Ida Odinga cries for women

April 1, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 1 – Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s wife Ida on Wednesday stressed the need for tough action against political aspirants promoting violence against their female opponents.

She said electoral and judicial reforms would help deal with such cases as they would guarantee a level, competitive playing field for all genders.

“We need an electoral system that works so that candidates using violence especially against women are disqualified from the electoral race,” Mrs Odinga intimated.

“We need the judicial and security systems to ensure that all candidates using violence are arrested and prosecuted for their actions.”

She was speaking during a forum by the Federation of Kenya Women Lawyers to launch a documentary themed “Overcoming Hurdles”, which highlights the harsh realities of violence and rape against women.

“Rape is an act of violence. Rape is a criminal act. What is the police waiting for? Why are these people still walking even when there is enough evidence and the complainant is there?” she posed.

“Why can’t they be picked, arrested and tried?”

Mrs Odinga pointed out that during the elections, violence was often used to scare women aspirants from pursuing political careers. Women voters were also scared from casting their ballots.

Another hurdle for women, she said, was lack of knowledge of the political landscape. She therefore urged non-governmental organisations to come up with programmes aimed at empowering and educating prospective women political candidates so that they could compete and succeed in their political aspirations.


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