Larry Madowo finally responds to the ‘Mollis I salenda’ viral clip (full text)

Larry Madowo is among the top journalists and news anchors
in Kenya. He is now household name, thanks to his popular TV show, The Trend which mainly talks about
current affairs.
The ‘Mollis I salenda’ clip went viral a few days ago after
it was shared in severally in the social media. It received mixed reactions
from different people, including celebrities and public figures.
Different people have different views and opinions, so is Larry
Madowo. He decided to give Kenyans his piece of mind in his weekly column in
the Daily Nation newspaper.
Here is what he wrote:

The Internet can be a puzzling place: inspiring and
infuriating, often at the same time. Strangers raised Sh6.1 million for a young
man with a brain tumour, whom they had never met. The inimitable Jackson Biko
wrote a blog about Emmanuel Ochieng’, or Jadudi, and Zawadi Nyong’o worked the
Twitter machine and it was done in two days. They needed just Sh1 million to
send him to India for surgery but ended up raising six times that amount and in
the process, restored our faith in humanity. Having thus dispensed with their
quota for doing good, however, the Internet people went back to their shallow
pit. A shameful audio clip surfaced of a carnal encounter between a man and a
woman. The man in is referred to as Mollis throughout the recording, while the
woman remains unnamed. Pretty early in the clip, it is painfully obvious that
the woman has lost interest and says as much. She is tired and has surrendered,
she says repeatedly. Unperturbed by her discomfort, Mollis goes on, anyway,
until he is spent. Rape. The three-minute audio was already doing the rounds on
WhatsApp before someone uploaded it to an audio-sharing website. The word “Mollis”
quickly jumped to the top of the trending topics in Kenya on Twitter and
remained there for several days. Memes glorified his prowess and tales of his
conquests were generously embellished. He was the ultimate macho, a performance
workhorse almost every man envied.

“I have been in a Mollis situation,” one pseudo influencer wrote, with a
winking emoji icon to add to the mystique. “This was a simple case of begging
for something and getting more than you could handle,” wrote a popular blog,
adding that Mollis had “earned the respect of all men.” The idiocy on the
Internet hit fever pitch this past week. “The schizophrenic society that is
Kenya manifests in the fact that #!MiliForJadudi and #Mollis are creatures of
the same environment” tweeted entrepreneur Leonard Mudachi. “I am really angry
that nobody is actually seeing this as sexual abuse,” blogger Daniel Ominde wrote.
He correctly points out that it might have started as consensual but she did
withdraw her consent, period. That the Internet had a field day mocking the
poor woman and praising Mollis says a lot about our society. Some startlingly
sexist and misogynistic comments were made casually, and not always by men.
Though in the minority, there were women who saw no wrong in the public
humiliation of the woman. The original source of the clip is unknown so it
might have been staged. But that is no longer part of the narrative, the
actions therein are. Does a man have a carte blanche with a woman’s body
irrespective of her thoughts on the subject provided she gave initial
permission? Kenyans online have made a mockery of sexual abuse forever,
conflating it with prowess. One Facebook comment captured the false premise
best: “If you’re playing and someone strangles you, you tell that person to
stop, do you want him to continue strangling you until he is tired of playing?”
The Internet is where every good argument goes to die, like I have said before.
“I am really worried about today’s Kenyan man,” wrote Jay Okeyo-Neal Archibella.
“If you don’t perform you’ll be chopped off, if you over-perform and won’t stop
midway you are a rapist, if you are not aggressive, you are a coward. There’s
nothing you will do that will be right. Men, you are in trouble.” I’m not sure
what to make of that perspective, considering it came from a woman.

Even worse, a supposedly respectable company like Zuku jumped onto the bandwagon
with a tasteless
advertisement using corrupted words from the audio clip. That unfortunate
moment of brand jacking might make some wonder whether Zuku supports rape, as
long as it gets the company more customers. In the midst of such beauty and
promise, a foul act reminds us of the darkness resident in some human hearts. How
can you reconcile the fact that the same people whose hearts bleed for a brave
young man with a will to live also fail to recognise the oppressed young woman’s
right to experience pleasure on her own terms? I asked a male colleague who
insisted the recording didn’t document rape whether he would feel the same if
it were his sister in the tape. He fell silent. Few people bothered to ask why
the episode was recorded and shared to start with, yet it should have been a private
affair. Just when I thought my expectations of the quality of discourse on the
Kenyan Internet couldn’t fall any lower, they did. Maybe they can never be low
Larry Madowo


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