Kwale: Fresh push to have Gender Bill signed into law

Kwale Governor Fatuma Achani  speaks after she won the Kwale County gubernatorial race on August 12, 2022. Gender activists hope she will support the county gender bill.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Gender activists in Kwale County have renewed the push to pass the Gender Bill in a move to curb cases of GBV.
  • If passed, it would guarantee that every sub-county in Kwale has a recovery and rescue centre for GBV victims.

Gender activists in Kwale County have renewed the push to pass the Gender Bill in a move to curb cases of gender-based violence (GBV).

 Although it is key to countering the cases of teen pregnancy and GBV, the bill that was first presented to the assembly in 2018, is yet to be passed.

If passed, it would guarantee that every sub-county in Kwale has a recovery and rescue centre for GBV victims.

Kwale has a new leadership. Only five MCAs retained their elective positions in the just-concluded election, and the devolved unit is now headed by Governor Fatuma Achani.

Early marriage

Matuga Sauti ya Wanawake Chairperson Mwanakombo Jarumani, says the sooner the Bill is discussed, passed and signed into law, the better it will be for many women and children whose lives are in jeopardy.

Speaking in Kwale town, she said cases of rape, child trafficking, early marriage and defilement have been reported in the county.

“We are seeing worse situations in terms of matters violence, especially against women and children. There are also cases of sodomy that have been reported,” she said.

She added that such cases can only be addressed if the county assembly passes the bill before Governor Achani signs it into law.

Kwale County is one of those that record high cases of teen pregnancy in the Coast region after Kilifi County.

Kangaroo courts

Most of the cases, however, either go unreported or the perpetrators are not brought to book because they are either family members or solve the issues through Kangaroo Courts.

Ms Jarumani said lack of the law is contributing to the rise of GBV cases, since there are no safe houses to accommodate those affected as they wait for justice while perpetrators are prosecuted.

Members of non-governmental organizations had earlier petitioned that the burden of fighting GBV had been left to them, calling for a quick enactment of the gender bill.

Programme Officer at Network for Adolescents and Youth of Africa (Naya) Dorcas Mwachi, lamented that the county government and politicians are not doing much, as stakeholders believe private organizations are financially stable hence, require little support.

By June this year, the county had registered 4,000 fresh cases of GBV.

The highest number of cases were reported in the Kinango Constituency according to a statement issued by county gender officer Nelly Amoite.



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