, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 8 – Kenya on Thursday joined the rest of the world in marking the International Women’s Day with calls for concerted efforts and commitment to fight gender based violence.
In Nairobi, various professionals converged to celebrate the success achieved by women in Kenya but also highlighted the challenges that they are still facing.
Johnson & Johnson Manager for Sub Saharan Africa Rene Kiamba condemned the increased attacks on women and men based on ‘love gone sour’ situations.
“This is illegal, it is inhuman. Animals don’t even do the things we do to each other. It is time for the law of love to overtake the law of force. We seem to love force,” he decried.
Kiamba who passionately urged men and women to honour respect and reflect on their marriage vows said it was crucial for the Kenyan society to address the demeaning attacks that continue to affect many families.
He likened the latest cases of gender based violence to poverty. “The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty. We cannot continue this way. This is our core problem in our families.”
He asked men and women not to cheapen themselves by engaging in unfruitful actions that leave them behind bars or hurt.
“Real men do not rape their daughters. This is a threat to the entire society. Anger and lack of love in the family threatens the very existence as a human race, if we don’t deal with it, it will deal with us,” he warned.
Supreme Court judge Njoki Ndung’u also raised concern at the rising number of reported cases of violence against men.
“There is an increase not on women-on-male violence, but on men-on-male violence, particularly sexual violence,” she asserted.
However she said it went unreported because men who were victims of other men were afraid to seek medical help or report the incidences to the police.
James Jordan Foundation Chief Executive Officer Deloris Jordan took the opportunity to call for empowerment of young girls through nurturing good values that can help them in their future.
She emphasised on the need to ensure that every girl is given equal opportunities to education, career and even decent life.
Former vice President Moody Awori regretted that most girls waste their 12 years of primary and secondary education due to lack of supportive education systems for higher learning especially in the rural areas and also for the urban poor.
“It’s heartbreaking to see young girls simply disappear from the scene every year particularly after high school. It is heartbreaking to see graduates selling bananas along the streets due to lack of employment and guidance,” said Awori.
He also urged the government to tackle the large unemployment rates in the country, where most girls opt to undesirable lives due to desperation.
Public Health and Sanitation Minister Beth Mugo who is convalescing in the United States after undergoing therapy for cancer sent a message and pledged support from her ministry especially to help women deal with diseases that threaten their health. She also raised concerns over the undying negative practices such as female genital mutilation.