Dr Luis Franceschi, Dean of Strathmore Law School, in his latest ‘Daily Nation’ blog post, in which he treats of the bitter divide that has opened up between the Church and government over the tetanus vaccination drive that the government is carrying out in the country, insists on the fact that he isn’t a scientist, that he can only view the matter from the point of view of a scientifically ‘lay’ person. I think it will be right of me to assume this position as well, so that in treating of this issue, I won’t delve into details, but will rather take in good faith those facts which have been arrived at by upright scientists concerning this matter. But before I begin, to set the record straight, I am a scientist, or at least I’m being trained to be one.
The tetanus vaccination story has been on the media for quite some time now. I can’t remember when I first saw it, and I don’t recognise any necessity of looking that up. What I recall is that from the beginning, Catholic Bishops have been against it. When he first broached the topic with contrary views, pointing to the hidden population control agenda of the WHO, which is the force behind the drive, John Cardinal Njue was immediately castigated for his backward beliefs and unfounded claims. But no answer, based on any scientific evidence, was tabled to counter his ‘claims’. He was hushed under a flood of opposing opinions, and made to look like the bad guy in the entire affair, so much so that the affair itself was overlooked.
Why then should tests carried out by professionals only serve to back Cardinal Njue, and the Catholic Bishops on whose behalf he spoke? Why didn’t those tests vindicate the government that has so obstinately stuck to the line that the tetanus vaccination is safe and portends no danger to the fertility of the women who will receive it? What purpose was served in demonising a man, and a Bishop at that, for raising legitimate concerns on a matter which touches so directly on the sphere of his jurisdiction?
We find ourselves now in a situation where a government, which has as its mandate the duty of serving and protecting its people, tolerating, or rather positively committing an act that leads to the depravation of the same people on the one hand. On the other hand, we have a people that lays claim to the wreath of most educated in the region, but which wallows in a pitiful and complacent ignorance of the crimes being done to it. It is a people steeped deeply in a culture of convenience and comfort, so intently bent on achieving these vain goals to the extent of sacrificing themselves in the end.
The results of the tests done on the anti-tetanus vaccine indicate that it is laced with a contraceptive hormone, whose presence can only be explained by an intentional addition, that threatens to render the recipients (women of childbearing age) effectively sterile at the completion of the full dose. So it is no longer the claims of a Bishop who, interestingly, is only concerned about the dignity of the people in his charge, but the results of an objective and empirical scientific procedure. And if one is still obstinately attached to the view that there is no contraceptive angle to the tetanus vaccination, he should look to the historical backing from which this case derives. I will not go into the details, but one should look at the impact of similar drives in Mexico (1993), the Philippines (1994) and Nicaragua (1994). For the sake of clarity, I should point out that the parties involved in these cases are congruent with the Kenyan case currently unfolding: the WHO and the government.
I am not going to delve into the morality behind contraception. Instead I will state two facts. One, which is really funny, is that some governments in Europe, which jumped early into the population control bandwagon, are known to have offered workers early afternoon breaks from work so that they could go home and ‘make’ babies. Two, the accession of the United States to the pedestal of most powerful nation on earth can be related to a ‘baby boom’ in the post World War II era, and its decline corresponds to a reversal of this baby boom. I leave it to the discerning mind to make sense of these facts.
It is not my job to point fingers. But I should be justified in considering it my right to point out when something wrong is happening. After all, the Jews cooperated with the Nazi government partly out of a desire for peace and cordiality, and walked unwittingly to the concentration camps where they met with their unfortunate ends, which appal us to this day, in the Holocaust. It might sound an extreme comparison, but something of parallel gravity is involved in this ‘Tetanus Vaccination’ drive. This is the kind of moment where one should take a step back and reconsider the situation. The fabric of this affair is more elaborate than our comfort-loving lifestyle has been willing to admit so far.
by Mathew Otieno