The newly appointed Finnish Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Riikka Purra, is facing severe criticism for making racist comments in online blog posts dating back to 2008.
The impact of her racist remarks extends beyond Finnish borders, particularly in Kenya, where her comments about a former legislator 15 years ago have caused outrage.
One of the comments that have drawn attention is Purra’s response to a story about Kenya’s upper and lower class, where she expressed astonishment at a quote from former Molo MP Njenga Mungai where she encouraged others to watch how an “evil and fat negro” makes fun of a “thin and good negro’’, referring to the former Kenyan legislator who had been interviewed by Helsinki Sanomat.
Mungai alongside Chris Kamuyu and Adolf Muchiri- all former legislators had been interviewed by Helsinki Sanomat on the Kenyan rich and poor class in February 2008.
The racist comments were published under the acronym “riikka” in the guestbook of former Finns Party leader Jussi Halla-aho’s online blog Scripta.
Furthermore, Purra’s use of the racist expression “Turkish monkeys” has led to diplomatic strain between Finland and Turkey.
Helsinki has issued an apology to Turkey, recognizing the offensive nature of the remark and the need to address it promptly.
The revelation of Purra’s past racist comments has sparked outrage among Kenyans living in Finland, who rightly expect leaders from around the world to exhibit respect and understanding towards their country and its people.
A WhatsApp message addressed to Kenyans in Finland inquired whether they have been following the story about Minister Purra and how she made racist remarks and the need to escalate the voice so that it can reach the Kenyan government.
“…let people make noise about it until she apologizes to Kenyan people,” read part of the text.
An outraged Finnish citizen of Kenyan roots questioned; “How can we have a government official like that represent us? No! She is a racist Nazi like the rest of her party,’’
The source added; “I have already been faced with questions about my country. Too much to explain why we are condoning racists in government’’.
The Finns Party entered government last month, in a coalition with the conservative National Coalition Party, and narrowly won April’s election.
Former Prime Minister Sanna Marin slammed the remarks on her Twitter feed on Tuesday.
“The government must directly and unequivocally renounce racism, hate speech and violence,’’ read part of Marin’s tweet.
She added that “every human being is valuable and human dignity is indivisible. Everyone has the right to live in safety, regardless of their background”.
Two weeks ago, then Finnish Economy Minister Vilhelm Junnila resigned after it emerged, he had called for Finland to support abortions in Africa to combat the climate crisis.
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