First Lady Margaret Kenyatta finishes the second edition of the Beyond Zero half marathon at the Nyayo National Stadium on March 8, 2015.
By City Girl
Dear Mrs Margaret Kenyatta. I like you a great deal. I think you are undeniably beautiful and extremely graceful. Something tells me that you are a great mother and a supportive spouse too, for only God knows the challenges political wives have to go through.
But to hold the First Lady Marathon this year? Not a good idea. Many will find it offensive and see it as mockery to the millions of Kenyans who depend on the public health system.
I suggest you fire your entire PR team for such massive withdrawal of thinking. Indeed, they should have first read the mood of Kenyans before inviting them for the marathon.
True, you started on a high note. You made history the world over as the only First Lady who could run a marathon. Not just any marathon, but a marathon to save lives.
Kenyans cheered you on, supported you and donated their time and money so that you could know we were right behind you. I even ran in last year.
It was a spectacular idea. It even received international recognition. Other First Ladies wanted to be you.
Until we heard reports that not one, not three, not even four but Sh5 billion could have gone missing from the Ministry of Health. Money reserved for important things like vaccines for children could not be accounted for.
You, Madam First Lady, are in the spotlight, so I hope you have the thick skin to take some heat that comes with this intense spotlight, because I can see some spots that I would like to bring to light. You might want to take a break from your training.
Our healthcare system is in a serious crisis. Doctors are on their 55th day of strike. There is no money to pay them but there is money to pay tenderprenuers.
Oh, this might interest you, Madam First Lady. Pregnant women are dying in hospital halls, helplessly waiting for doctors.
Families are selling poultry to raise money for treatment in private hospitals. And your team, Madam First Lady, has just asked Kenyans to contribute money to run in the streets of Nairobi for what? Maternal health? Wait, let me get that quote that your team put on social media on Thursday: “Beyond Zero will help mothers and children thrive – whether urban or rural, HIV+ or not and understand challenges to maternal, new-born and child health”.
Your team is doing this all wrong, Madam First Lady. Kenyans can see right through this carefully crafted PR machine. Last year, they might not have known what was going on at the Health Ministry, but this year, Kenyans do.
What I have said is nothing you don’t already know. So I will tell you something that is probably new.
You’ve got your heart in the right place. So I will tell you something that few might be willing to share with you. If you truly want to make your mark as First Lady, if you really want to serve Kenyans, then you need to sit down with the president and tell him to do something about our healthcare system. Tell him to do the right thing. Ask him nicely. Ask him to stop the situation from getting worse for the sake of Kenyans.
You have a privilege that few other Kenyans have; you are with the president always. That has got to count for something.
I am feeling the spirit coming on to me right now so I will direct you to the Bible and have you read the book of Esther. Queen Esther invited the King to a banquet, and politely talked to him, and the King granted her request.
Mordecai, Queen Esther’s cousin asked her this: “… and who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?”
Who knows whether you have attained this First Lady’s office… for such a time as this?
Madam First Lady, it is time to stop running and start talking.
Don’t let your people down. Let your voice be heard. We are counting on you.
We the people