What you need to know:
- University students yesterday held a peaceful demonstration in Nairobi where they registered their displeasure on increasing cases of rape and femicide targeting them.
- They called upon the Kenya National Commission on Human rights, the National Police Service and the Judiciary to ensure families of students who have been killed are served justice.
University students across the country have kicked off a campaign against the increasing cases of femicide and rape affecting them.
Led by University Presidents Council of Kenya in conjunction with the Kenya University Female Students Leaders Association, the students yesterday held a peaceful demonstration in Nairobi where they registered their displeasure on the prevailing situation.
They particularly condemned the horrendous murder of a student from Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology last week. She was found raped and murdered in Kakamega town on Wednesday last week. Her semi-naked body, which had bruises on the thighs, was found in a thicket after she went missing from Kefinco Estate on Tuesday evening.
Police suspect the Third Year Bachelor of Education student was accosted as she headed to her rented house within the estate.
Jennifer Mbogo the Vice-President of University Presidents Council of Kenya, emphasised the need for stringent measures to control the rising cases of femicide and rape before they get out of hand.
“As university student leaders, we call upon the Kenya National Commission on Human rights, the National Police Service and the Judiciary to ensure the family of students who have been killed in a similar manner are served justice,” said Ms Mbogo who is also the student President at Multimedia University.
The student leaders alleged that about 5,000 students have been raped since the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic in the country in March last year.
“We are dealing with a serious issue in our universities. The sad thing is that 75 per cent of the victims of sexual violence do not get justice,” Ms Mbogo said.
Rosemary Kanyi, the chairperson of Women Students Welfare Association at the University of Nairobi condemned the heinous acts against students, calling on relevant authorities to end it.
“We must speak out about the evils being committed on students. Many are suffering in silence since they are afraid to speak about their sexual violence ordeals. We are tired of feeling insecure and the government must protect us,” Ms Kanyi said.
The students vowed to lobby for policies and laws on sexual and gender-based violence to tame the vices.
They appealed to public and private university managements and security agencies to ensure students’ security is guaranteed.
Kalori Ombito, a faculty representative from Multimedia University, asked male students to respect their female counterparts’ stand on love and relationships matters.
“Men should learn to accept that a ‘No’ means a ‘No’ and that if she says she is not interested she means it. This is not a gender war but a criminal war. I advise young people, especially those in our universities, to avoid forcing love,” he said.
The students reiterated that rape and murder can never be justified no matter the circumstances, noting that they expect law enforcement agencies to take action against the perpetrators.
They applauded efforts by non-governmental organisations including Fida-Kenya, in promoting progressive legislations and policies to combat gender violence, which in most cases, affect women and girls.
These policies, they added, can be effective tools in making the nation a safer place for girls and women to live in.
The peaceful protest was, however, dispersed by police officers who accused the students of holding an illegal gathering and breaking the Covid-19 protocols, which outlaw public gatherings.