seated crowd in broad daylight..

Fulani in question continues to suffer from a classic case of inertia galore.

What was Fulani thinking, dreaming about or smoking at the time to the point where standing on a high table felt like the only suitable option given the fact that several dozen pair of eyes were either situated beside and behind the high table?

Fulani has avoided her political, financial, ethical and personal problems and justified her avoidance by assuming, If I wait and not quit or resign the Cabinet post, maybe things will work themselves out, and I will be able to remain in office until the next general elections.

But Fulani will soon find out the hard way that the dry bones - political, financial, ethical and personal skeletons - never grow flesh nor do ghosts from the past ever disappear in thin air.

Things will not work themselves out as Fulani expects them to do but they will remain precisely as they are - ugly, dirt, and wazi kabisa kabisa.

At best, Fulani's problems may change, but they will not get better nor be forgotten by those concerned including the general public.

Fulani's current circumstances, situations, whatever events she attends and the type of people she surrounds herself with will not improve unless she does something constructive to make them better - tender in her resignation and quit for a change.

Anonymous said...


Look at the picture again. Does that look RAO is giving Ngilu really seem like he wants to bump pee-pees with her?

Anonymous said...

Did some people violate laws of modesty in order to take a sneaky stare - from under the table - at a very respectable member of the community given her age and highly distinguished grandmotherly status? By the way, anyone, be it young or not-so-young who might have dared to take a snare at her while she was standing high on the jua kali podium may end up going blind according to local tradition and custom because grandmothers are keepers of the fire and highly respected in the whole region. They are not to be violated or disrespected in any manner that would be deemed abominable. .

Anonymous said...

Give credit where it is due because there are so many women who can sustain such good quality legs, face and eyes that the lady standing the table has. That's stated with all due respect to the lady in question and to all those that uphold and protect womanhood. Plainly stated without running the risk of objectifying her, the remains that 'she's got it' unlike many of her contemporaries and she has the right to express her beauty in whatever fashionable and modest manner. It just happens that a table was used in the place of a podium as required.

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