PROTECT SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS

Protect women, PWDs from election GBV, says gender and equality commission

The commission says politicians, parties and other duty bearers are responsible for their safety during elections

In Summary

• NGEC said that studies show incidences and prevalence of gender-based violence (GBV) increase rapidly during times of war, conflict, pandemics, and elections.

• She also called for the protection of women political aspirants who are often targeted with violence to discourage them from vying for political seats.

Youths take part in anti-IEBC demonstrations in Migori town shortly after agency announced elections results. The National Gender and Equality Commission has asked elections duty bearers to protect women, children, PWDs and the elderly from election-related gender-based violence.
POLL VIOLENCE. Youths take part in anti-IEBC demonstrations in Migori town shortly after agency announced elections results. The National Gender and Equality Commission has asked elections duty bearers to protect women, children, PWDs and the elderly from election-related gender-based violence.
Image: MANUEL ODENY,

The National Gender and Equality Commission has asked elections duty bearers to ensure there is peace during this period.

In a press statement released on Thursday, NGEC chairperson Joyce Mutinda asked politicians and political parties to protect special interest groups from election-related gender-based violence.

“We call upon duty bearers with the greatest responsibility of protecting the rights of special interest groups to put in place a contingency plan of preventing and responding to gender-based violence during this period,” she said.

The group includes women, children, people living with disabilities, and the elderly.

Mutinda said that sexual gender-based violence is highly prevalent during the electioneering period and that special interest groups were most at risk.

She also called for the protection of women political aspirants who are often targeted with violence to discourage them from vying for political seats.

“We request political parties to put in adequate measures and goodwill to protect women and PWD aspirants from suffering any forms of violence,” she said.

The commission also asked the Police Service to fully enforce the various election laws and the judiciary to expedite elections justice, so as to ensure there is peace during and after the polls.

According to the commission, gender-based violence is a recurrent feature of elections in Kenya since 1990 special interest groups like women and PWDs often bear the brunt of this.

NGEC said that studies show incidences and prevalence of gender-based violence increase rapidly during times of war, conflict, pandemics, and elections.

“In Kenya, gender-based violence increased rapidly during peak seasons of Covid-19 mainly due to restrictions in movement, closure of schools, the collapse of livelihoods, and loss of survival opportunities,” said Mutinda.

Her statement comes at a time when the world is marking 16 days of violence against women starting from November 25 to December 10.

The campaign started on Thursday as the world also marked the International Day for the Eradication of Violence Against Women.

NGEC committed to working closely with all relevant stakeholders to ensure effective response and prevention of gender-based violence before, during and after 2022 polls and times of emergencies.