We concerned Kenyans comprising heads of Women leagues of political parties, Women aspirants, women MCA’s, parliamentarians, Center for rights Education and Awareness and the Women’s Movement under the auspices of the National Women’s Steering Committee condemn in the strongest terms possible all forms of violence against women and particularly the increasing violence that is being witnessed during the ongoing campaign period for ahead of the forthcoming general elections.
Violence within Kenya’s electoral process is one of the sad hallmarks of our electoral process and one that has seen the country teeter on the brink of destruction. This violence has been one of the major deterrents to female aspirants and female voters. Violence against women has also been used as a tool of terror against women who dare to seek elective public office. The Constitution of Kenya 2010 has resolved this issue by providing for the guarantee of equality in the political sphere, the continued refusal by the ruling political class to put in place a mechanism means that at every turn, women continue to fight against the grain in a male dominated political system. The flip side of this argument is that when women fail to get elected in enough numbers because the entire system undermines their aspirations and candidature, they are then accused of not doing enough to “get themselves elected”.
We have witnessed attacks against women aspirants such as the brutal attack on Eunice Wambui commonly known as Nyasuguta, an aspirant for the Embakasi South constituency, intimidation against Senator Naisola Lesouda which forced her to cut short her appearance on a local radio station in Samburu County, the brutal attack on Elizabeth Manyala MCA Kayole Central ward, Rosemary Ogutu MCA Siaya County who experience the most brutal and shameful form of cyber-attack on her person and reputation; several threats and intimidation aimed at deterring the aspirations of women candidates
These attacks limit women’s political participation and discourage them from exercising their rights, including their right to vote. Continuous alienation of women from political processes, by use of violence, undermines the democratic process at large.
As concerned women we stand in solidarity with all survivors of electoral violence and call on Kenyans to join us in breaking the silence against all forms of violence particularly violence against women in the political arena.
We also call upon our youth who are used to perpetrate these heinous acts of violence against women and other opponents to refuse to be engaged in such acts.
In a democratic Kenya where the rights of citizens are respected there is no room or place for violence against women in politics and we now urge all Kenyans to join us in demanding for the following;
- THAT the Inspector General of Police immediately launches serious and credible investigations into the assault of Eunice Wambui, Elizabeth Manyala and Rosemary Ogutu and every other incident of violence against women in politics.
- THAT the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions prosecutes to the fullest extent of the law, everyone involved in these assaults.
- THAT the government through the relevant office put in place special measures such as increasing security as the aspirants continue in their campaigns. We are also calling on the IEBC to ensure that they enforce the elections code of conduct in its fullness. We are also calling upon the Inspector General of Police to have a special unit in place to deal with crimes perpetrated during this electoral season and for proper investigations to be carried out and ask also that the Director of Public Prosecutions puts in place special prosecutors on electoral gender based violence cases to ensure expedient access to justice especially during this electoral season.
- THAT the Chief Justice together with all relevant arms of the government of Kenya recognize that electoral violence is a blight on this nation and proceed to set up special courts to prosecute cases of electoral violence and in particular gender based electoral violence.
- THAT the Independent Boundaries and Elections Commission (IEBC) addresses the issue of Violence against Women and ensures that known perpetrators are barred from running for election
- THAT Political parties in Kenya sign a pledge that opposes all forms of violence and intimidation against women seeking political positions within their parties and bar aspirants that are known to be perpetrators of violence against women from party positions
We finally ask that all Kenyans continue to hold sacred the rights provided by our Constitution and speak out against electoral based gender based violence whenever and wherever it occurs. We must all assume responsibility to end all forms of violence in politics and especially violence against women and refuse to be used by crude politicians to carry out the vice. That we will come out to strongly condemn such acts whenever they arise.