NAIROBI, July 15 – More than 600 people were sexually assaulted during the post election violence that rocked the country after the disputed Presidential contest earlier this year, it has been revealed.
Evidence adduced at a commission probing the cause of the skirmishes exposed on Tuesday that many other such cases may have gone unreported.
Three non-governmental organizations, which testified at the Justice Philip Waki-led Commission, said they have documented evidence backing their report.
Representatives of the Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), Care International and the National Campaign on Gender and Development, who testified at the commission, said they had lined up a number of witnesses, including rape victims.
Reports tabled at the commission showed that 337 of those abused sexually were women while 275 were children. 44 men were sodomized.
Nairobi alone reported 275 rape cases and most of the victims were treated at the Nairobi Women’s Hospital.
Care International’s Chairperson Millicent Obaso blamed the police and organised gangs for the majority of the rape incidents that occurred.
She said they had evidence showing that up to 76 percent of the rape incidents were committed by General Service Unit (GSU) officers.
"It is horrifying because many of the incidents occurred in full view of spouses and their children," Obaso said.
"In fact,” she added, “there are situations where mothers were raped alongside their daughters."
Care International says 54 percent of the cases were reported at health centres, 23 percent to the police, 15 percent to local chiefs, while 8 percent were not reported to any authorities.
"Some of the victims are ready to testify before this commission either in camera or private," said FIDA’s Executive Director Jane Onyango.
Many of the women who were raped, she said, know their perpetrators and are even prepared to testify.
Onyango proposed that the commission recommends the exclusion of known perpetrators from any form of amnesty.
"My lords, these are people who should be prosecuted. They should not be included at all in the amnesty programme," she said, in an apparent reference to a raging debate on whether or not to grant perpetrators of the poll violence a clean slate.
Dr Regina Karega of the National Campaign on Gender and Development said her organisation had documented a list of some of the rapists, mainly in Nairobi and the Rift Valley Province.
When taken to task to explain whether she would produce the names before the commission, she said; "My lords, we have the names and some of the women who were raped will provide them before you."
Obaso said many of the reported rape cases occurred at residential homes.
"Cases which went unreported were a result of fear or stigmatisation because many women and children are still traumatised. They are bleeding in their hearts," she ntimated.
Each of the organisations produced well documented power point presentations, which showed women wailing in villages after the rape incidents.
Some of the images showed bodies of women and children burnt or hacked to death after being raped.
The NGOs pleaded with the commission to make arrangements for comprehensive compensations for all victims of sexual abuse during the post election violence period.
"Besides just prosecuting their perpetrators my lords, we recommend that these victims be compensated," Obaso suggested, without elaborating on the kind of reparation they were recommending.