Gaddo's Waiguru Cartoon Triggers Backlash

  • A cartoon by Gaddo published on Wednesday, July 1, 2020
    A cartoon by Gaddo published on Wednesday, July 1, 2020
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    iGaddo
  • A cartoon by Godfrey Mwapembwa, commonly known by his pen name Gaddo, sparked a storm on Wednesday, July 1, over its portrayal of Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru.

    The cartoon published in The Standard, depicted Waiguru as a ballerina dancer, heartily dancing her way through various graft scandals.

    It referenced various allegations from her stints at the National Treasury, Devolution Ministry and Kirinyaga County, observing how she came out unscathed.

    While many Kenyans found it poignant as Waiguru had only days before been cleared of graft allegations, it triggered significant backlash as well.

    Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru
    Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru

    Critics complained that the cartoon objectified women and accused Gaddo of sexualising the issue.

    Among those who were up in arms was Nation FM presenter Cate Rira, who voiced her displeasure at the cartoon despite her appreciation for Gaddo's work.

    "Gaddo I am a fan, always been. But don't sexualise a woman in power to prove any point. Let's stop using people's personal life to attack them! Stop pushing a sexual agenda whenever a woman is on a seat of power whether she's deemed corrupt or not!" Rira raged.

    She was supported by several others who argued that Gaddo was unlikely to use similar depictions for a male politician.

    "Distasteful mscheeeeeewwww! You would certainly not do this to a male governor!" wrote Jessica Anjalo.

    "This cartoon is distasteful...it diminishes Waiguru’s, and women’s role in society to only such mundane (and socially frowned upon) acts as strip dancing.

    "Gado, can you imagine your own mother, regardless of her guilt or not, depicted this way? Your sister? Wife? Daughter?" posed one Hudson Kihumba.

    To many, however, the cartoon was simply a hilarious reminder of the times Kenyans live in.

    They urged critics to consider that the nature of satire had always been provocative, dismissing assertions that it objectified women.

    Waiguru was cleared by an 11-member select committee at the Senate after Kirinyaga MCAs leveled allegations of graft and abuse of office in a bid to oust her.

    In their report, the committee led by Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala noted that the MCAs failed to prove a clear link between Waiguru and involvement in shady procurement deals. 

    A section of leaders including former Senate Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen, however, claimed that the committee had a pre-determined ruling to save Waiguru

    Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru (right) with husband and lawyer Kamotho Waiganjo (left) in Senate in June 2020
    Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru (right) with husband and lawyer Kamotho Waiganjo (left) in Senate in June 2020
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