Demystifying the sex boycott

May 7, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 7 – The Kenyan women caucus dubbed the G10 called for a week-long sex boycott to compel the country’s leadership to solve their wrangles.

This action elicited a lot of debate with the marital status of the said women.
The women organizations included Maendeleo ya Wanawake, National Council of Women of Kenya, Coalition on Violence Against Women Political Leadership, Centre for Rights Education and Awareness, Tomorrow’s Child Initiative, Women in Law and Development, African Woman and Child and Development through Media ,Young Women Leadership Institute and the Federation of Women Lawyers – Kenya (Fida).

The Centre For Rights, Education and Awareness Executive Director Anne Njogu paid a visit to our office and we got a chance to interview her on the aim, achievements and way forward of the sex boycott.

Q: Are you married?
A: Yes, I am very happily married.

Q: What is the aim of G10?
A: We are about 11 women’s organisations working at the national level and coming together to lobby the various reforms needed in this country.

Q: Why the name G10?
A: It stands for the Gender 10 issues that we wanted to undertake at the inception. Over time, we have been able to refine that and reduce them to four powerful issues.

Q: What are these issues?
A: These issues are about political leadership because if it is poor, then the country will never be able to realise its goals.

Q: How did the call for the sex boycott start?
A: This year we decided that we wanted to completely redefine the politics of this nation. We said that as G10 we wanted to redefine the political space and engage with it so that we can be able to bring the biggest benefit to the biggest shareholders of this nation – Women.

Q: Do you think that women are not represented enough within the government now?
A: Yes, and not only just in the government but across the board in various sectors. Women make about 70 percent of those who contribute to the agricultural sector labour force but when it comes to the distribution of resources therein, you never find them.

Q: What other issues did the sex boycott cover?
A: You know that 70 percent of the country’s worth is in the hands of 10 percent of the country’s population and the rest do not even have one percent. This gap between the rich and the poor continues to grow and therefore insecurity, hopelessness is a big issue for us. That is why we are saying that unless the government provides food on the table we are not going anywhere.

Q: Have the president and Prime Minister pushed forward the National healing and Reconciliation agenda?
A: You realise that our two Principals were supposed to heal the nation under the National Accord but they have not been able to do so. No benchmarks have been set. As the Principals, they must show leadership; they must drive the agenda.

Q: How has the Prime Minister performed since he was sworn into office?
A: Other than whining and mourning about the powers that he doesn’t have, the PM has done little with the little power that he has. If he is unable to interpret the National Accord and Reconciliation Act, then he should be able to ask people like G10 creatively to be able to help you do this.

Q: Did you have anything else in your agenda during the boycott?
A: Those calling for early elections are not genuine. Kenyans have not healed from the effects of the national elections. If they go into the elections now, we will get into a bigger crisis. The proponents of the early elections must stop lying to the nation that they have the interests of Kenyans at heart.

Q: How did you end up choosing sex as something to push forward your agenda?
A: As a matter of fact we asked ourselves, what is it that cuts across political parties, across tribal lines between the rich and the poor? What is the least common denominator to us as a community? We said that sex was one of them. And this is just the beginning. This is a strategy that has been used across the world in many countries and it has been very successful.

Q: Some people said that men would seek prostitutes for sex.
A: I refuse to believe that our men are going to go to the streets because the women have called for a sex fast. The man who goes to the streets to get sex from a prostitute goes out to the streets on any other day including during the sex boycott. This man lacks family values and this is what he has always done and it’s only that this time he will use (the boycott) as an excuse. This whole sex boycott is not a battle between sexes; it is a dialogue between the couples.

Q: How do you measure the success of the sex boycott?
A: For the first time Kenyans are talking to one another regardless of tribe and position. It has also enabled us to demystify the question about sex. The other success measure is that our two principals are talking and this is progress. We have also seen people waking up to the reality that our country can end up where it was last year.

Q: So what is the way forward now?
A: We are going to give the Prime Minister and President performance contracts on Friday so that they can improve on their service delivery.


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