, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 28 – In a move to ‘hit ’em where it hurts’: the wallet; the government has cautioned those in the matatu business that they risk having their licenses withdrawn should women be assaulted either by their crew or in their vehicles.
Devolution Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru, whose ministry is responsible for gender affairs, says they are working with other government agencies to not only withdraw the licenses of matatu crews found culpable, but those of the SACCOs they operate under.
And as her ministry through the National Youth Service works to teach matatu crews, “discipline and respect for the rights of women,” she said, matatu owners should also ensure they employ drivers and touts with these qualities or risk losing their operating licenses in the event their hires participate or condone such acts of sexual violence against women as have been witnessed in recent weeks.
“If it happens in your matatu that matatu is grounded. We also ground the SACCO. We’re also going to be writing to the National Treasury and KRA to see how we can collaborate including cancelling drivers’ licenses of those drivers who are found to have been part of this violation,” she warned.
The caution came as the driver and tout of a bus in which a woman was stripped in Githurai appeared in court after the newly formed anti-stripping squad arrested them on Thika road Thursday.
The two were captured on a video posted on social media forcibly stripping the woman.
And such videos, Waiguru said in her statement on Friday, should as a matter of first course be handed in to the police and not posted online.
“Please stop putting those pictures on social media. We need to, all of us, uphold the rights of women so that you’re also not a partaker of that violation,” she exhorted.
And such evidence, Deputy Inspector General of Police Grace Kaindi assured, would be treated with the seriousness deserved.
She also defended herself against the accusation that she hitherto did not come out strongly enough against these acts of violence as the highest ranking female in a police service which has been accused of being unresponsive to crimes of a sexual nature.
“I was the first person to raise this issue. In Kenya we have all these freedoms and rights. Who is this fashion police who is going now profiling women? And what do we wear then as women?” she posed.
The arraignment of an Administration Police Corporal on Monday together with a matatu tout on the charge of attempting to undress a 16-year-old girl in a matatu in Kayole, she said, was proof that gender based violence was not tolerated within the police ranks.
Waiguru and Kaindi together with the Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko and Director General of the National Youth Service jointly addressed the press on Friday morning in a response to the hitherto mentioned cases of gender based violence.