Media personality Caroline Mutoko’s advice to men on how to ward off COVID-19, has been met with hostility by a section of online users, with the barrage of criticism pushing the veteran show host’s name to the top of Twitter trends in Kenya.
Mutoko posted a video on her YouTube channel on Sunday, July 19, urging men to — besides observing the COVID-19 safety guidelines put in place by the Ministry of Health — “bathe often, consume a lot of fruits, embrace hospital visits, change the precarious manhood beliefs on COVID-19, and adopt healthy eating” as measures of keeping coronavirus at bay.
“The very idea — that the virus could come after you, all the man that you are, is impossible… until the virus does come for you. That is Number One,” said Mutoko in her 7-minute video titled ‘Coronavirus and Our Men’ posted to her YouTube page that has 107, 000 subscribers.
“Number Two: Oh Lord, you hate water! You hate water! Somebody has to beg you to wash your hands, and that is pre-COVID-19. A shower? That is news. Half of the women in Nairobi [would tell me]: ‘preach sister!’
“The weather is cold this month. You choose not to bathe because you think you have an excuse. Because you are predisposed mentally and habitually to shy away from hygiene, coronavirus is coming for you, and in a big way!
“Here is the other thing, nobody can make you eat anything that does not look like a cow or a goat. [You’d say] I do not eat fruits, they are meant for children and women. [You’re saying that], yet the only thing you need, can be put on a plate; the Vitamin C you seek, can be put on a plate… [You are proudly saying] ‘I do not eat fruits. Am I child to eat them?’ That is how you are.
“From the moment we were told we need to take more Vitamin C, there isn’t a woman who failed to ensure that her children ate several fruits a day.
“We have tried to put effervescent tablets for you to drink, and you are like: ‘I do not drink such stuff, especially if it is not a wine that is older than the age of a teenager’. That is a mental and behavioural issue that is taking you down.
“The other thing is, when you are asked to see a doctor, you refuse, saying ‘I would take chang’aa because it kills this thing (COVID-19)’. You cannot even be told: ‘listen, you have been unwell for one day, two days, let’s go to hospital right here, right now’. [Your response, of course, would be] ‘no, I cannot go to hospital. I could die there if you take me to hospital. What happened to Papa [Shirandula]?” posed Mutoko.
The media personality’s above message rubbed a section of Twitter users the wrong way, with a section of critics accusing Mutoko of stereotyping all men.
A Twitter user by the handle @iFortknox said: “Who are these dirty and unhealthy men Caroline Mutoko hangs out with?”
Another online user Juma G (@jumaf3_) said: “Caroline Mutoko, if you came across unhealthy and terrible men, fight your fight (sic). Do not recruit us into hating those who haven’t hurt us.”
Another user, Lazooj (@Lazooj), said: “Most of us (men) are out here hustling, but keeping in mind that COVID-19 is real. Caroline Mutoko should not throw at us frustrations held by herself or her friends.”
However, not everyone faulted Mutoko’s comments as some of the Twitter users agreed with her school of thought.
Mary Wairimu said: “Guys are mad at Caroline Mutoko for criticising the ‘I am an African man’ mentality. These are truths that, I am shocked men, men cannot stomach. They now want to burn down buildings because of Caro’s comments.”
As of Monday, July 20, Kenya had 13,771 COVID-19 cases, with male patients accounting for over 60 per cent of the carriers.
Since the first case of COVID-19 was announced in Kenya on March 12, 2020, no single day has the Ministry of Health announced a higher number of new infections among women in the society than those registered among men.