The National Gender and Equality Commission has observed incidences and utterances in the public domain that irrefutably border on blatant gender based violence and most of it directed at women.
We have taken note of the skirmishes that ensued at Jumuia Guest Hotel in Kisumu town where women leaders had convened for a capacity building workshop on peace building. The country was treated to the most grotesque, inhuman and degrading treatment of women being assaulted and robbed in broad daylight by armed youths. Quite apart from the fact that the motive of the attack was unsubstantiated, it was illegal for the youths to take the law on their hands to harass the women in the first place.
The Commission has also learnt of reckless and disturbing statements allegedly made by political leaders in Kitui county advocating for rape against their political opponents
We wish to state the following: -
- We condemn in the strongest terms possible the brutal attack meted on women in Kisumu town. We hereby call on the Inspector General of Police and the Office of the Director of Prosecutions to move with speed and arrest the perpetrators with a view of charging them in a court of law.
- We urge our youth to refrain from being incited to violence. We reiterate that Kenya is governed by the rule of law and nobody should attempt to suspend the same when aggrieved. We encourage members of the public to report criminal acts to the police for action.
- If the words attributed to Kitui East MP Nimrod Mbai to the effect that someone should be raped were indeed his words, then the legislator should forthwith be arrested and charged with the offense of incitement to violence and disobedience of the law under section 96 of the Penal code, cap 63 of the laws of Kenya.
- We wish to caution politicians against making inflammatory and inciting statements and particularly those calculated at advocating for gender based violence and discrimination.
- As the country prepares for the repeat presidential elections next month, the Commission will keenly be monitoring the conduct of political actors to ensure the promotion and integration of the principles of equality and inclusion in the entire electoral process.
WINFRED O. LICHUMA EBS