In 2007, the women of Kenya joined the world to celebrate the 16 Days in 2007 whose theme then was; “Demanding Implementation, Challenging Obstacles, End Violence against Women.
And as they celebrated the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence then, they were hopeful that the 2007 General Election was going to be the bridge which will ensure that all the international instruments Kenya is signatory to will be implemented. They also hoped that the obstacles they were facing in addressing violence being meted against them was going to be addressed.
Following the shocking news of the deaths of more than 40 police officers in Suguta Valley in Baragoi, Samburu County no one knew of the gross implications this misfortune would impact on women and children.
At the Kakuma Refugee Camp, women talk in whispers, contemplating their current predicament. Their children line up at the various water points to collect the precious commodity.
Only the most resilient go ‘home’ with the precious commodity as the push and shove takes its toll on the weak and starving.
The Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) held special sessions for women who were victims of atrocities in northern Kenya.
The women, who were sexually assaulted during the attack on villages in Wagalla were able to give their testimonies away from the public glare. However, there are a few other women who wanted to speak in public and they were allowed. All in all, it was a sigh of hope and relief engulfed the truth and reconciliation session in Wajir District that was meant for victims of the infamous Wagalla Massacre.
This article was originally published in the Reject Online issue 40 - Read the rest of the story
Ali Kheir recalls the trip from Kismayu, Somalia to Nairobi like it happened juts a few hours ago. He was chasing a dream and nothing was going to stand in his way to realising it. It is a trip that started very far and was covered through many hardships, but for Kheir the ultimate goal that was his final destination gave him the power not to give up but to keep pushing as every day shortened the journey with a few kilometres.
Susan Robi hurries through Senta Market heading towards Nyamtiro Market on the Kenya -Tanzania border. She has a huge load on her head, a baby on her back and is tugging along her two other children aged about six and nine respectively.
“We have to cross quickly into Tanzania or else they will kill us,” she tells this writer as she hurries away, not wanting to spend a minute longer. The children are barely managing to keep her pace but they have no choice and run along with the mother.
One after the other the women sat infront of the audience and TV cameras and told of their ordeal. Each story was as heart wrenching as the previous. The women told terrifying tales of how men in uniform broke into their homes, beat them and violated them.
For Rita the silence of the night brough relief from a whole day of shouts and gun shots. She had arrived from hospital and was resting when at around midnight she heard a knock at her door. It was police officers who said they were looking for young men who were hiding in her house.
The report by Waki Commission is unprecedented in many ways, in that for the first time in Kenyan history; sexual crimes have not only been acknowledged but also given the prominence that they deserve.
The report makes grave revelations regarding sexual crimes by indicating that they were “under-reported, under-investigated and insufficiently addressed.”